by Conor Friedersdorf
When Peter Schweitzer said he didn't have any sympathy for journalists being attacked in Egypt I reacted angrily. Little did I know that other pundits would discredit themselves with statements even more vile.
Rush Limbaugh is one of them:
It is being breathlessly reported that the Egyptian army is rounding up foreign journalists. I mean even two New York Times reporters were detained. Now this is supposed to make us feel what exactly? Are we supposed to feel outrage? I don’t feel any outrage over it. Are we supposed to feel anger? I don’t feel any anger over this. Do we feel happy? Well – do we feel kinda going like nyah nyah nyah! [Only later when Fox News reporters were beatendid he point out he was only kidding.]
When he says stuff like this, I wonder what his partners in the conservative movement think. After all, National Review describes as "a friend and benefactor," he has a partnership with The Heritage Foundation, Human Events named him Man of the Year in 2007, he once received The Claremont Institute's Statesmanship Award, he's invited to give speeches at places like Hillsdale College, and he was celebrated last year at CPAC.
Under normal circumstances, the leaders of these organizations look down on people like Rush Limbaugh – people who mock American reporters when they're targeted by authoritarian thugs, people who regularly make frivolous accusations of racism, people who deliberately excacerbate the racial anxieties of Americans, people who mean-spiritedly mock the language of foreign visitors, people who used the Tuscon shooting to attack ideological adversaries, people who joke about speaking "a little Negro dialect," people who try to score points by mocking a man for having Parkinsons… this list could easily go on for paragraphs. But Rush Limbaugh has a large audience. Very high ratings indeed! So the wrongheadedness of his rhetoric doesn't matter. It's like in professional sports where an athlete performs exceptionally well and all else is forgiven. The conservative movement and its institutions are the fawning fanboys. Their moral compass goes haywire whenever the talk radio host comes up. If you asked, they'd tell you very earnestly that the ends don't justify the means, as a general proposition. But celebrating Rush Limbaugh? How quickly they abandon that philosophy.
Anyway, the account of the New York Times reporters that Limbaugh mocked is here.