So, how is a Rush Limbaugh caller's comments news?
Unfortunately, this is the kind of silliness that the net is sometimes prone to as sites try to fill pages with "news." On March 3 during the Rush Limbaugh radio show, one of the callers.... remember, I said a caller here... said that Barack Obama reminded her (the caller's) daughter of the cartoon character Curious George. And, um, this is somehow news? Well, it is according to ABC News at least. Excitedly, ABC's Political Radar blog delivered us a headline that virtually screams "look at the racist" -- Limbaugh Caller Says Obama Reminds Daughter of Cartoon Monkey.
On March 3rd, the Political Radar blog breathlessly reports this momentous "news," this stupendous, stultifying, divisive, pointless, news. Even more shocking, Limbaugh "laughed at the caller's comment." The NERVE!
Seriously, people! How is it that a caller's comments to any radio show amounts to news? Would it be news if I reported what some guy at the 7/11 store said to me yesterday? The news should be what the hosts say, not the callers. And, even at that rate, the news value of what a radio host says might easily be considered less consequential than what a politician or other public figure says.
Ah, but we all know what the "news" here is, don't we? ABC was excited to be able to paint Rush Limbaugh as a racist. Yes, ABC was salivating at the chance to say that the evil, rotten, mean-spirited, conservative Limbaugh is a nogoodnick. That is the beginning and end of the agenda.
Here is how the Political Radar blog begins:
ABC News' Tahman Bradley Reports: Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh issued an on-air apology to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., today after a caller said her daughter thought the Democratic presidential frontrunner looked like the cartoon character Curious George, a monkey.
Limbaugh, who laughed at the caller's comments, later apologized explaining he didn't know anything about Curious George.
In true Limbaugh fashion, though, he was able to take a silly thing and wring a cogent, political point out of it. And kudos to ABC for at least allowing Limbaugh his point, even if they did bury it at the end of the piece.
Limbaugh made a broader, perhaps more serious observation about political correctness and what can and cannot be said about a black man seeking the presidency of the United States. "I'm doing this as an illustration for you of how really uptight and tense everybody is going to be with any kind of criticism of Barack Obama on the Republican side," he said. "If Obama is the nominee, we may set a record for the number of apologies to him and his campaign by various Republicans and so forth."
So, Rush made lemonade out of those lemons, for sure. But, how ABC saw it as "news" is the saddest part of this whole affair with their attempt to make Limbaugh out as the racist. And don't think I am exaggerating, either. Catch how the Political Radar piece ends.
But forty years removed from racist archetypes like Blackface, Limbaugh probably won't get much sympathy by laughing at a child thinking a black man favors a monkey.
Blackface, indeed. Nope.... not much agenda there!
Photo of Limbaugh via Lighthouse Patriot Journal.