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An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia

Exhibit 6: I Don't Want To Get Off On A Rant Here, But...

The ConWeb sees a conspiracy in Dennis Miller getting a "Monday Night Football" commentator slot over Rush Limbaugh.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/27/2000

NewsMax and WorldNetDaily have run more stories on the possibility of Rush Limbaugh becoming a commentator on ABC's "Monday Night Football" than they have on matters that some would consider of slightly more importance to the republic, such as George W. Bush's missing military service record.

So, when comedian/TV host Dennis Miller got the job instead of Limbaugh, the ConWeb cried foul and cried conspiracy.

NewsMax whined the loudest, calling the decision "a major slap in the face to Rush Limbaugh and the millions of conservatives he represents" and attacking Miller as "a notorious left-wing comedian."

"Monday Night Football" producer Don Ohlmeyer is quoted by NewsMax as saying, "Our goal is to provide a more enjoyable program for the viewers and this combination of talent is the start," to which "Carl Limbacher and NewsMax staff" add, "Read: No Conservatives/Republicans Need Apply." It is difficult to imagine the sheer amount of psychotropic drugs NewsMax staffers ingested to yank that interpretation out of Ohlmeyer's quote.

WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah had a fit as well. "Dennis Miller is a foul-mouthed, profane, unfunny jerk," he fumes, so much so that he believes "foul-mouthed" and "profane" are two different things. "His constituency, as ABC will soon find out, is extremely narrow. More to the point, as a so-called comedian, he is every bit as political as Rush Limbaugh — just not so nearly well-informed."

Farah goes on to sing the praises of Limbaugh, asserting he "made publishing history" by selling "millions and millions of copies" of his two books, "The Way Things Ought To Be" and "See, I Told You So," in the early 1990s. (Of course, Miller just released his third book of "rants." Not that Farah has noticed.)

And speaking of not noticing, the Media Research Council joins in the conspiracy-mongering in its June 23 CyberAlert: "A conservative is too controversial for ABC Sports but a conservative-bashing liberal is not?"

The bulk of the MRC article repeats a 1998 column by MRC head L. Brent Bozell, who attacks Miller for, among other things, making "breathtakingly vicious" attacks on Newt Gingrich. As ConWebWatch has noted previously, Bozell is no stranger to "breathtakingly vicious" attacks on others.

As another example, Bozell notes that Miller called Trent Lott a "stiff-haired, pinhead scumbag." Sounds to me like Miller was merely cribbing from Republican senator Dan Burton, who has called President Clinton a "scumbag."

MRC also pulls some other moldy Miller quotes out of its archives from 1995. Apparently, they couldn't toddle on over to Miller's web site and read through some of his recent rants. What MRC's lack of current source material means is that some poorly paid intern is going to have to stay up late Friday night and studiously note Miller's "liberal bias" — which has already begun, to which MRC sarcastically notes, "What a sophisticated addition to the ABC Sports broadcast team."

MRC must not know about the long history of Limbaugh's insensitive racial remarks, which the watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting points out could be an issue in a sport in which many of the players are black and on a program that is the second most watched in black households.

MRC — or Farah, or Limbacher and crew — would figure out that Miller is not exactly the flaming liberal they have depicted him as. For instance, here is a quote from a recent rant about Hillary Clinton:

  • "I can't believe (New York voters) can't see how phony she is. Don't they see through those perfectly prepared speeches, where every brittle smile has been pre-programmed to last exactly the right number of seconds to express humility without veering off into self-doubt? You know what I want? I want to see if she can tell me her home phone number. I want her to tell me what's in her refrigerator, or what her mailman's name is, or when she last parallel parked a fucking car. I want her to tell me about the life she does lead rather than the life she thinks I should lead.

Does this sound like the uninformed "jerk" that Farah portrays? Does that sound like the "notorious liberal" that NewsMax portrays?

What these folks seem to be incapable of acknowledging is that, no matter how much they revere the guy, Limbaugh is a polarizing figure. Any viewership gained by conservatives rushing to "MNF" because of Limbaugh's presence would more than likely be offset by viewers refusing to watch the program for the exact same reason. Despite what conservatives think, Miller is much more of an equal-opportunity basher and doesn't carry the type of partisan baggage (or the history of insensitve remarks) Limbaugh does. Given what it was trying to do, ABC made the "safe" choice.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

(But I doubt it.)

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