Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh devoted a large portion of his talk radio program Tuesday to discussing the biggest story of the last 24 hours: the devastating fire that consumed most of the roof of the iconic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on Monday. Along with expressing his confidence that "humanity can rebuild it," Limbaugh also addressed the media's response to the catastrophic fire, which he described as a "case study" in how the partisan media handles every major story these days.
As The Daily Wire reported Tuesday, Paris prosecutors say they believe the fire was likely an accident, rather than arson as some initially feared due in part to the timing of the conflagration and after a series of attacks on churches in France in recent months. "Just a little less than 24 hours after a blaze ripped through Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris prosecutors are saying the fire was likely an accident, not arson, and that the construction company in charge of a $5.6 million renovation to the cathedral's roof and spire will be under the microscope," The Daily Wire's Emily Zanotti reports.
While it's looking like this may have just been a terrible accident, Limbaugh argued Tuesday that the media's "concerted effort" to stamp out any hint of speculation about potential arson was telling.
"It is simply unacceptable. It is not tolerable. You must not even breathe the possibility of arson because if it’s arson then fingers will point in one direction, and we’re not gonna point in that direction," said Limbaugh. "We’re not gonna permit fingers to point. We’re not gonna even allow thoughts in that direction. No, no, no, no, my friends." But, argued Rush, even if arson was not involved, "there is no denying that attacks on churches, churches throughout France, throughout Europe, are on the upswing."
"This is simply head-in-the-sand denial, to refuse to openly accept what is happening throughout France and throughout Europe," he said. "And the very idea that there is this concerted effort coupled with a demand to ignore all of this in my nature is all I need to believe that maybe there are some things going on that everybody knows and some just will not admit and will not permit discussion of. Because there is no denying that attacks on churches in France and all over Europe are on the upswing."
The media's "sanctimonious concern" about speculation in regard to Notre Dame "rings a little hollow," he said, because they appear to have no issue with rampant speculation about other major incidents. "[T]he compulsion in the mainstream media" is not just to ignore any talk of a "war on Christianity," but to "chastise, castigate, and attack anybody who might even try to point it out."
That "chastisement" and "castigation," he said, is a pattern directed at voices on the Right. "Any story that comes out, any story, if the story is a negative for the Republicans or for conservatives, then that alone is the story," said Rush. "However, if a story emerges that is bad for the Left, like the Covington kids or the Mueller report or anything, anything that is bad for the Left, anything that’s bad for the media, guess what the story is? The story is not the story. The story is the Right’s reaction to it. And so the conservative Republican segment of our population is always the target of any story, especially stories that are bad for the Left, especially stories that point to the hypocrisy of the Left."
"The story becomes the right-wing reaction to the burning of Notre Dame, not the burning of Notre Dame," he said.
Limbaugh later cited a few reports noting the rise in church vandalism in France, including by France's intelligence agency. "A report from France’s own central criminal intelligence service noted that from 2016 to 2018 there have been thousands of cases of church vandalism, thousands of cases of church — not synagogue, not mosque — church vandalism," said Limbaugh. "Thousands of cases from 2016 to 2018, two years. It peaked in 2017, 1,045 cases of church vandalism in France. And according to the French ministry of the interior, when cemeteries and other sites are taken into consideration, the number of acts of church vandalism rose to 1,063 in 2018. But we’re supposed to ignore that. That’s not relevant. Anybody that wants to look at that is a crazed conspiracy theorist."
Transcript via RushLimbaugh