Archives: Rush Limbaugh is politically irrelevant

Originally published in March 2012
Simon Nguyen

COMMENTARY | While Rush Limbaugh’s deplorable sexist attack on Sandra Fluke should be condemned in the highest order, the amount of attention the media and GOP presidential candidates paid to this man is equally outrageous.

Limbaugh is nothing more than an attention-seeking radio talk show host, in the same style of Howard Stern. The media is treating him as though he is the torch bearer of the Republican Party and conservatism, which he is not.

Limbaugh’s radio show likes to boast that it regularly draws tens of millions of listeners. This claim, however, has been disputed by Cenk Uygur from The Young Turks. Even if we take the audience numbers at face value, how much political influence Limbaugh actually has on his listeners is a big question mark.

Case in point, recipients of Limbaugh’s political endorsement have not fared too well in elections. In 2008, the talk show host endorsed Mitt Romney over John McCain for the Republican presidential nomination. Despite being the early front-runner, Romney ended up in third place behind McCain and Mike Huckabee.

One could make a case that Limbaugh has a lot less political clout than other conservative commentators such as fellow radio host Glenn Beck, who attracted an estimated 87000 people to his Washington D.C. rally, and Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly whose show regularly tops cable news in ratings. Other than attacking Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Ms. Fluke, what notable achievement has Limbaugh accomplished?

The good news with regards to the media’s excessive coverage of his sexist rant is that we may finally be spared of more Limbaugh’s controversies in the foreseeable future. Advertisers are leaving his radio show in droves, with AOL being the most notable.

The bad news is that the media will find someone else from the radio or TV sphere to replace Limbaugh as “the face” of the conservative movement. These political entertainers are being given relevance they do not deserve.

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