09/11/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Limbaugh Yells "Nazi" (And The Press Yawns)

Despite the fact that Limbaugh has not apologized for his comments and is continuing to compare the Obama White House and the Democratic Party with Nazis, many in the media don't consider it newsworthy and haven't condemned it. And more important, journalists don't show any signs of believing that the episode tells us anything about the radically unhinged nature of the right-wing media in this country today. That story's just a non-starter. Period.

It's just Rush being Rush, right?

If I could play assignment editor for a moment here: The political story of the year continues to be the unhinged radical-right response to Obama's inauguration and the naked attempt to dehumanize and delegitimize him through a nonstop smear campaign sponsored by the GOP Noise Machine. The misguided movement breaks all kinds of taboos in American politics, as well as in the press, and is redefining our political culture -- for the worse. Yet the press continues to play dumb.

So spooked are journalists by decades' worth of "liberal media bias" attacks that they refuse to connect the glaringly obvious dots on display. They refuse to drill down into the rancid undercurrent that's behind the Obama-is-a-Nazi dementia, the town hall mini-mobs that are wreaking havoc across the country, and the bizarre birther conspiracy theory. The three right-wing phenomena are all related, and they all revolve around a runaway hatred of Obama (as well as the federal government), and they're all being fueled by the Noise Machine, especially Fox News and Limbaugh, both of which no longer recognize common decency, let alone journalistic standards.

Yet instead of putting Limbaugh on the receiving end of well-deserved scrutiny and scorn for his outlandish Nazi rhetoric, rather than turning his comments into a political firestorm, the press plays dumb and actually goes out of its way to legitimize the worst offenders of the GOP's hate brigade.

Read the full Media Matters column here.