My own answer to that question is: "Limbaugh is in fact an outrageous person who stretches the truth or dare I say lies when "in one of his attack modes." He is a "successful" Ann Coulter whose métier is purposefully outrageous, yet both show a lack of affinity for the truth. Both are performers, who say whatever is necessary to attract media coverage, and increase their own value in the marketplace of performers.
In the movie My Favorite Year (1982) Peter O'toole playing a washed up alcoholic movie star Alan Swann says: "Damn you! I'm not an actor, I'm a movie star!" Limbaugh is only a "radio star" and no more. Another great but totally irrelevant quote from the movie is: "... Jews know two things: suffering and where to find great Chinese food."
Sadly neither Coulter nor Limbaugh are among my favorite actors. Yes Limbaugh is an actor, playing before an audience of radio listeners who are sold to advertisers. Is his "unelected" opinion any more valid than Alex Rodriguez, Jerry Seinfeld or Peyton Manning? I think not. Both have sadly achieved notoriety by being controversial and outrageous and that is very sad for me as I expect more from the American media marketplace. Unfortunately there is a reward today for the "media rabble rouser Limbaugh."
If millions watch you on television or in the movies, or listen to you on the radio, does that in some way validate you or your opinion? Sadly in the many years since the emergence of "the electronic mass media" the answer to the question appears to be a resounding "yes." I think not. But that is just my opinion.
Limbaugh is to me just famous for being famous. He is someone who has achieved celebrity not because he has ever done anything but because he is a popular radio "performer." Famous for being famous is a pejorative, and I suggest that Rush Limbaugh has no particular discernable talents or abilities other than his acting talent and his ability to attract a large audience on the radio.
I often use quotes from movies that I like even when they are only slightly relevant. The following quote from the movie Network is relevant and allows me to equate Rush Limbaugh with Howard Beale.
Ned Beatty as Arthur Jensen: Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy...We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that ... perfect world... in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.
Howard Beale: Why me?
Arthur Jensen: Because you're on television, dummy. Sixty million people watch you every night of the week, Monday through Friday.
Howard Beale: I have seen the face of God.
Arthur Jensen: You just might be right, Mr. Beale.
One could modify that speech to be given by the Republican Right encouraging Limbaugh by saying: "Because you're on radio, dummy. Millions of people listen to you every day of the week, Monday through Friday, and you are their hero."
If I were a prominent Democrat or anyone who controlled a mass media outlet I would simply ignore Limbaugh, and by so doing diminish his desire to search for higher ratings along with more power. Without creating controversy Limbaugh would wither on the vine.
In my opinion one judges people by what they have done, and not just by the words that they have spoken, other than writers and such. WE ALL KNOW WHAT LIMBAUGH HAS SAID BUT WHAT HAS LIMBAUGH EVER DONE?
Rush Limbaugh along with Ann Coulter together represents the worst of a not very good mass media. They are only the "critics" of the system who ultimately believe that they themselves are the message. They are NOTHING, and should be treated as such.
Limbaugh having the temerity, the gall, as well as the chutzpah to suggest that the ELECTED President of the United States debate HIM could give you an indication of his incredibly overblown sense of self importance. If his ideological opponents ignored him he would fade away as happens to many other older actors.
Shame on him, shame on him!
Bring back Howard Beale!