I ain’t totally naive. The current controversy surrounding pill-head Rush Limbaugh’s misogynistic verbal assault on Georgetown University Law Center student Sandra Fluke will soon subside and the so-called “entertainer” will continue his hate-filled Republican propaganda. But at least his outrageous outburst in calling the young woman a slut and prostitute has caught the attention of major advertisers who have begun abandoning his daily radio rants in droves.
As I mentioned in a previous post, my two hour round-trip drive to lead an LSU continuing education class for plus-fifty folks gives me a chance to listen to a few minutes of the nation’s three most famous failed disc jockeys—Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Thanks to the greed of Texas-based broadcasting conglomerate Clear Channel, I get to listen to portions of all three shows. They are carried back-to-back-to-back on Baton Rouge’s WJBO, my old stomping grounds as a moderately liberal talk show host 45 years ago when the locally-owned station was controlled by a family that gave a shit about the community.
Nowadays, the misinformation and outright lies I hear from characters polluting the AM airwaves leaves me so palsied with incredulity, it’s a wonder that I don’t lose control of the car and maim myself. To gather my wits, I have to remember that Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity are the end result of deinstitutionalization of inmates confined to insane asylums—a national policy that would have kept them restrained in straitjackets a half-century ago.
On Wednesday’s lineup, Glenn Beck was blaming President Obama’s Administration for stuffed Bald Eagles being sold by Native Americans. Obviously, Beck had never seen one for sale since he was urging listeners to send him a stuffed eagle. What prompted the oddball discussion— also part of Limbaugh’s attacks on the Administration—is a decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service allowing the Northern Arapaho tribe in Wyoming to kill two bald eagles in an ancient religious ceremony.
As far back as 1934, Congress gave exemptions to native American tribes for gathering eagle feathers. Restrictions were tightened when America’s symbolic birds were placed on the endangered species list. However, their numbers have now significantly increased, leading to the recent decision by wildlife experts.
Personally, I don’t believe the loss of a couple of eagles will have a major impact on the country. However, I don’t recommend widespread hunting of bald eagles for dining. Too gamey unless garnished with Spotted Owls. Just kidding. Got to have my stupid interludes.
Anyway, I caught only a few minutes of Limbaugh’s Wednesday show. From what little I heard, he hates Obama and loves anybody but. According to Internet posts, he also whined about eagles. Sorry I missed it, but life is full if disappointments.
I did listen to the opening of Sean Hannity’s program in which he rattled off a couple of lies faster than a husband caught naked in bed by his wife’s with her best friend. In the first five minutes of the show, Hannity accused the Obama Administration of concealing White House visitor logs to conceal the presence of “terrorist” and former Obama Chicago neighbor Bill Ayers, as well as the Reverend Jerimiah Wright, the President’s long ago loose-lipped spiritual advisor.
Neither man ever paid Obama a visit at the White House, although people with the same names have been among the nearly 100,000 monthly tour visitors. So, Hannity got the names right even though it was the wrong guys. What more can we expect from somebody who makes his living on distortions.
Which brings be back to Sandra Fluke. Her attempt to testify before a Congressional committee considering restrictions on providing contraceptives to women has brought attention to the right-wing rants on AM radio. Advertisers in particular are having second thoughts about making a few bucks off of hate.
Indeed, it will be poetic justice if Ms. Fluke makes a few bucks off the controversy. In the course of my career as an investigative reporter, I was target of numerous libel and slander lawsuits—threatened and filed. I never lost a case. But the experience of going through trials and the pre-trial processes taught me a little bit about the statutes. And in my non-legal opinion, Limbaugh assaulted the Fluke with malice, a criteria for establishing liability.
Having built a highly successful career as a muckraker, I don’t ordinarily like to see anyone deprived of First Amendment privileges. Rush Limbaugh and his ilk are notable exceptions.
Right on, Sandra.
My memoir, Odyssey of a Derelict Gunslinger: A Saga of Exposing TV Preachers, Corrupt Politicians, Right-Wing Lunatics…and Me is available at amazon.com, soft-cover or Kindle and at independent bookstores like the Cottonwood in Baton Rouge. It offers $19.99 worth of laughs and much more. The book is an account of my illustrious (I choose the adjectives) investigative reporting career. email@example.com.