News and Commentary

Rush Limbaugh Didn’t Need The New York Times — Then Or Now
US radio talk show host and conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh looks on before introducing US President Donald Trump to deliver remarks at a Make America Great Again rally in Cape Girardeau, MO, on November 5, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

After the passing of radio talk show legend Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday, The New York Times wasted no time in attacking the massively influential radio host who paved the way for conservative media and gave a voice to many who felt they had otherwise been silenced.

The New York Times’ piece began by describing Limbaugh as “the relentlessly provocative voice of conservative America who dominated talk radio for more than three decades with shooting-gallery attacks on liberals, Democrats, feminists, environmentalists and other moving targets …”

The newspaper described him as being “a divisive darling of the right” since the time he started his nationally syndicated program during the Reagan presidency. It continues, “Using often misogynistic and racist language and trafficking in conspiracy theories, he pushed conservative talk radio into extreme right-wing territory …”

It is unsurprising that the newspaper would take the opportunity to criticize Limbaugh, especially since it is viewed by many as elitist and dismissive of the views that Limbaugh promoted.

The radio host was certainly a personality, a force and a movement all on his own. He “had no on-the-air sidekicks…Nor did he have writers, scripts or outlines, just notes and clippings from newspapers he perused daily,” The Times reports.

But he would not have achieved the influence that he did if not for his listeners. The people who admired Limbaugh are the ones who felt they were being heard, who listened to him and were perhaps reassured that their views were not forgotten and they still mattered  even as the liberal media and Washington elites seemed to pass them by.

The AP reports,

Talkers Magazine, which covers the industry, said Limbaugh had the nation’s largest audience in 2019, with 15 million unique listeners each week.

The Times describes the connection he had with his listeners:

To faithful “Dittoheads,” his defiantly self-mocking followers, he was an indomitable patriot, an icon of wit and wisdom — Mark Twain, Father Coughlin and the Founding Fathers rolled into one. His political clout, they said, lay in the reactions he provoked, avalanches of calls, emails and website rage, the headlines and occasional praise or wrath from the White House and Capitol Hill.

He gave life and momentum to conservatism and brought conservative topics into the common arena, speaking out against policies that many were against, but didn’t have the chance to discuss. He gave direction to the movement, at times reminding Republicans of their principles.

The New York Times acknowledges Limbaugh’s willingness to express his disapproval:

…his drumbeat criticisms of President Barack Obama for eight years, when the Republicans were often seen as rudderless, appeared to elevate him, at least for a time, to de facto leadership among conservative Republicans. 

He was never afraid to speak his mind, and he stood up to people who tried to silence him  in effect, standing up for the people he represented.

Limbaugh has been called the “voice of American conservatism,” so it is almost fitting for a beacon of the liberal establishment to come after him on the day of his passing.

One seems to be sure, though, that Mr. Limbaugh looks on even now, amused by The Times’ description of him.

His impact doesn’t need The New York Times’ approval. It never did.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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