The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Monday, December 29, 2003

RUSHING TO RATIONALIZE
Beyond catching the regular news bites, I haven't spent much time thinking about Rush Limbaugh's drug-related legal woes. The only mention I've made of Rush at all on this blog was when his stint on ESPN came to an untimely end (just as news of his pill-popping was breaking--which may or may not have been a coincidence).

But when I get wind of the conspiracy theories that Limbaugh is weaving as a defense against the investigation on him, my first thought is: What would his public reaction be if these actions were being taken on one of the random "actors and actresses and sports figures" he references? Would he sympathize, or would he denounce? Given his track record, I'll give you only one guess.

Ultimately, I have to say I have practically no sympathy for Limbaugh over what he's going through, precisely because it's pretty obvious what his opinion on this issue would be if it were happening to almost anyone but him. Whipping out the crackpot vendetta theories only make the whole thing more laughable than it already was, and only serves to contradict what he's advocated during his whole broadcasting career. Not to mention that he's risking his long-term credibility in exchange for short-term self-preservation.

Actually, I'd like to think that a consequence of this would be long-term damage to his credibility. But I'm all too aware that most people on either side of the love-hate line on Limbaugh have already made up their minds, and so any resolution short of jail time won't make a bit of difference in how he's perceived. His dittoheads will continue to back him, and his critics will continue to pan him. As usual, even in the face of pretty clear evidence, people will believe only what they want to believe. It seems to be endemic in the relationship between media consumer and media provider, especially so when it comes to talk radio of any format (news, opinion, sports, etc.).

Limbaugh will get his day in court, and the issue will be resolved. But as the story unfolds so far, it's reflecting rather poorly on Limbaugh both professionally and personally.