Unassailability: Meta Analysis

Did Rush Limbaugh really tell his caller, “Tony from Tampa,” to not watch FOX? No, he told his caller not to watch a particular panel of “liberals” on FOX Business Channel. As Mr. Limbaugh was very quick to point out: “I did not tell anybody to stop watching Fox. I said stop listening to these people that make you so mad. What else am I going to say? … I will be on Fox again, I will be urging people to watch Fox, Fox is the most watched news network in the country … Fox and I are on the same team.”

Remarkable, isn’t it?

There is a hint of dissonance in the echo chamber and even one of its big, unassailable, uncriticizable actors is quick to sound the note returning the entire orchestra back into harmony. The machine proves itself self-correcting, as to even its principal players.

Note also that Limbaugh’s advice to “Tony from Tampa” is to turn off messages that he finds displeasing: “They’re designed to make you question your sanity. You’re gonna watch these people, you’re gonna say, ‘How in the world can we have such idiotic people?’ and you’re gonna think maybe they’re not and you’re crazy.” If a fact or an opinion generates displeasure, the appropriate response is to silence yourself from it. Not to engage it, not to learn more about it and determine if it is right or wrong. Not to challenge it. Just turn it off. Better to hear nothing than to hear something that makes you angry or worse, that might make you question your existing opinions.

But perhaps the most interesting thing is how Limbaugh explains why no, no, FOX is a good thing and those mean ol’ liberals at POLITICO have twisted his words: he endorses FOX (so it must therefore be good), lots of people watch it (so it must therefore be good), and that last bit — Limbaugh and FOX are “on the same team.” What team is that, exactly? Last I checked, Limbaugh has his own company, which is independent of FOX. Is this a “team” of companies operating for mutual profit? For a political agenda? Yes, those two can dovetail, but they are different goals. And while Limbaugh’s media enterprise and FOX’s might each benefit from the other’s existence, they are different enterprises.

Personally I find these remarks indicative of a truth our man Tod Kelly has articulated here — the contemporary conservative political movement appears to be driven by and for the benefit of the conservative media, not the other way around. It lacks foci for political leadership and thus accepts right-wing media leadership in its place. And that “leadership” appears to be locked on autopilot and no one appears to have the ability to alter its course.

Via memeorandum.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. Ari Fleischer tweeted this today:

    What kind of POTUS says his fav food is Broccoli? Same one who in 2008 complained about the price of arugula at Whole Foods”


    Now this gives some credence to what Rush says. I don’t listen to the other side that much except when Andrew Sullivan feels the need to insult the Democratic Party to keep that Thatcher love alive. Unless you include reading conservatives on the League of course. The GOP has become a constant kulturkamph of junior high-school level mockery of anyone who is different than them. They act like nothing more than surly and perpetual class clown, adolescents with a substitute teacher.

    What should have Obama said to a bunch of kids? Steak? Candy? Etc?

    It seems like we are entering an age when everything is going to be about signalling and culture war.

    • Fleischer thinks Obama should have told the truth and said “Fried chicken and ribs.”

      • Can you point to other evidence of Fleischer egging on racist Obama commentary?

        This tweet seems more aimed at the general Republican snide comments against upper-middle class liberals and their tastes than anything else.

  2. Why would anyone care what the idiots on Fox News, Rush, or any other media channel say?

  3. I know that you are using the term “FOX” to mean the Fox News Channel, but you really should use FNC. FOX usually refers to the Fox Broadcasting Network, home of The Simpsons, et al.

      • For those who think that Rupert Murdoch is orchestrating a grand conspiracy, I don’t think that FOX has any sort of conserative bias; in fact The Simpsons has made fun of both FNC and Murdoch himself. Murdoch is a pragmatist, and he knows that giving an entertainment channel a conservative bent would be disasterous for the ratings. As for the WSJ, that was conservative long before he ever bought it. He drove the New York Post to the right, but that was to try to counter other newspapers.

        Murdoch doesn’t care about red or blue; he cares about green. Roger Ailes, on the other hand…

        • What is the old joke?

          A Capitalist will sell you the rope that you use to hang him…..

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