10.04.2007

Rush Limbaugh's Ratings Ploy: The Phony Soldiers Controversy

by Rick Rockwell

Rush Limbaugh claims to be nearly omnipresent.

Let’s give him this: he’s shrewd.

Invariably, Limbaugh finds a way to command the national limelight on a regular basis.

Last year, he was denigrating Michael J. Fox and his illness. And who can forget Limbaugh’s thankfully short stint on ESPN; he was forced out because of his racially insensitive remarks about quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Limbaugh has been making controversial and irresponsible remarks for years. And he’s spawned a cottage industry of those who follow behind him criticizing. (Please check the Media Matters for America website for a full rundown on the latest controversy.) Today, he’s even sucked this blog into his whale-like media wake, as just another example of that dynamic. That’s a direct result of this author accepting an invitation to discuss the latest Limbaugh controversy on the radio.

What would we do without Limbaugh to stir the pot?

Well, most of us would prefer to have the pill-popping smuggler fade away.

But he won’t go without picking more fights. In case you’ve missed it, this fight is about Limbaugh’s remarks criticizing soldiers who no longer believe in the mission in Iraq. He called the Iraq War’s military critics “phony soldiers.” And naturally, members of the military and those who have retired from the military took those as fighting words. When you consider that Limbaugh singled out some who served heroically, like U.S. Rep. John Murtha, then of course this also becomes a political issue. This is just the latest spin on the Swift Boat strategy that conservatives used so well in 2004 to win an election: tell a lie and question the honorable military service of war critics. This is also Limbaugh's way of dismissing the important debate about how the Iraq War is "breaking the military."

However, some want to defend Limbaugh and offer him up as a victim, as someone who is having his First Amendment rights strangled.

Limbaugh’s defenders (those stubborn 20 percent who refuse to believe the Iraq War is one of the biggest mistakes in U.S. history) want us to believe that calls for cancellation of Limbaugh’s show on American Forces Radio is an assault on the Constitution. They want us to see the condemnation of Limbaugh by Senators and a letter of complaint by some Senators to Clear Channel Communications as the hand of Big Brother crushing the right-wing commentator. By the way, Clear Channel is a major distributor of Limbaugh’s show and is known for its support of both the Iraq War, a certain unpopular president, and right-wing causes in general.

Limbaugh is no victim. For every one of these controversies he generates, his ratings tick upward and he goes laughing to the bank. And he uses our airwaves to do his irresponsible dance of spreading misinformation and banging the drum for the conservative propaganda machine.

Some forget that the corporate media exist on the airwaves because the government grants them licenses as custodians to provide programming for the public good. They are required to show that what they do is in some way a public service and in the public interest.

Given the record of polluting the airwaves with lies and misinformation over the years, the real public service at this point would be to pull the plug on Limbaugh. But that’s not going to happen because he’s the king of talk radio and he pulls in listeners and advertisers like no other.

As the saying goes: money talks.

(Editorial graphic courtesy of DarkBlack and used with permission. For more material like this, please see DarkBlack's blog. To hear Limbaugh's original comments, please go here.)






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3 comments:

Progger said...

Rush is low-life sewer scum and he represents what the Republican Party has become.

Look for Rush in the public toilets next to Larry Craig.

lclark2 said...

Rush inspires debate and exposes incidents like "phoney soldiers" who are trotted before us by the liberal press. Even though he does it in an incindiary manner, at least he gets us talking and debating!

Rick Rockwell said...

Rush gets us debating because he lies and his lies are accepted as legitimate political viewpoints instead of being exposed as propaganda. Thousands of veterans of the Iraq War are against the current campaign. Maybe you missed their petition. You can find it at their website Iraq Veterans Against the War. Are the thousands there phonies? Is Congressman Murtha, a decorated veteran, a phony? Is Senator John Kerry, also a decorated veteran (despite the smear campaign) also a phony? Is Gen. Wesley Clark a phony? How about Gen. Barry McCaffrey?

To believe that soldiers and veterans who oppose the Iraq War are fictions created by the media is to buy the propaganda campaign of the people who lied to us to begin with before the war started.

By the way, I also see you buy the myth of the liberal media. Check out who owns the media and get back to me about just how liberal those folks are in reality, and what causes they support with their networks.

I may not go as far as progger with my views, but I’m not far behind.

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