cj#404> C Reid: The Limbaugh Conspiracy


Richard Moore

Date: Sat, 13 Jan 1996
From: "Charles J. Reid" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Article #6: Limbaugh Conspiracy (fwd)
To: •••@••.•••

Forwarding an article you might want to consider for CyberJournal.

-- Charlie Reid
"Salus populi suprema est lex" (Cicero)
The welfare of the people is the highest law.


                The Limbaugh Conspiracy: Dumbing Down America
                        By Charles J. Reid

        Dropping out of college occasionally seems a wise strategy to
follow.  At least it appears it was for somebody who has become the
Director of the "Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies," otherwise
known as the Rush Limbaugh Show on the Excellence In Broadcasting (EIB)
        Freshman Limbaugh did, in fact, drop out of Southeastern
Missouri State University to pursue a career in broadcast entertainment.
Now that he's replaced William Buckley as the militant intellectual
darling of many conservative Republicans, he appears to be proof
that Outcome-Based Education without an outcome really does dumb down.
        Limbaugh provides proof of his buffoonery with his own words, which
have been examined in three extremely good works.
        In "The Way Things Aren't, Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error,"
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a New-York based media
watchdog group, has compiled a wide ranging list of his words his
followers, or "dittoheads," strongly accept as oracular truth.
        The authors -- Steven Rendall, Jim Naureckas, and Jeff Cohen --
who work for FAIR, delve into a further investigation of his words, and
prove most of them either merely foolish, or just plain wrong.  The book
is a well-designed, arty presentation of Limbaugh's false or outrageous
statements juxtaposed with an explanation or evidence of their
        For those who want to preview parts of book online, they can
access FAIR's website at


        But Limbaugh makes much more than just errors of fact,
interpretation, or exaggeration.
        He has made a career attacking liberals, feminists, the
Clintons, vegetarians, civil rights activists, environmentalists, animal
rights activists, and just about anyone who entertains the concept of
social justice as part of their world view.
        A critical essential element of Limbaugh's message is his
annunciation of the "Liberal Conspiracy." Eric Craig, in "Rush Limbaugh
and the Social Construction of a Liberal Conspiracy Theory: Some Notes
>>From the Field," explains what makes a conspiracy, what makes a
conspiracy theory, and what the elements of Limbaugh's theory of a
Liberal Conspiracy are. In Limbaugh's case, his anti-liberal conspiracy
theory relies heavily on the straw-man deconstruction of liberalism and the
propensity to manufacture false facts to prove his own conservative case.
        Craig's paper can be found at:


        One key to the Liberal Conspiracy theory's success is the fact
that Limbaugh doesn't tolerate opposition and refuses to debate anyone,
much less defend his own veracity.  Dissenting points of view rarely get
access to his air waves, and when they do, they are controlled,
converted, or mocked.
        Appearing before sympathetic audiences or screening in friendly
interlocutors, Limbaugh is free to speak without challenge. So his
pontifications can end up deteriorating into nonsensical or mean-
spirited yak.
        What else can you call such Limbaughisms as: "Watermelons are
environmentalists.  They're green on the outside and red on the inside,"
or "Kurt Cobain was, ladies and gentlemen, a worthless shred of human
debris."  When speaking of Socks, the White House cat, he said on his TV
show, "Do you know there's also a dog in the White House?" Then he put a
picture of 13-year old Chelsea Clinton on the screen.
        "Reign of Error" documents a whole list of stupidities, such as:
"Even if the polar ice caps melted, there would be no rise in ocean
levels," or "Styrofoam and plastic milk jugs are biodegradable! Do you
know what isn't biodegradable? Paper."
        Both history and minorities have become favorite Limbaugh
targets, victims of such bonmots as: "Columbus saved the Indians from
themselves." Just to remind readers, almost the entire native population
of the island of Hispaniola was exterminated within a few decades of
Columbus' landing. But as Craig notes, "Like a bad surgeon, and perhaps
for the same reason, Limbaugh buries his mistakes so as to appear
        Until recently, it might have been possible to laugh all of this
off, but that is no longer an option. This is the position Charles M.
Kelley takes in "The Great Limbaugh Con and Other Right-Wing Assaults on
Common Sense," (Santa Barbara: Fithian Press, 1994) Kelley provides a
theoretical framework for critically analyzing Limbaugh's "reign of
        Limbaugh is a dangerous man -- the clown who would be king --
because of his impact on the roughly 10 million fans brainwashed by his
foolishness, which leads to skewed models of politics and economics.
Kelley's book is a book auspiciously available for de-programming
        Limbaugh says, for example, "The poorest people in America are
better off than the mainstream of families of Europe," promoting a false
view of poverty in the U.S.  In fact, as "Reign of Error" points out,
the poorest 20 percent of Americans have only about 25 percent of the
purchasing power of the average French or German citizen. However, "The
Limbaugh Con" explains in greater detail why standard of living of the
poor and middle class has been sinking throughout the '80s and '90s.
        On financing education, Limbaugh has said, "Banks take all the
risks in issuing student loans and they are entitled to the profits." As
"Reign of Error" points out, banks take no risks, since student loans
are still federally insured.  As we might expect, Limbaugh has more
sympathy for the banks than for those seeking a college education. "The
Limbaugh Con" provides an explanation for how any human being with a
brain would accept such Limbaugh foolishness as the truth.
         Somewhere in all of these books Limbaugh's literal lies are
rebutted one-by-one. His stature as a thinker is successfully debunked.
His integrity annihilated. And the conspiratorial consequence of his
dropping out of college revealed: he's dumbing down the dittoheads.
        "Reign of Error," "The Limbaugh Liberal Conspiracy," and "The
Limbaugh Con" are required reading for recovering dittoheads and for
those who have tired of Limbaugh's motor mouth dominating political
debate on the airwaves. Together these book provide an answer to the
question, "How do you take on a guy like this?"  The answer is easy:
understand exactly what it is he is saying, and use his own words to
challenge him.

                        -- 30 --

Charles J. Reid is a free-lance writer living in Santa Cruz, CA.


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