Topic: Media Research Center
Right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh's death brought the expected plaudits, under headlines like "Radio Icon Rush Limbaugh Delighted MRC Galas: ‘Stay on the Truth’" and "Mike Pence Honors Rush Limbaugh: ‘The Anchor of Conservatism’" and "Mr. Snerdley Pays Tribute to the Late, Great Rush Limbaugh as Only He Could." But as it did when Limbaugh announced he had been diagnosed with lung cancer a year earlier, the MRC lashed out at anyone who pointed out that Limbaugh was a racist, misogynist, divisive hater while almost failing to offer a coherent defense against the claims:
- CLASSLESS Stelter Smears: ‘Racist’ Limbaugh ‘Will Always Symbolize Division’
- ‘ROT IN HELL': Media Mock ‘Bigoted’ ‘A**hole’ & ‘Terrible Person’ Rush Limbaugh after His Death
- MSNBC Obituary Lambasts Limbaugh as ‘Polarizing’ and Racist
- Despicable: MSNBC’s Reid, Guests Gleefully Spit on Rush Limbaugh’s Grave (in which Curtis Houck personally attacked onetime right-wing radio host Charlie Sykes as an "ideologiical turncoat" (shades of Oliver Darcy) and "thrice-married," ignoring that Limbaugh was on his fourth marriage)
- ‘My Deepest Sympathies’ to Satan: Hollywood Hopes Limbaugh Is In Hell
- Obnoxious ABC Sneers at ‘Bombastic’ 'Divisive' Limbaugh's Passing
- Vile ‘View’ Spews Venom on ‘Extremist’ Limbaugh: ‘Normalized Racism' 'Weaponized White Male Grievance’
- Despicable! MSNBC, CNN Give Rush the Soviet Treatment, Black Out Morning News of His Death
- ‘Terrible Human Being’: Deadspin Blogger Defames Limbaugh as Racist Moron (the closest thing to an acual defense, in which mysterious sports blogger Jay Maxson tried to justify Limbaugh's attacks on NFL quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Colin Kaepernick)
- Hateful NY Times SPEWS Dreck: Limbaugh ‘Fomented Mistrust, Grievances,' 'Hate'
- Univision Makes Limbaugh’s Death All About Trump
- MSNBC Invites Disgraced Franken to Trash Limbaugh: He ‘Spewed Lies’!
- FLASHBACK: Rush Was a Threat to Them, So They Tried to Destroy Him (Geoffrey Dickens wrote, "They took statements out of context (remember the “phony soldiers” slander?), deceptively edited clips and even made up fake quotes"; yes, Geoff, we do remember the "phony soldiers" statement, which wasn't a "slander")
- Nasty CNN Sneers: Limbaugh 'Filled the Airwaves with Lies and Conspiracy Theories'
- NY Times Goes on Elitist Rant About 'Merciless' Rush’s ‘Indefensible Conduct' (in which Clay Waters declared, "It’s easy to pull out excerpts from a decades-long radio career and find stories that don’t pan out")
- NY Times Opinion Editor Hosts Limbaugh Debate, Slimes Rush and 'Trollish' Ben Shapiro
- Nasty CNN Continues to Smear Rush Limbaugh: 'His Views Were Pretty Ugly and Hurt a Lot of People'
- DESPICABLE! The Ugliest Rush Limbaugh Obits by Lefty Journalists and Celebrities
Again: Aside from the above-noted Jay Maxson example, none of this posts offer any sort of defense of Limbaugh -- they simply whine that Limbaugh was criticized -- accurately, one could say -- upon his death. (Also, note that the MRC so loved the word "despicable" to describe the non-right-wing media's response to Limbaugh's death that it appears in the headlines of three of these items.)
One post, however, did attempt to defend the arguably indefensible. Tim Graham devoted a Feb. 18 post to responding to an Associated Press obituary of Limbaugh that noted "As the AIDS epidemic raged in the 1980s, he made the dying a punchline," that "When actor Michael J. Fox, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, appeared in a Democratic campaign commercial, Limbaugh mocked his tremors" and that "when a Georgetown University law student supported expanded contraceptive coverage, he dismissed her as a 'slut.'"Graham's response: There's context! And Rush (allegely) apologized!
Each one of these could be dissected and put into context -- for example, he apologized for making light of AIDS patients. But reporters skip over the apologizes where he apologized. He also apologized for suggesting law student Sandra Fluke was a "slut." He also apologized to Michael J. Fox, but Brent Baker has fuller context.
Adding context would crimp the "cruelty" and "malice" charges, but Sedensky left that out. There's also no sense of timeline -- the "AIDS Updates" and jokes about D.C. homeless advocate Mitch Snyder are from 1990, before Limbaugh's show became a widely distributed national show.
Graham linked to no evidence that Limbaugh ever apologized for his "making light of AIDS patients." And Limbaugh didn't merely "suggest" Fluke was a "slut" -- he out-and-out called her one, the MRC gave him a pass for doing so, and Limbsugh's so-called apology wasn't much of one and it came only after advertisers threatened to quit the show.
Graham's post, by the way, was the only one of the Limbaugh defense posts in which Fluke was mentioned by name.
The MRC had the same hates as Limbaugh did, so it couldn't understand why his targets -- or anyone who's not in their right-wing media bubble -- might object to the offensive things he said. Because to Graham and the rest of the MRC crew, they weren't offensive.