Half of America loves him, the other half hates him. None of the camps will deny, however: Rush Limbaugh has revolutionized the US media landscape and paved the way for someone like Donald Trump to run for president with divisive rhetoric. He made what was considered ineffable in politics twenty or thirty years ago to be socially acceptable.
Now Rush Limbaugh, 69, announces: I have terminal lung cancer. Normally at such times, human consideration takes precedence over party political strife. not in the case of Limbaugh. He has pushed the boundaries of respect.
[Wenn Sie alle aktuellen Nachrichten live auf Ihr Handy haben wollen, empfehlen wir Ihnen unsere runderneuerte App, die Sie hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen können.]
Some celebrities are now turning against him. Singer and songwriter Ricky Davila tweeted, “He’s a sexist, misogynist, racist, spreading hateful, bigotry conspiracy theories. He doesn’t feel sorry for me.”
Liberal writer Bob Geiger expresses his disdain in a more ironic way: “I’m working to formulate thoughtful and empathetic wishes for well-being, even though he’s a terrible, racist, bitter hate thrower. I’ll let you know when I succeed . ”
Limbaugh: My days without a death sentence are over
Two weeks before the US election, many take Limbaugh’s disease as an omen: Trump lags behind in the polls, one of his main propagandists is fatally ill. In February, when Limbaugh announced his lung cancer diagnosis, Trump had awarded him the Medal of Freedom, the highest award in the United States.
“It’s hard to realize that the days when you no longer have a death sentence hanging over your head are over,” said Limbaugh on his show. “We all know we have to die at some point,” but it changes your psychological and physical effect when your own life is suddenly tied to a deadline.
[Mit dem Newsletter „Twenty/Twenty“ begleiten unsere US-Experten Sie jeden Donnerstag auf dem Weg zur Präsidentschaftswahl. Hier geht es zur kostenlosen Anmeldung: tagesspiegel.de/twentytwenty.]
Limbaugh was born in Missouri in 1951, the father was a lawyer and military pilot. The first four decades of his life could have been called an unsuccessful existence. He worked at local broadcasters, put on records and filled the gaps between music and commercials with his loose mouth.
He didn’t make a career – until the manager of a national radio show in 1988 noticed the now 37-year-old Sprücheklopfer. The radio market was in turmoil, with Limbaugh speaking unfiltered, disrespectfully about politics, often in Gossier language, in contrast to the many unremarkable music channels and Bible programs. The conservative talk radio was born. The new format quickly met with success and was widely copied.
But no imitator came close to Limbaugh, with its border crossings and catchy, often disparaging formulas. He also had the time and image advantage of inventing the new wave. Today 600 stations in the US are broadcasting his “Rush Limbaugh Show”. He is a multi-millionaire.
He calls feminists “feminists”, Obama an illegal one
He calls women who demanded the health insurance company pay for contraceptives “sluts” and feminists “Feminazis.” He spread the “Birther” theory that Barack Obama was supposedly not born in the US, so he was not a legitimate president. Donald Trump later made a career with this claim.
Trump also copied Limbaugh’s statements about Latin American immigrants who are said to be largely criminals, rapists and drug dealers. And Hillary Clinton’s alleged criminal machinations that put her behind bars.
President Bush invited him to the White House and carried his luggage
An attempt by Rupert Murdoch to transplant Limbaugh and his successful radio concept to Fox TV station in the 1990s was unsuccessful. Appearance is also part of television. Limbaugh soon confined himself to talking on the radio again. The similar format on television is filled by blond women with steel voices like Laura Ingraham.
Limbaugh continues to be known as a revolution in radio in the US and a whisperer to Republican presidents, from Bush father to Bush son to Trump. Bush’s father had him stay in the Lincoln Bed Room in the White House, a rare honor. And, as Limbaugh relates, he personally carried his luggage there. He is honored in the Radio Hall of Fame and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.