Much thanks and admiration to reader and commenter Steve Witherspoon, who created the Jack Kaboom! GIF above from my “Simpson’s” self-portrait. I promise not to over-use it, though the temptation will be great.
1. Some more thoughts on Rush Limbaugh...A. Upon reflection, I have been persuaded by readers Humble Talent and others that I was too dismissive of Limbaugh’s calculated cruelty. In particular, his infamous mocking of Chelsea Clinton’s appearance was signature significance, and the product of pure anti-Clinton hate. People with functioning ethics alarms don’t do that, not even once.
He was still a transformative figure, and on balance a positive one, except for those who think the United States would be better off having all of its news and commentary filtered through progressive biases, and for the public to be unaware of that was happening. Rush fixed the second problem, and reduced the power of mainstream media. The first problem’s solution is a work in progress. B. Another example of Rush’s “cruelty,” cited often yesterday, was his mockery of Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s Disease spasms and tics while he testified before Congress in support of research for the disease. He was roundly condemned for implying that Fox exaggerated the symptoms of the disease for dramatic effect. Fox, however, eventually explained that he hadn’t taken his medication before testifying. The symptoms weren’t faked, he said, but the extreme exhibition of them were deliberate, for obvious reasons. Rush was correct. It was just considered politically incorrect to call attention to Fox’s (reasonable and smart) tactic. B. I just saw yesterday’s print version of the Times. I’s headline on Rush: “Agitator Who Made Talk Radio A Right-Wing Attack Machine.” No, mainstream media coverage was not “mostly positive.” The first sentence: “Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio megastar whose slashing, divisive style of mockery and grievance reshaped American conservatism, denigrating Democrats, environmentalists, “feminazis” (his term) and other liberals while presaging the rise of Donald J. Trump, died on Wednesday at his home in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 70.”
C. Ah yes, “feminazis.” They’ll never forgive him for that. It was catchier than “feminist fascists,” which was and is a real group, and an influential one. It is also a group, like the Nazis, that has targeted a group of human beings that they think should be exterminated without justice or compassion. The Left will never forgive Limbaugh for that label, because it rings true, and it burns. And should.
2. I hate memes for the same reason I dislike political cartoons—they reduce complex issues to cheap shots and generalities that lazy thinkers accept as persuasive advocacy. But as the Ethics Incompleteness Principle points out, there are exceptions. This is one:
I disagree with noted Twitter Troll Chong in one respect: it’s not funny. It’s tragic. These are the people who voters, in their ignorance, put in power.
3. Oh, NOW a blatant conflict of interest matters! CNN is so absurdly unethical and such a disgrace to journalism (or what it pretends to be) that it…well, look at the GIF above. KABOOM.
Ethics Alarms called out the network for allowing Andrew Cuomo’s engaging idiot younger brother to interview him years ago. It was a breach of ethics, and CNN knew it was a breach of ethics. Both Cuomos knew it was a conflict of interest too. None of them cared. It was cute. Viewers liked it. But now, with a serious scandal ensnaring the New York Governor, CNN announced that it has reinstated a “rule” that prevents Chris Cuomo from “interviewing or covering his brother.”
This needs to be in the dictionary of phrases to describe “too little, too late.” Last year, Chris Cuomo, aka “Fredo,” repeatedly interviewed Andrew about the pandemic, slobbering all over the governor with praise for his leadership. In October, Chris got into an argument on air with Sen. Ted Cruz over Andrew’s deadly decision to bar nursing homes from turning away Wuhan virus patients. Of course, no bias was involved, just Chris doing his job.
The Cuomo administration’s disastrous policy of infecting nursing homes, the admitted cover-up of nursing home death numbers, and Cuomo’s dismissive excuses, have not yet been discussed on Chris’ hour-long show. Gee, I wonder why that would be? On last week’s “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper, temporarily being a non-partisan journalist, said,
“So Gov. Cuomo, who has declined to appear on this show despite dozens of requests over the past year, including this past week, made a bad decision that may have cost lives…And then his administration hid that data from the public.”
That’s about right. But ask Chris what he thinks, Jake: I’m sure he’ll explain that his Bro did the right thing.
4. Fortunately, we have a competent and ethical journalistic icon in the New York Ti…wait, WHAT? In the print obituary for Limbaugh, the New York Times implied that “Mr. Snerdly,”his unseen and unheard screener whom the host frequently referred to and spoke to during Broadcasts, didn’t exist;
Unlike Howard Stern, Don Imus and other big names in shock radio, Mr. Limbaugh had no on-the-air sidekicks, though he had conversations with the unheard voice of someone he called “Bo Snerdly.” Nor did he have writers, scripts or outlines, just notes and clippings from newspapers he perused daily. Alone with his multitudes in his studio, he joked, ranted, twitted and burst into song, mimicry or boo-hoos…
But he was not alone! Bo Snerdly was there (for 20 years). He wasn’t just someone, he was Limbaugh’s screener, producer, and engineer. His real name is James Golden, and the Times easily could have checked: Wikipedia states that Golden, aka Bo Snerdley, “has been a Producer/Executive for Premiere Networks, the largest radio syndication company in the United States” since 2001.
Golden is also black.
That might have interested and informed readers, but the media narrative is that Rush was a racist.