Thanks a Lot, Rush Limbaugh

Dr. Munr Kazmir
6 min readDec 29, 2021

The Johnny Appleseed of ad-click journalism did not leave the media landscape better than he found it.

February 26, 2008. (photo: Chris Piascik)

Rush Limbaugh was no John Muir. He wasn’t a naturalist, he wasn’t a conservationist; he wasn’t even a steward in the manner of Teddy Roosevelt, who at least was prepared to steward what he intended to hunt or harvest.

Rush Limbaugh did the opposite of, “leave no trace.”

Instead, Limbaugh was the Johnny Appleseed of ad-click journalism. He made milking an already-biased audience for every ounce of outrage any scandal- minor, major or manufactured- could produce the new normal in journalism.

Why bother to spend months researching a story, chasing down leads, interviewing key players, getting other perspectives, presenting a thoughtful, measured, empirically verifiable analysis of the facts when saying something outrageous gets news media personalities much further, much faster?

It doesn’t even matter if what news media personalities like Rush Limbaugh say is later proven to be untrue, misleading, false- even a blatant manipulation by agents of the government and/or political operatives pretending to be concerned citizens.

By the time the news-cycle catches up with the correction, if there ever is one, our opinion arbiters in the media have already moved on to the latest outrage, which dwarfs the last outrage so completely, there is no point in even bothering to discuss the old one, true or false.

It’s the ultimate in doomsday-prophecy boondoggles; missed predictions are memory-holed, any vindication is heralded to the stratosphere. Since even a broken clock is right twice a day, this strategy is perfect.

Rush Limbaugh showed people like Alex Jones and James O’Keefe how to play to their audience, how to give the people what they want, without letting things like nuance, transparency, or balance get in the way.

The truth, as they see it, is subjective anyway. If deceptive editing, or outright lying, can illuminate a greater truth, the ends justify the means.

The Rush Limbaugh formula of confirmation-bias journalism inspired plenty of figures on the left, too. There is plenty of money to be made in outrage-based news entertainment among progressives; in…