Monday, March 1

Rush Limbaugh, incendiary conservative radio mentor, dies | International

The first Melania Trump hangs the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Rush Limbaugh at Donald Trump's State of the Union address in February 2020.
The first Melania Trump hangs the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Rush Limbaugh at Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in February 2020.TOM BRENNER / Reuters

Rush Limbaugh, the number one radio presenter in the United States, a key figure in the radicalization of conservatism in the country, died on Wednesday at the age of 70 from lung cancer. With the cunning of a political animal and the insolence of an extremist, he spoke weekly to more than 15 million Americans on his show. The Rush Limbaugh Show since 1988. Spiritual son of Ronald Reagan and personal friend of Donald Trump, the figure of Limbaugh is considered the reference of conservative radio. To those who listened in amazement to his cruel offenses and conspiracy theories, he was the most dangerous man in America.

At 16 he hosted his first local radio show in his tiny hometown, Cape Girardeau (Missouri). Pressured by his parents, he entered university, but dropped out in the second semester. He tried his hand at various stations in the country until in 1988 he settled in New York. The Reagan Administration had just eliminated a rule that required radio shows to present opposing views on a topic under discussion. This change allowed Limbaugh to steer his opinions without restraint until he broke the barriers of decency. An example is the section he named AIDS Update, in which he made fun of people dying of AIDS while playing the Dionne Warwick song I will never love this way again. Then he deleted it and apologized.

Her inflammatory rhetoric against feminists – she is given the term feminazi-, African Americans, Muslims, homosexuals, among others, led him to build an empire in the world of communications and entertainment. His listeners called themselves Dittoheads, whose free translation would be someone who agrees with an idea expressed by a person they do not question. That person was Limbaugh, who in 2015 said that it was a myth that cigarette smoke was harmful to health, who during the 2017 hurricane season ensured that the alerts from scientists responded to a kind of hidden climate agenda and that in December alleged that Joe Biden had won the election unfairly. “We are not going to be docile as we have been in the past and we are going to go and wait until the next elections,” he said.

The presenter had a particular style. Unaccompanied and unscripted, he would rant for three hours straight. On more than one occasion, his insults caused him problems. One of the most serious occurred in 2012, when he called Sandra Fluke a university student a “prostitute” and a “whore” for supporting the inclusion of free access to contraceptives in Barack Obama’s health plan. “Miss Fluke and the rest of the ‘feminazis’, this is the deal. If we are going to have to pay for your contraceptives, and therefore pay so that you can have sex, we want something in return. I’ll tell you what. We want you to put the sexual videos online so that we can all see them ”, said the announcer in his program broadcast by more than 600 stations to his Dittoheads.

Limbaugh told his audience last February that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. His characteristic energetic and hasty voice sounded slow and uncomfortable. The day after the news, then-President Trump presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in his last State of the Union address, the highest civilian honor that can be received in the United States. The Republicans applauded euphorically. The Democrats did not give credit. There were some who left the hall of the House of Representatives.

Limbaugh’s passing prompted Trump to give his first interview since leaving the White House on January 20. The Republican contacted the chain by phone Fox News to praise his friend, whom he described as “a guiding light with the ability to see the truth.” He did not miss the opportunity to insist on his unfounded theory that he won the election. “Rush believed that we had won, and I also believe that we won substantially,” said the former president from his home in Mar a Lago (Florida).

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