"Are you seeing all these disgusting things people are saying about Rush?" That was the text I got from a friend a few hours after news broke that the venerable King of Talk Radio had passed from this life to the next.
I responded, "Nope, staying away from it altogether."
And I did. I don't need to be reminded of the awful depths of human depravity, our impulse to hate one another, the lack of compassion we so often exhibit towards those we consider our enemies. Of course, that's self-evident every day, but seeing your fellow countrymen gleefully dance on the fresh grave of another is just doubly depressing.
Besides, my friend was pointing me towards the comments of faceless accounts trending on Twitter. When dredging the bottom of a toilet bowl, one has to expect encountering unpleasant things, and I wasn't in the mood for it.
But I admit to being particularly curious to see how our sophisticated media types would respond to the announcement. I remember at the time of Rush's advanced-stage lung cancer diagnosis that Brian Stelter of CNN expressed frustration at the legions of partisan left-wingers who rejoiced at the tragic news. Stelter vocally criticized the "strain of contempt" on the left that led to such hate and vitriol.
What amazed me about that was that Stelter's literal job is that of "chief media correspondent" for the cable news organization. In other words, his entire professional purpose is to watch, analyze, and cover the media.
Which means if anyone should have known what informed and fueled those angry, hate-filled voices wishing for Limbaugh to die a painful death, it was Stelter. If anyone should have understood the media's persistent narrative of Rush Limbaugh as a dangerous provocateur whose caveman beliefs "literally got people killed," it was Stelter.
The media's coverage of Limbaugh was far more responsible for the political left's prevailing hatred of the man than anything he said or did himself. Media's intentional and repeated distortion of Rush's words, his idea's, his showmanship and calculated bombast, led countless thousands of people who never read his work or listened to one of his shows to think he was the devil incarnate.
And almost as though they felt obligated to prove that point, just pay attention to the galling side-by-side comparison of the way they covered the news of Limbaugh's death versus that of notorious, anti-American terrorists. You know, the people who are actually "getting people killed."
The weird irony of this nonsense is that if Rush were still alive, he would take it as validation of why his mission was so important. If it wasn't daily, it was at least weekly that Limbaugh would remind his millions of listeners that what the mainstream media said of him, is precisely what the media thinks of them.
Rush saw himself as merely the figurehead, or the lightning rod, for a movement of people that the "left-wing attack machine" in mainstream American journalism looked down upon and despised as "less than."
When they had fewer positive things to say about him in death than they did about a terrorist mastermind like Soleimani, it's embarrassingly futile to argue the point. One last time, it seems, Rush nailed the "drive-bys" simply by luring them into revealing who they really are – no one a conservative should ever trust.