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Broadcaster Rush Limbaugh (1951-2021)


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https://www.foxnews.com/media/rush-limbaugh-dead-talk-radio-conservative-icon

Rush Limbaugh, conservative talk radio pioneer, dead at 70

Limbaugh's death, following Stage IV lung cancer diagnosis, announced by family

Rush Limbaugh, the monumentally influential media icon who transformed talk radio and politics in his decades behind the microphone, helping shape the modern-day Republican Party, died Wednesday morning at the age of 70 after a battle with lung cancer, his family announced.

Limbaugh's wife, Kathryn, made the announcement on his radio show. "Losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life," she said. "Rush will forever be the greatest of all time."

The radio icon learned he had Stage IV lung cancer in January 2020 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump at the State of the Union address days later. First lady Melania Trump then presented America’s highest civilian honor to Limbaugh in an emotional moment on the heels of his devastating cancer diagnosis.

"Rush Limbaugh: Thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country," President Trump said during the address.

Limbaugh is considered one of the most influential media figures in American history and has played a consequential role in conservative politics since "The Rush Limbaugh Show" began in 1988. Perched behind his Golden EIB (Excellence in Broadcasting) Microphone, Limbaugh spent over three decades as arguably both the most beloved and polarizing person in American media.

The program that began 33 years ago on national syndication with only 56 radio stations grew to be the most listened-to radio show in the United States, airing on more than 600 stations, according to the show’s website. Up to 27 million people tuned in on a weekly basis and Limbaugh has lovingly referred to his passionate fan base as "Dittoheads," as they would often say "ditto" when agreeing with the iconic radio host.

In his final radio broadcast of 2020, Limbaugh thanked his listeners and supporters, revealing at the time that he had outlived his prognosis.

"I wasn't expected to be alive today," he said. "I wasn't expected to make it to October, and then to November, and then to December. And yet, here I am, and today, got some problems, but I'm feeling pretty good today."

Limbaugh helped boost Trump’s influence prior to the 2016 election simply by taking him seriously as a candidate when other established conservatives didn’t want the former reality television star anywhere near the Republican Party. Many of Limbaugh’s listeners eventually became Trump supporters and the radio legend continued to defend Trump throughout his presidency despite occasional disagreements.

In the heat of the 2020 presidential election, Limbaugh hosted Trump in October for what was an unprecedented two-hour "radio rally", during which the president was virtually given control of the coveted golden microphone to answer questions from the host and his listeners.

Limbaugh, born in Cape Girardeau, Mo., on Jan. 12, 1951, began his radio career in 1967 as a "helper" when he was only 16 years old. He eventually graduated to disk jockey and worked at a small station roughly 100 miles south of St. Louis while attending high school.

"I was totally consumed," Limbaugh told the New York Times in 1990, noting that his idol was a Chicago radio host named Larry Lujack. By 1971, Limbaugh was a morning radio host in Pittsburgh, where he was oddly told to cover a certain amount of "farm news" because the area was surrounded by many agriculture communities. In 2007 he explained to listeners how the young radio host managed to keep listeners despite the bizarre requirement.

"The last thing that the audience of my show cares about is farm news. If farm news came on, bam! They pushed the button and go somewhere else. So, we had to figure out, ‘Okay, how do we do this and protect the license?’ So I turned the farm news every day into a funny bit with farm sound effects and the roosters crowing and so forth, and I’d make fun of the stockyard feed prices or whatever it was, so that we could say, ‘We’re doing barn news,’ agriculture news. There was all kinds of things like that," Limbaugh told listeners.

The tidbit offered a glimpse into Limbaugh’s early days, proving that he was a master of keeping audiences engaged from a young age. Limbaugh has said he realized America was the "greatest country ever" when taking trips to Europe and Asia in his late 20s and early 30s, an experience that helped shape his political views.

"I’m aware that the United States is young compared to countries in Europe and Asia that have been around for hundreds of years. They’re thousand-year-old civilizations," he told listeners in 2013. "So, I go to Europe and say, ‘Wait a minute. Why is this bedroom so damned old-fashioned and doesn’t work? What the hell is this? They call this a toilet?’ So I started asking myself, ‘How is it that we, who have only been around 200 years, are light-years ahead of people that have been alive a thousand?’ So, I started thinking this. It was a matter of genuine curiosity to me, and not from a braggadocios standpoint."

Limbaugh continued the trip down memory lane: "I was literally interested in how that happened, and then I started to think about all the other things that we led the world in: Manufacturing, technology, innovation, invention, creation, and it all led back to liberty and freedom and the pursuit of happiness and dreams coming true and working hard for whatever you want and being able to do what you love, not just have to dream about it."

From that point forward, Limbaugh believed that "American exceptionalism" shouldn’t be frowned upon, and his conservative views became more prominent.

"We stood for the concepts that are in our Declaration of Independence: Right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. We stood for that, and we were the beacon for it, and to this day that is why the oppressed of the world still seek to come into this country," he said.

Limbaugh also credited National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. for teaching him how to articulate conservative views.

"He single-handedly is responsible for my learning to form and frame my beliefs and express them verbally in a concise and understandable way," Limbaugh once said.

In 1987, the Federal Communications Commission repealed the Fairness Doctrine, a policy that had been in place since 1949 and mandated that both sides of controversial political issues receive equal time on radio programs. The decision by the FCC paved the way for Limbaugh to broadcast his conservative views without fear of being punished by the government, quickly leading to the now-prominent talk radio format that he pioneered.

After local radio gigs in Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Sacramento, Limbaugh landed at WABC in New York shortly after the Fairness Doctrine was repealed. It was there that he changed talk radio forever when "The Rush Limbaugh Show" became a cultural phenomenon for both the message and the way it was delivered.

"Unlike most radio talkers, who affect a casual, intimate style, Limbaugh sounds like he's on a soapbox. He is intoxicated by words, especially those flowing from his own lips. His vocabulary is extensive; his diction tends to the grandiosely formal, though overblown to the point of self-parody. His nervous energy plays out through hands that never stop moving. They rattle the papers, slap the desk, punch the console. Whap! Whap! Whump! This muted percussion is often heard on the air, a rhythmic accompaniment to Limbaugh's voice," author Lewis Grossberger wrote in New York Times Magazine in 1990.

At one point after early struggles to find success in the radio business, Limbaugh temporarily left the industry and worked for the Kansas City Royals baseball team. Lucky for conservatives and "Dittoheads," he eventually returned to radio.

"Thanks for all you’re doing to promote Republican and conservative principles. Now that I’ve retired from active politics, I don’t mind that you have become the Number One voice for conservatism in our country," President Ronald Reagan once wrote in a letter to Limbaughthat was published by National Review in 2003.

"I know the liberals call you ‘the most dangerous man in America,’ but don’t worry about it, they used to say the same thing about me. Keep up the good work. America needs to hear the way things ought to be," Reagan continued.

Limbaugh was eventually enshrined in the Radio Hall of Fame and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He was a five-time winner of the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award for "Excellence in Syndicated and Network Broadcasting," a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author and was named one of Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People in 2008 and one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2009.

While Limbaugh made his career on radio, a speech he delivered at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2009 is widely considered one of the most important moments of his career -- an explanation of "who conservatives are" that caused the crowd to erupt with chants of "USA! USA!"

"We love people. When we look out over the United States of America, when we are anywhere, when we see a group of people, such as this or anywhere, we see Americans. We see human beings. We don't see groups. We don't see victims. We don't see people we want to exploit. What we see -- what we see is potential. We do not look out across the country and see the average American, the person that makes this country work. We do not see that person with contempt. We don't think that person doesn't have what it takes. We believe that person can be the best he or she wants to be if certain things are just removed from their path like onerous taxes, regulations and too much government," Limbaugh told the crowd.

"We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence," he continued. "We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, Freedom and the pursuit of happiness."

In 2001, Limbaugh was diagnosed with an autoimmune inner-ear disease that drastically affected his hearing.

In 2003, Limbaugh checked himself into a treatment facility after becoming addicted to pain medication that he was prescribed following back surgery. Also in 2003, Limbaugh resigned from a brief role as ESPN’s "Sunday NFL Countdown" after making controversial comments about then-Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who the broadcasting legend said was overrated by media members who wanted to see a Black quarterback thrive.

Limbaugh is survived by his wife.

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https://abc7news.com/society/rush-limbaugh-dies-at-70/10347894/

Conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh dies at 70

Rush Limbaugh, the conservative media icon who for decades used his perch as the king of talk-radio to shape the politics of both the Republican Party and nation, died Wednesday after a battle with cancer. He was 70 years old.

Limbaugh announced in February 2020 that he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. Limbaugh continued to host his show while undergoing treatment, and he told listeners that he remained hopeful he would defeat the disease.

A pioneer of AM talk-radio, Limbaugh for 32 years hosted "The Rush Limbaugh Show," a nationally-syndicated program with millions of loyal listeners that transfigured him into a partisan force and polarizing figure in American politics. In many ways, his radio show was like the big bang of the conservative media universe. "The Rush Limbaugh Show" helped popularize the political talk-radio format and usher in a generation of conservative infotainment.

Using his sizable platform, Limbaugh advanced conservative ideas, though he often waded into conspiratorial waters and generated controversy for hateful commentary on gender and race. During the course of his career, Limbaugh started a number of fires with his commentary.

Limbaugh offered a conditional apology after he accused actor Michael J. Fox of exaggerating his Parkinson's disease and apologized when he insulted law school student Sandra Fluke. He relentlessly attacked President Barack Obama, going as far as to fan the flames of birtherism, the discredited idea that Obama was born outside the United States and therefore not eligible to be President. And, in the last few years, he peddled "deep state" conspiracy theories, providing cover for President Donald Trump, who he counted as a friend.
 

More recently, Limbaugh appeared to approve of some forms of political violence in the immediate aftermath of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. He also drew backlash at the outset of the pandemic when he dismissed the coronavirus as the "common cold" and contended that it was being "weaponized" by members of the mainstream press to bludgeon Trump and harm his re-election chances. The missive was classic Limbaugh, who built a career on expressing strong distrust of the established press order and referred to himself as "America's Anchorman."

Despite his penchant for pushing conspiracy theories and peddling misinformation that benefited Trump and the other political figures he supported over the years, Limbaugh acknowledged the weight of his words in a 2008 interview with The New York Times.

"I take the responsibility that comes with my show very seriously," Limbaugh told the newspaper. "I want to persuade people with ideas. I don't walk around thinking about my power. But in my heart and soul, I know I have become the intellectual engine of the conservative movement."

'No one had heard anything like it before'


Rush Hudson Limbaugh III was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to Rush Hudson Limbaugh Jr. and Mildred Carolyn Limbaugh. His father, Limbaugh Jr., was a prominent Republican activist. Limbaugh's younger brother, David Limbaugh, is a lawyer and conservative commentator.

From a young age, Limbaugh was interested in a career in radio. When he was 16 years old Limbaugh enrolled in a summer course on radio engineering and earned a broadcaster's license. He soon landed a job in local radio. Limbaugh's father demanded he attend college, but Limbaugh had little interest.

"My father expected me to be a professional man," Limbaugh told The Times. "The problem was, I hated school. I hated being told what to do. In the Boy Scouts I never got a single merit badge. In school my grades were terrible. I just didn't want to be there. I just wanted to be on the radio."

 

Limbaugh eventually attended Southeast Missouri State University for a year before dropping out. He struggled to find a stable career in radio, working at various stations, including as a top-40 DJ. Limbaugh also struggled in his personal life, having divorced two women in a span of 10 years.

Things changed when he moved to Sacramento, California, to work at KFBK-AM in 1984. From there, Limbaugh developed "The Rush Limbaugh Show." He struck success, doing well in the ratings and earning the attention of Ed McLaughlin, the former head of ABC Radio. In 1988, when Limbaugh's show became nationally syndicated, he moved to New York to broadcast from WABC.

"No one had heard anything like it before," Brian Rosenwald, author of "Talk Radio's America," told Boston Public Radio Station WBUR in 2019. Rosenwald added, "This is a guy who had been a DJ, gotten fired four times in the '70s but he took the high jinks from those DJs at times and infused it into a topical talk show where he was sort of applying it to the values that he had gotten at the dinner table from his father growing up."

Limbaugh found immense success, and quickly became the king of talk-radio. President Ronald Reagan dubbed him the"Number One voice for conservatism" in the country." Limbaugh even had a brief stint on television, hosting a talk show from 1992 to 1996 produced by the late Roger Ailes. Limbaugh said he had no real rivals.

"I have no competitors," Limbaugh told The Times in 2008. "[Sean] Hannity isn't even close to me."

But he did have some personal setbacks. In 2001, Limbaugh suffered hearing loss due to an autoimmune inner ear disease. He later received a cochlear implant. In 2003, Limbaugh announced that he was addicted to pain medication and would seek treatment. Limbaugh said he had become addicted after back surgery. In 2006, he was charged with "doctor-shopping." His attorney said he pleaded not guilty and that the charge would be dropped once he completed 18 months of drug treatment.

Throughout it all, Limbaugh remained the king of conservative talk-radio, earning a fortune along the way. Limbaugh Florida estate had five houses. He expressed an affinity for expensive cars. And he owned a personal plane.

At the time of the 2008 New York Times interview, Limbaugh was nearing a contract renewal with Premiere Radio Networks which he estimated was worth approximately $38 million a year. He told The Times that the contract included a nine-figure signing bonus. In January, Premiere Radio Networks told CNN Business that Limbaugh had renewed a "long-term agreement," but did not disclose other details. Trump said at a rally, however, that it was for an additional four years.

"The most elemental fact about the Limbaugh career might be that, outside of seriously corrupt dictatorships, nobody has made as much money from politics as Rush Limbaugh," observed the journalist Michael Wolff, who profiled Limbaugh for Vanity Fair magazine in 2009.

In 2010, Limbaugh married his fourth wife, Kathryn Rogers, a 33-year-old event planner. Limbaugh paid a reported $1 million for Elton John to perform at the event, which was attended by members of the Republican elite, including Sean Hannity, Rudolph Giuliani, and Karl Rove.

Limbaugh was generous with his wealth. He once ranked fourth on Forbes' list of most generous celebrities, having donated $4.2 million to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, about 13% of his earnings that, the publication said. Limbaugh has also used his show to rally listeners to donate to various charities throughout the years, helping to raise millions of dollars for those in need. In recent years, he and his wife started the Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh Family Foundation.

His generosity extended elsewhere too. Jeremy Sullivan of Missouri's Kobe Club told Grub Street in 2008 that Limbaugh was someone who liked "to throw down the most massive tips" at restaurants. "The last few times his taps have been $5,000," Sullivan said. will link to Grub Street

Limbaugh, however, was a sharply divisive figure. He was a Republican kingmaker with uncompromising positions. Republican politicians and operatives dared not cross his path. In 2009, when then-Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele dismissed Limbaugh as an "entertainer," Limbaugh went on the attack. Steele later apologized.

In the last years of his life, Limbaugh, like most in conservative media, did everything in his power to protect Trump, resorting to peddling disinformation and conspiracy theories to his audience. He attacked the so-called "deep state," Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and other perceived enemies of Trump.

When Trump faced an impeachment trial the first time in the Senate, Limbaugh went to bat for him each day. Limbaugh attacked then-candidate Joe Biden, while simultaneously defending Trump. Limbaugh told his listeners that Trump's only offense was being "too successful."

"He's being impeached because his successes threaten great damage to the Democrat Party," Limbaugh claimed.

During Trump's second impeachment, Limbaugh accused Democrats of advancing an "abject lie" about Trump's involvement in the insurrection as part of a political effort to disqualify him from running for office again. Limbaugh said Democrats were "deathly afraid" Trump would retain his power over the Republican Party and so they wanted to "stop" him "from having a public life."

Limbaugh announced in February 2020 that he had been diagnosed with advanced cancer. A day later, Trump awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a President can bestow on a civilian. The decision to award Limbaugh the medal ignited fury among those who pointed to the radio host's divisive rhetoric and inflammatory comments.

"Empathy is due to anyone who is suffering. But not high honors, not a celebration of a life's work devoted to the mockery and derision of the Other," wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. "For the President of the United States to bestow one of the nation's highest laurels on Limbaugh is a morally corrosive and politically cynical act."

Limbaugh, who had a close relationship with his radio audience, told his listeners that he appreciated the "love and affection" he had received, saying it was "unlike anything I've ever dreamed of or experienced." But he said he preferred not to talk often about his treatment or health.

"Let me remind you, I told you at the beginning of this that I'm very flattered by all of you who care," Limbaugh said."Don't misunderstand. But I vowed not to let this take control of my life. I've seen that happen. It's hard not to. It's a terminal disease for a lot of people. It takes over your life. I've vowed to not let that happen as much as I can."

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Initially, I could simply say, "Good riddance".  But of course, like him and his ideology or not, the man probably does have family and other people who will be deeply saddened by his passing.  And really, my sincere condolences go out to them.  

And though, only six months OLDER than me, I'd still say he was too young.

Sepiatone

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I'll never forget Limbaugh's radio show for September5, 1997. He was ranting and raving about the recent news coverage of the death and upcoming funeral of Princess Diana. He wondered aloud if the media would provide the same coverage if Mother Teresa died.

Several minutes later, he announced on the air that Mother Teresa had just passed away at the age of 87.

Needless to say, her death was a major news story and her funeral was telecast live by several networks. 

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I have never understood why we should mourn the passing of someone who was not a good person.  Or why we cannot say something about him/her that reflects our real feelings.

You think Limbaugh would have had kind words for Obama's relatives if he died.  Of course not.

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2 minutes ago, ElCid said:

I have never understood why we should mourn the passing of someone who was not a good person.  Or why we cannot say something about him/her that reflects our real feelings.

You think Limbaugh would have had kind words for Obama's relatives if he died.  Of course not.

Actually, he offered on-the-air condolences to the Obamas after the then-presidential candidate's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, died in Hawaii the weekend before the 2008 election.

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Anyone who was there and who remembers what big media was like before he got started, if they are honest, will have to admit he made an impact. One of his early promo slogans was, "Folks, I am equal time." And he was right. 

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Just now, jakeem said:

Actually, he offered on-the-air condolences to the Obamas after the then-presidential candidate's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, died in Hawaii the weekend before the 2008 election.

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I remember when JFK, Jr. was killed, he had many good things to say about him, too, and scolded callers who wanted to criticize.

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