The Rush Limbaugh Challenge: CON

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With a newly Democratic White House, Rush Limbaugh is experiencing resurgence in popularity and controversy. Limbaugh’s boisterous personality, combined with his far right political views, creates an intense maelstrom of controversy and an equally intense fan base. A Los Angeles Times writer challenged liberals to “expand” their points of view by actually listening to an entire Limbaugh show. The writer, Andrew Klavan, wrote that all the claims made about Rushbo in the public forum are misguided and that he is not really racist, hateful or stupid. Klavan is “throwing down the gauntlet” at our “quivering liberal feet” and telling us to listen to Limbaugh.

While everybody should be informed of varying political viewpoints, listening to Limbaugh’s show will ultimately only benefit him, so both liberals and conservatives should pay little attention to his antics. Limbaugh’s show combines misinformation, contradictions and media-whore tendencies into a one-sided hatefest. It is indeed important for people to expand their minds and take in another person’s point of view. Without that practice, one’s views cannot evolve with the social context around them. However, Limbaugh’s program is poison for open-mindedness and turns one into a mouthpiece for the host’s misinformed views.

Limbaugh’s use of completely wrong facts significantly decreases the value of his show. Most blatantly wrong are his views on global climate change; specifically, he doubts Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are at all associated with global temperature increases. CFCs are chemicals, currently phased out of use, that were once used as refrigerates and in aerosols. UC Irvine’s own Frank Rowland earned a Nobel Prize for discovering that CFCs in the atmosphere deplete the protective ozone layer that covers the Earth. I guess Nobel Prize winners are not trustworthy enough sources on scientific issues in Limbaugh’s world.

The incident is just typical of the misinformation spread by Limbaugh and shows how he allows his personal beliefs to distort reality. His skewed world vision makes it especially appalling that people actually rely on Limbaugh for news. This lack of reliable information alone should be enough to encourage people of all political ideologies to ignore him.

Limbaugh’s hypocritical contradictions go beyond his thinking on climate change. In fact, his actions often clash with his words. He touts the conservative line on the sanctity of family and marriage, and yet he has been married and divorced three times. He criticizes liberals for using wordplay to conceal their “true beliefs,” yet he has popularized the terms “feminazi” and “left coast” in order to vilify and label his opposition.

In his criticism of affirmative action, he says he believes in a color-blind world. However, he famously made racist remarks as a sports commentator by claiming that Donovan McNabb was part of a trend of “overrated black quarterbacks.” Later, he played a song called “Barack the Magic Negro” on his show and has claimed that African-Americans are held back socially because they are taught to hate America.

These conflicts illustrate that Limbaugh is nowhere near as devoted to Republican values as he wants you to believe, further proving his dishonesty. Over the course of almost 30 years, Limbaugh has forced himself to become increasingly conservative and has set the bar higher than he can achieve. His inability to reach his own standards has turned him into a liar, so why should the common man listen to a set of beliefs that not even the person who shouts them can follow?

The most important reason not to listen to Limbaugh is that his primary purpose in life is to build his media empire. Limbaugh, along with other conservative pundits, including Ann Coulter, do not care about the values they act as proponents for.

When people come to them, people like Limbaugh do not see new party members—they see dollar signs. This is the only possible explanation for their more controversial actions. Why would Limbaugh want President Barack Obama to fail? A nationwide economic collapse would be as detrimental to him as anyone else.

The answer is either that he is so devoted to his beliefs that he would rather see the ship sink than be taken over by a new captain or that he was trying to make waves and draw attention to himself. Since we already established that Limbaugh is not as pious as previously believed, this only leaves the media-whore explanation.

People who encourage liberals to listen to Limbaugh claim that the activity would expand intellectual horizons. Conservatives call him the voice of the party and the most outspoken proponent of their values. Yet, he spreads misinformation and clearly does not value the views he expresses. He is simply a liar out to reach into the pockets of the world. Each listener is a dollar sign to fund Limbaugh’s campaign of lies.

Kevin Pease is a fourth-year psychology and social behavior major. He can be reached at kpease@uci.edu.

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