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Conservative Talk Radio and Its Impact on Heightened Partisanship

By Carl Guo, VI Form

Conservative Talk Radio and Its Impact on Heightened Partisanship

“[Obama is] a veritable rookie whose only chance of winning [the 2008 election] is that he’s black.” 

“If any race of people should not have guilt about slavery, it’s Caucasians.” 

“Women should not be allowed on juries where the accused is a stud.”

Jason Silverstein, “Rush Limbaugh now has a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Here are just 20 of the outrageous  things he’s said,” CBS News, last modified February 6, 2020, accessed January 12, 2022,  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rush-limbaugh-presidential-medal-of-freedom-state-of-the-union-outrageous quotes/.

Rush Limbaugh, the renowned conservative talk radio host, made the above statements.  Appalled by these comments and other similar ones, some liberals posted similarly incendiary remarks on Twitter when Limbaugh died on February 17, 2021. Music producer Finneas wrote,  “Feeling very sorry for the people of Hell who now have to deal with Rush Limbaugh for the rest  of eternity.” “God has canceled Rush Limbaugh,” said Crooked Media host Erin Ryan.  Comedian Paul F. Tompkins reacted with: “I’m glad Rush Limbaugh lived long enough to get cancer and die.”

While liberals condemn Limbaugh, conservatives respect him as a conservative media pioneer and a lovable host whose shows they listened to every day. Former President Donald  Trump even awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award  the President can bestow to recognize “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or  national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private  endeavors.”3 Trump announced the award in perhaps the most grandiose way: during the 2020 State of the Union Address.4 In Trump’s words, this award honors Limbaugh’s “decades of  tireless devotion to our country” and “the millions of people a day that [he] speaks to and  inspires.”5 Even without presidential recognition, however, Rush Limbaugh cemented his legacy by reviving dying AM radio stations during the 1980s and amassed a large and loyal audience  since. Talkers Magazine ranked The Rush Limbaugh Show as the most-listened-to talk radio show from 1987 to 2021, with an average of 15 million listeners per week.6