Rush Limbaugh…the King of Polarization??



According to Wikipedia,  Rush Hudson Limbaugh was born on January 12, 1951 in a small town in Missouri. After dropping out of college he moved to Pennsylvania. He got a job as a Top 40 disk jockey with a small AM station in the Pittsburgh area. He eventually worked at a few different stations in that same geographic area until being fired in 1974.  The management of that station told him that” he would never make it as an on-air talent and should consider going into sales”.   In 1988 Limbaugh began broadcasting his show nationally from radio station WABC in New York City. He currently lives in Palm Beach, Florida,and broadcasts the The Rush Limbaugh Show, from Palm Beach.  Limbaugh’s show is the highest-rated talk-radio program in the United States.[1][2] Talkers Magazine in 2012 lists Limbaugh as the most-listened-to talk show host with a weekly audience of 15 million.[3]



Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)




Rush Limbaugh booking photo from his arrest in...

Rush Limbaugh booking photo from his arrest in 2006. These charges were eventually dropped by the local prosecutor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


These stats say less about Rush Limbaugh than they do about what’s happening in this country today. Limbaugh has made a career of pandering to angry, mostly under-educated white men, who are feeling more put upon and more squeezed by their life circumstances  than ever before. They feel like they are losing ground to minorities…to their own children.  Limbaugh stokes the fires by continually pointing out the ways they are “losing” their country…something I find particularly humorous.  Losing it to whom?  And while we’re on that subject, who said it was “their” country in the first place?   This country was built by,  and made great through the efforts of immigrants from around the world who gave their blood, sweat and tears to build a life.  Are the newest of the newcomers all that different? As the population of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, young people and women struggle to gain their place in American society,  Limbaugh has made fortunes creating a ficticious battle between all that is sacred in American life,  and all those newcomers who are making mythical attacks upon same.  In many cases, it is more than obvious to me that he has gone out of his way to create racial and class controversy whenever possible.  CONTROVERSY.  What is the old adage?  It sells newspapers?  Well it also sells air time.  Rush Limbaugh has effectively become the reigning KING OF POLARIZATION.  Not so much because he actually believes some of the patently false,  insensitive and in many cases the silly things he says,  but because there is a huge payday attached to the pollution that comes out of his mouth.  Smart man this has been, never was, disk jockey. The more ridiculous and outrageous things he says make for great theatre and great news headlines. And more and more listeners.  Do they listen because they accept and believe?  Some do…maybe quite a few do.  But I’ll bet many of them just want to see a train wreck…many of them just want to hear the crazy guy speak. I remember once I tuned in one afternoon and I heard Limbaugh on a rant about drug users and drug abusers.  The one comment that always stuck with me was, “Anyone who uses and abuses drugs should be locked up and throw away the key!”.  That was prior to his 2006 arrest for drug possession. He admitted to being addicted to pain killers. Add hypocrite to the long list of adjectives.


The torrential outpouring of absurd nonsense that Limbaugh sprays over the airwaves in many cases truly embarrassing.  His attacks on Black americans…including the president…his attacks on women…his attacks on any one who doesn’t subscribe to his narrow view of things gets cut into small pieces. His rants are so idiotic it is a wonder he is allowed to broadcast at all.  But this is America after all,  and even people who profit from vile venom filled hate speak get to state their visions of life and the world.  There have been so many offensive and racist remarks passed that this past year many of the companies that financially supported Limbaugh and his unique brand of entertainment have been pulling their media dollars away from the KING OF POLARIZATION.  It is unfortunate,  or perhaps quite fortunate,  that the only way to deal with him is in the all mighty pocketbook.  Even  Mr. Limbaugh cannot survive a closed financial spigot.  Will this deter or soften the regrettable comments and attacks in the future? Only time will tell.  Of course should he do so,  he will be selling out his core audience which I can only imagine will further his economic decline.  Rather than try to list every moronic thing Limbaugh has said and done over the last several years,  I have listed some of the more memorable quotes at the bottom of this post.  Check it out for your self.  And to those of you who support this sort of thing, SHAME ON YOU.  In an era when we need to come together as country, as free people, as a human community,  we can use a lot less crude, nasty and polarizing commentary,  and a whole lot more understanding and compassion for all people.

Some Limbaugh-isms

Limbaugh has been noted for making controversial race-related statements with regard to African-Americans. He has drawn connections between African-American appearance and criminality on several occasions, once opining that all newspaper composite pictures of wanted criminals resembled Jesse Jackson, and another time that “the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons.

Limbaugh supports capital punishment, saying “the only thing cruel about the death penalty is last-minute stays.”

Limbaugh has used the term “environmentalist wacko” when referring to left-leaning environmental advocates. As a rhetorical device, he has also used the term to refer to more mainstream climate scientists and other environmental scientists and advocates with whom he disagrees.

Limbaugh is critical of feminism, saying that “Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.

In the beginning of February, Limbaugh said he hoped that the new president would fail in his efforts to deal with economic calamity,

The ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and left out there. It’s natural. It’s as natural as the ocean water is.” –Rush Limbaugh, on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and refuting science, May 3, 2010

Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is also a White House dog?
~Rush Limbaugh, while holding up a photograph of 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton on his 1993 television show

Exercise freaks … are the ones putting stress on the health care system.~Rush Limbaugh, accusing people who exercise of being the reason why health care costs are so high, June 12, 2009

 I’m offering a compromise today: I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want. … So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”
~Rush Limbaugh, The Rush Limbaugh Show, March 1, 2012

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15 Responses to Rush Limbaugh…the King of Polarization??

  1. Rich Spina says:

    Wow…though I have been LOVING your posts…you are SO uninformed about the people that follow Rush…they are really the most educated regarding politics and how the world REALLY exists. It’s the UNIFORMED that bash him and call him names. And I’m not even a fan of Rush anymore. Though Rush might be biased to the conservative cause, he ALWAYS uses FACTS to defend his beliefs, something that the libs can’t EVER comprehend because facts never justify not can they EVER confirm they’re misguided beliefs.

    • joeref says:

      All one has to do is look at the 2 responses I received to my post on Rush Limbaugh to see that he is the KING OF POLARIZATION!
      Rich…I research carefully before I open my BIG MOUTH and it is plain to see that Limbaugh is a brazen provocateur who twists
      and manipulates the truth in an effort to incite his followers. The bottom line I believe is to make as much money as he can before
      advertisers pull what little support he has left from him. If you are telling me that you can read his quotes and then tell me that his followers who accept this nonsense are the most educated people in the country, with a straight face, I would have to say you need to examine what he is saying more closely. This is a classic example of the “mob” mentality. Exactly what FACTS does Limbaugh espouse that LIBS (your word, not mine) can’t understand?

  2. Joanne F says:

    Excellent blog, Joe! You raise all the important issues with not only Limbaugh, but the Fox/Faux/False News commentators as well. I am a former newspaper reporter (1977-1986) and media lawyer (1988-1995), and hold all commentators and news agencies to standards of ACCURACY FIRST. Everyone knows that the cable news networks lean in a certain direction, and there’s nothing wrong with that — so long as you are honest about your leanings and they are based on fact, not name-calling, not hate, not misinformation. Limbaugh and his hate-based ilk have done so much damage to our country, and as you so astutely say, the primary problem is the polarization of our citizens. Between him and the haters at Fox/Faux/False News — who claim to be “fair and balanced”, when they are neither — they have made certain undereducated, hateful Americans think it’s perfectly OK to be that way. It’s not. There was a day when the FCC would not allow such a steady stream of misinformation to continue on the airwaves, until Reagan then Bush the Father and Dubya appointed right-wing idealogues to the commission, which then let the right-wing hate machine have their way. What a sad commentary on all of them, perpetuating ignorance and misinformation with glee. The only consolation we have — many years later — is that most of Limbaugh’s advertisers have left the room, taking their money with them. I can only hope he goes down as ignominously as that by which he has treated others. I truly look forward to the day when I can say, “Buh-bye, Rush! Don’t let the door hit you on your hypocritcal, fat, drug-laden butt on the way out!”

  3. paxnews says:

    Prompted lustily by Joe, I thought I’d take a moment to contribute to this post about Rush.
    I will not debate whether or not people consider him or his opinions divisive, unpopular, or – as Joe puts it – polarizing. What is for me far more interesting is the apparent threat that Rush and Fox News, and much of talk radio pose to those on the Left. Their great collective anxiety reminds me in some fashion to those who ran to ban / burn books earlier in the 20th Century, whose contents did not conform to “traditional” mores.
    You’ve run a list of incendiary statements Rush has made over the last 20 years. I’m sure it’s a list which is circulated by many Rush-haters in an attempt to gin up outrage at him and his show. What about the Bill Mahers of the world, who have HBO shows and who spout much greater invective against women, conservatives, on a regular basis. The Daily Show, Colbert, The View…on and on. Countless insults, the majority of which are aimed at non-left leaning personas, institutions, or causes.
    Although I can’t speak for most Right-leaning individuals, I can say that I although I don’t agree with much of the above, my impulse is not to rid the world of it. Sure, I will avoid turning on Bill Maher most of the time, although if he’s doing his monologues, maybe I’ll stick around for a few jokes.
    But the greater take-away here is, this is all the out-production of a media that has allowed for differences in taste, persuasion, and personal choice. I may not care for David Letterman calling pols daughter’s “sluts,” but my instinct is not to ban him from the airwaves. I will simply not watch his show as often.
    I fear many left-leaning do not share this wisdom. For them, to burn /ban Fox News, Sean Hannity and Rush are the ultimate goals. It is fear, which has grown to hate. I don’t get this vibe from our side, I really don’t.

    • joeref says:

      Extremely well put! It is a line of thinking I have considered long and hard. When does the outrage become censorship? I think the country is probably better off in the long run if we limit the censorship of these sorts of shock jock entertainers, and hope that people will be smart enough to realize when they are hearing nonsense being touted as truth.

      I do think one of the major differences between Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and their ilk and Bill Maher, Colbert etc, is that the people on the right make claim to being “legitimate” purveyors of political news, fact and truthful investigation. Bill Maher, Colbert and the like are first and foremost COMEDIANS. They are SATIRISTS making light of many political situations and the people involved with them. I am a fan of Maher and he has ripped President Obama on many fronts. He has also taken a very strong anti-Islam position on many occasions…something the people on the left generally would not do. I believe there is a big difference between those who SATIRIZE and those who make pronouncements based on some alleged knowledge or facts. Your point is quite salient and it begs the question, “Who decides what is damaging to the society as a whole?” Should we allow blatant attacks against Homosexuals? What about comments about Muslims, women or the poor? I have a feeling that history shows us that as a people, the strength of the country has always been tolerance and a genuine caring for our fellow citizens by a majority of us. When that breaks down, when the polarization climate becomes extreme, we are all in for a rude awakening. We cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by divisive rhetoric. We need to maintain the attitude that, “we are all in this together, and as shown in the past, we will get through trying times and situations together…not red states or blue states…not Northeast versus Southwest, but as a unified nation. It’s TOUGH, but then so many challenges faced in the 20th Century were overcome by unified action.

      • greenpete58 says:

        I agree wholeheartedly that Rush Limbaugh and his ilk are polarizing Americans more and more with their hate-filled rhetoric intended to promote an extreme right-wing agenda (and create controversy that translates into ratings). I’m old enought to remember when there was a distinction between journalism and propaganda. Mr. Spina claims it’s the “uniformed” (sic) that bash Limbaugh and “call him names.” This vacuous defense of Limbaugh’s hate speech doesn’t even deserve a rebuttal.

        Regarding Paxnews’s statements, I don’t see any effort to censor or ban Limbaugh by the Left. “Libs” like myself bemoan the fact that extreme, intolerant rhetoric is so popular today, but we generally close our eyes and ears to this garbage. And defending Limbaugh because comedians Bill Maher, Jon Stewart et al poke fun at America’s blustery right wing is a pretty limp defense of a man who’s made a career of making despicable and hyperbolic racist and sexist comments. The fact that people continue to defend this guy – based on his and their political ideologies – doesn’t speak well for America today.

      • paxnews says:

        1. Rush does not call himself a journalist, nor has he ever referred to himself as such. He is a talk show host who entertains / alienates / spooks / inspires.

        2. If his numbers are (puportedly) down due to his “rhetoric,” as you say, then how would he be “polarizing Americans more and more” when fewer people listen to him…when ostensibly no left-leaning Liberals are listening to him.

        3. There are countless movements to shut down Rush “and his ilk.” You will find dozens of sites and facebook pages such as that are completely set against the bad Conservatives.

        4. That you give Maher, Stewart, and fellow travellers a complete pass on their own words of racism and sexism pretty much tells us how in denial you truly are.

        5. If America is truly as fed up with Rush as you seem to be (although methinks you’ve never listened) then Limbaugh will follow his way to dusty death, much like the once highly-revered Air America.

  4. joeref says:

    You’re right Rush doesn’t call himself anything. His followers, and many in the Republican party have called him, “the voice of the Republican Party”. His comments during the last presidential election actually had a great deal to do with their eventual platform. He may not call himself any particular title, but there is very little doubt that he is a spokesman for the far far far right. Whether that is a good or bad thing I guess each individual gets to decide. I didn’t say his numbers were down…all the research I did on the internet says his numbers are down, and judging by the massive loss of ad dollars he experienced the past 18 months I think it’s safe to say many “reasonable” people find his “entertainment” to be quite objectionable. I think Rush Limbaugh is an ass who has no more credibility than I do…but I would defend his right to be an ass. This is after all a free society and free speech, even hate filled diatribes are protected by law. Maher, Stewart and those in that camp are first and foremost comedians. If you can’t see the difference between their satire and Limbaugh’s ugly attacks I guess you need to look closer. Calling Sarah Palin (an adult who ran for high office with no obvious qualifications) an idiot, and pointing out her obvious lack of intelligence and is quite a ways from referring to President Clinton’s 13 year old daughter as “a dog”. How does a bloated, crude, drug addicted radio personality of questionable talent berate an innocent 13 year old girl? He certainly has a pair.It’s laughable. I guess he doesn’t own a mirror.

    I defy you to point out one serious racist comment made by either Maher or Stewart. Just one will do.It’s true they have blasted Tea Party simpletons who have run for office but the comedic effects have been undeniable. There are lots of angry disgruntled people who look to create scapegoats for the emptiness of their own lives. I admit am a fan of Maher and he has gone on some loud rants, but I can never remember hearing him stoop to the sort of racial nastiness practiced by Limbaugh.

    Lastly I have listened to Rush on several occasions over the last several years. I have found him to be almost embarrassingly angry at women, people of color and just about anyone who doesn’t agree with his own peculiar view of things…anyone who might have a progressive view of the world. I get the sense that he regards himself as the spokesman for a movement that is bent on returning to some mythical era in American history when white men were the rulers of some perfect world that never existed. You can Hannity and Beck to this group of elitists. I think that Limbaugh will eventually fade away as a new generation of enlightened people take their place in the world. There will always be a small minority of haters but even the people in places like Mississippi eventually began to realize that the Civil War had ended. Even a black man was elected President. I remember Limbaugh’s comments that he would do everything in his power to see to it that Obama failed as President. Are Americans fed up with Rush? Yes I do believe that the vast majority of rational thinking people found that comment to be offensive, unpatriotic and just plain wrong. Fed up? Probably a goodly munber are just that.

    • paxnews says:

      That’s beautiful.

      I like that little switch you did…’s fiiiine if a comedian besmirches a conservative, because that’s…well, just comedy….it’s funny…like NPR funny….click and clack!!!! Titter titter! Yet, when any conservative returns the compliment, it’s…. RACIST SEXIST HOMOPHOBIC HATE SPEECH.

      That you don’t see the hypocrisy tells me you’re a bit sheltered from reality when it comes to contemporary discourse. It’s that willful blindness I too often see accompanying smug, self-satisfied earnest modern Leftists.

      Here are some of the highlights we get to hear “enlightened liberal entertainers” spew…alllll in the name of….comedy!

      I’ve got about 200 more examples on “funny funny!” spoofs on Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and other conservative women, but I will save Joe’s blog the horror show.

      Letterman calls Palin SLUT

      Letterman on Palin Daughter

      Sandra Bernhard on Palin RAPE

      Kathy Griffin on Scott Brown’s PROSTITUTE daughters…

      • joeref says:

        Ahhhh controversy. A wonderful and
        truly necessary ingredient on a blog.
        I’m just like Rush. A capitalist pig inflaming
        people’s emotions in pursuit of $$$$.
        Lol. I’m sitting at the ocean trying to reply from
        my IPhone. Ill think about a real reply when
        I’m sitting at my laptop. Dealing with spellcheck
        on such a beautiful day is not something
        I want to do!

        Sent from my Eye Phone

      • joeref says:

        I don’t condone ANYONE making rascist or violent or sexist remarks about anyone. Do I think people on the left sometimes cross the line? Yes I do. Do I give the same weight to comments made by Letterman, Maher and Stewart as I do to the repeatedly incendiary remarks made by Rush Limbuagh? No.I don’t. Kathy Griffin and Sandra Bernhart don’t even belong in this conversation. What audience do they have? Does anyone take their nonsense serioiusly? I certainly don’t. I’d put their ridiculous rants right up next to Glenn Beck. Limbaugh may not call himself anything but he is expert at whipping up an angry following of disgruntled Americans. He preys on anger. He finds convenient scapegoats. I stand by my comments…he is the KING OF POLARIZATION. HE makes no attempt to bring people together. HE is hell bent on dividing the county into nice neat little groups that he can then use to stoke the flames and fill his wallet. I for one don’t think he believes a word he says about anything. He is serious, or taken seriously by most observers.

        You mention Sarah Palin. This person is the poster child for everything that is wrong in this society. A woman with no apparent qualifications or ability rises to a nomination for Vice President? A person who espouses FAMILY VALUES and makes it plain, in her opinion, that the trouble in this country is caused by a lack of said values. Before one throws stones one should do some self evaluation. Her own family as evidenced by her own daughter has certainly not lived up to the ideals she insists the rest of us must live by. Nevertheless she is an adult in the political arena, and open to satire by comedians. Maybe I’m cutting Letterman, Stewart et al too much slack but the tone of their satire doesn’t rise to the level of vitriol I have heard coming from Rush Limbaugh. I mean really…are we comparing Letterman’s humor to comments made by Rush Limbaugh? Really?

  5. paxnews says:

    More rationalizations, qualifications, justifications, and obfuscations. Really weak…this is the best you could do?

  6. joeref says:

    You’re a hard man Mr. Pax. And of course YOUR words of wisdom contain no rationalizations, qualifications, justifications, and obfuscations? I watched the Letterman segment live, when it happened , and if you are really telling me that this rates with Limbaugh’s comments than I’m telling you you need to adjust your filter. Tell me more about my rationalizations, qualifications, justifications, and obfuscations when Rush Limbaugh goes on the air and apologizes for ANYTHING he has ever said.

    • paxnews says:

      Off the top of my head:

      – Limbaugh apologized about his comments regarding Sandra Fluke – the law student who wanted others to pay for her birth control – which she rejected as “dubious and inadequate.”
      – Limbaugh apologized about comments he made about Michael J. Fox.

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