This past week Rush Limbaugh celebrated his 30th year on radio. There was a call from the President. Sean Hannity paid tribute on his TV show.
And CNN’s Jim Acosta? Well, Jim just went on being Jim Acosta. Which is to say Jim has become the latest embodiment of just why Rush Limbaugh is celebrated, not to mention needed.
Let’s take just one small Acosta moment to illustrate the point - a point that could be made endlessly with all manner of other journos well beyond CNN. I have mentioned this before right in this space. But the best account is from Joseph Wulfsohn over at Mediaite.
Recall back in May that Kim Kardashian, always on the celebrity A-List, came to the White House for a serious chat with President Trump and the White House senior staff - Jared Kushner was on this one. The subject: prison reform. Specifically, Kardashian was pushing for a presidential pardon for one Alice Johnson who had already served, as Wulfsohn noted, “over 20 years in prison of a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense.”
Acosta took to the CNN airwaves and said this:
“Forget about the fact that Kim Kardashian is here at the White House today and what planet that is anything resembling normal because it’s not. She shouldn’t be here talking about prison reform. It’s very nice that she is here but that’s not a serious thing to have happen here at the White House.”
Wulfsohn did some quick digging and found this about the self-same Jim Acosta:
“Besides the fact that Acosta never took issue with the countless celebrities that had visited the White House under President Obama including Beyoncé and Jay Z, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bradley Cooper, Rihanna, and Zach Galifianakis, Acosta seems to have forgotten about his own 2015 interview with singer John Legend.
Acosta sat down with the Grammy-winning artist and discussed his music, Black Lives Matter, and yes, prison reform, something Legend at the time was planning on meeting with Obama about. And Acosta was genuinely engaged with Legend during the interview and took him seriously not only as an entertainer but as a political thinker.
The same can’t be said about his treatment of Kim Kardashian.”
A small moment. But it says everything about why Rush Limbaugh has been a roaring success for thirty years, not to mention the change in the media dynamic that he, all by his lonesome (and it was lonesome for a long while!) brought about.
There are two obvious points from the Acosta story that explain Rush’s success.
First, to say, as Acosta did, that Kardashian “shouldn’t be here talking about prison reform. It’s very nice that she is here but that’s not a serious thing to have happen here at the White House.”? That is what is known as an opinion. Jim Acosta’s opinion, in this case. It is not a “fact.”
Second. Acosta never mentions what Wulfsohn discovered - namely that when another A-List celebrity, the liberal John Legend, wanted to lobby the liberal President Obama on prison reform, Acosta agreeably - make that enthusiastically - interviewed Legend with nary a negative word about his celebrity presence in the Obama White House to lobby for exactly the same subject as Kardashian did with Trump.
In short, this snapshot of Jim Acosta at work is a microcosm of how vast swaths of the American public view the mainstream media. They turn on their televisions or pick up their newspaper to see “journalists” giving their opinions and calling them “facts” or “news.” And ever so conveniently they will conveniently leave out real facts that don’t fit the opinions they are so determined to deliver to their audience.
Rush Limbaugh was the antidote to this. For three hours a day, five days a week, in a fast-paced show that was as entertaining as it was enlightening, Rush was and is able to cut through the fog of misinformation, untruths and double standards that run rampant in the mainstream media. Eight years later his friend Roger Ailes put together Fox News.
And one-by-one others began to appear on one or both of radio and Fox airwaves to expand on what Rush was doing. As Hannity noted in his Rush tribute this week, conservative talk radio is now a dominant force in American culture - it is everywhere. And not just with national hosts like Sean himself or Mark Levin or Laura Ingraham, but local hosts as well.
The serious contribution that is Rush Limbaugh is a major league big deal. Every day he is on the air he comes in with a reminder of just how biased is the liberal media as illustrated by a recent news story. And the liberal media is the gift that keeps on giving.
The day of Rush’s anniversary, as mentioned, President Trump called in. Shortly thereafter CNN was discussing the call, with Wolf Blitzer picking up on Trump’s remark that there were “evil people” in Washington. Rush was instantly on top of this, saying in Trump’s defense:
RUSH: “What you mean doubling down on his evil people? So he’s doubling down on shutting down the government, and he’s doubling down on his evil people here in Washington. Wolf, let me help you out. This is so frustrating. Wolf, if you’re Donald Trump — no. Wolf, you’re not Donald Trump. You’re you.
You’re you, and the entirety of the Washington establishment who you love and respect, and you think love and respect you, all of a sudden start reporting stories four or five times a day that everything you’ve achieved has been because Vladimir Putin or somebody else helped you. That you’re not genuine, Wolf, that you’re a pretender, that you’re a fake, that you’re a phony, and this goes for a year and a half.
Suffice to say, before Rush no one could be heard answering back like this because they simply didn’t have the platform - and, most importantly, they were not going to be given a platform on the major television networks of the day. There are thirty years worth of examples of Rush answering the mainstream liberal media - and liberals.
Perhaps the classic illustration of just how serious Rush’s contribution is came back in June of 1994 during the Clinton administration. President Clinton was flying in to St. Louis for some sort of official event and called in to a local radio show - on a station that carries Rush’s show. Clinton was furious, saying on-air:
“After I get off the radio today with you, Rush Limbaugh will have three hours to say whatever he wants. And I won’t have any opportunity to respond. And there’s no truth detector. You won’t get on afterwards and say what was true and what wasn’t.”
This, Rush would later point out, got no serious play in the mainstream media. Indeed, years later Kirsten Powers, then a Fox contributor, but at one point a Clinton aide, admitted she had never heard the story before. Which goes exactly to Rush’s point. The Left doesn’t want the conservative point of view out there. And the fact that in 1994 Rush was six years in to his show and it was steadily gaining traction was infuriating to Clinton, his reaction typical of the Left.
On occasion there is the thought that at some undetermined time in the far distant future one will see history’s final verdict on an event or personality of today. This is in fact a frequent occurrence with presidents. A president like a Harry Truman can leave office with bottom-of-the-barrel poll numbers - and twenty years later historians and the American people take a look back and realize Truman was a great president.
No such wait is required with Rush Limbaugh. He has made - for three decades - an enormous contribution to America and most specifically to conservative media. Make that a contribution to the media, period. Never again will there be a liberal monopoly of the news and how it is presented. And when someone - a Jim Acosta or any other liberal media personality or institution - tries to substitute liberal opinion for facts there will be plenty of people out there to call them out, to disagree, to point out the flaws in the argument at hand.
That is one very big deal in the history of America. And for that Rush Limbaugh deserves every bit of the applause and accolades he has received.