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Rushing All Over Themselves

Limbaugh's deafness sends the ConWeb into an orgy of praise.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 10/29/2001

The news that conservative talkmeister Rush Limbaugh is going deaf brought out the mushy side of the ConWeb, with writers gushing praise over the guy to an extent that approaches the embarassing.

WorldNetDaily managed to be the most egregious, with a 23-paragraph news story that, among other things, quoted the Drudge Report and anointed Limbaugh "the most listened-to radio talk-show host in history." And nowhere in those 23 paragraphs is the word "conservative" used. (Remember when the ConWeb was having a fit because some news outlets weren't identifying Gary Condit as a Democrat to the frequency they demanded?) WND also ran a small story about possible solutions to Limbaugh's problem; CNS ran a similar story.

WND editor Joseph Farah wrote a wildly effusive love letter on Oct. 9, calling Limbaugh "an American institution" and "the man I refer to as 'The Great One,' because his entertainment instincts are comparable to the other man known as 'Great One' in the entertainment industry, the late, great Jackie Gleason."

Farah also recounted the story of how he decided to run a column by Limbaugh when he was editor of the dying Sacramento Union newspaper and Limbaugh was based in the city, which turned into a daily column on the front page. "And it, more than anything else I did in that town, turned around the sliding circulation," Farah claims. Or maybe not, since the enterprise owned for several years by Richard Mellon Scaife was eventually shut down.

Over at NewsMax, Christopher Ruddy turned his tribute to Rush into yet another anti-Clinton rant: "During the past eight years, Rush has been unrelenting in his criticism of the Clintons. Had the liberal media joined with him in holding the Clintons accountable, I don’t believe we would have ever witnessed the events of Sept. 11."

And to remind its constituency that it (and Rush) have little more to offer beyond Clinton-bashing, NewsMax repeated on Oct. 25 Limbaugh's evidence-free assertion that the vials of salmonella that appeared in Bill Clinton's Harlem offices were sent by Clinton himself "just to get in on the action."

Columnist Marianne Jennings, meanwhile, joins in the lovefest in her Oct. 26 Accuracy in Media column by declaring that "Mr. Limbaugh has long been a class act." Apparently, things like having a shaky grasp of facts, insulting Chelsea Clinton's looks and trying to assert opinions as fact are what passes for "class" on the ConWeb.

By comparison, the guy who had the right to be needlessly effusive -- columnist David Limbaugh, Rush's brother -- looks pretty restrained by comparison in his Oct. 11 piece for National Review Online.

Of course, he didn't need to go overboard. An uncritical (of its own, anyway) ConWeb eager to overlook Rush's parade of errors was all to happy to do that for him.

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