Why I Have Contempt for Rush Limbaugh

One forgets just how odious the man can be, the depths to which he’ll sink — and then he says this:

It’s Obama’s America, is it not? Obama’s America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now. You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, “Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on,” and, of course, everybody says the white kid deserved it, he was born a racist, he’s white. Newsweek magazine told us this. We know that white students are destroying civility on buses, white students destroying civility in classrooms all over America, white congressmen destroying civility in the House of Representatives.

Let’s start with the outright mendacity. “When does Rush Limbaugh misrepresent the truth?” commenters ask. Here’s an undeniable example: “… of course, everybody says the white kid deserved it, he was born a racist, he’s white. Newsweek magazine told us this.”

Everyone says he deserved to get beat up? This isn’t hyperbole. Literally no one has said that this white kid deserved to be beat up, or that he was born a racist. Point me to anyone in the media who said that, Mr. Limbaugh. Show me where Newsweek said that white people deserve to be beaten up on busses. This isn’t an exaggeration. There is no grain of truth here. It is a brazen, outright lie, unbefitting anyone with personal integrity.

Now consider the gravity. This isn’t merely a lie — it is a lie that, if credulously received by its audience, is going to heighten racial tensions and mistrust in the United States. Rod Dreher gets it right:

Look, I think it’s important to talk about black male violence, or at least as important as it is to talk about any other important social trend. I don’t think we should be squeamish about discussing it in a responsible and fair-minded way, despite what the politically correct say. But good grief, Limbaugh is up to something wicked. He’s plainly trying to rally white conservatives into thinking that now that we have a black president, blacks are rising up to attack white kids! Christ have mercy, what is wrong with these people?

And finally, note the hypocrisy. Mr. Limbaugh accuses others of exacerbating racial tensions and obsessing about race. Sometimes he is right to do so. Yet here he is obsessing about race and ratcheting up racial tensions. It is difficult to think of hypocrisy more abhorrent.

I hasten to add that this whole critique applies whether or not the bus incident in question was a racially motivated hate crime. I take no position on that matter whatsoever.

Already Mr. Limbaugh’s behavior is raising the ire of folks who already dislike him, but this transgression against honesty and prudence is so obvious and grave that his audience members should take it upon themselves to contact the talk radio host, politely articulate why his commentary in this instance is so irresponsible, and request that he never engage in such behavior again. It is Mr. Limbaugh’s listeners who have the most pull here. Those who say nothing, and continue tuning into this kind of rhetoric, share partial responsibility for worsening the country in which they live, though the bulk of responsibility will always reside with the millionaire race agitator himself.