REALITY CHECK + Readers Responses
LIMBAUGH, ESPN & THE CRAVEN CON
is a melon-headed lap dog for the Republican Party who fronts a
shill-laden attack fest middays for WABC Radio in New York.
usual, the frenzied response to a hot-button story misses the key point.
This time its the fabricated outrage surrounding politico dog-and-pony
act, Rush Limbaugh's alleged controversial statements made on ESPN's
pro football pre-game scream-o-rama last Sunday, which, by way of mention,
took four days to surface. To arrive at less reactionary conclusions,
we must pose three core questions: What Limbaugh was doing on a pre-game
show beyond acting as gaffer or towel boy, his reasons for the gutless
quitting of the gig afterwards, and who stood the most to suffer its
backlash had he been man enough to face the music? For the record, this
incident should not be viewed as a race issue, or a form of political
correctness abuse or certainly any first amendment pogrom. And it is
not, nor has it ever been about whether or not anything the man uttered
displayed the slightest glimmer of validity. It was merely a con to
get you to pay attention to something and someone not worthy of your
attention. Let's review.
For those not mired in all things jock or schlock, ESPN and Limbaugh
were a match made in a marketing heaven imagined by goofball pandering
ratings-hungry execs, who view the landscape of envelope-pushing pop
culture as a lazy blueprint to force-feed the great unwashed.
Limbaugh is a melon-headed lap dog for the Republican Party who fronts
a shill-laden attack fest middays for WABC Radio in New York. A national
minority of dunderheads who wish the atavistic, two-dimensional social
order of the 1950s still existed laud his daily harangue. Aside
from puppeteer at theme parks, rodeo clown and the guys who hand out
pamphlets for strip clubs in Times Square, radio talk show host is the
lowest ebb of the entertainment medium. I too have weakly trolled its
murky waters, and save for its king, the always highbrow, Howard Stern,
Rush is its cream.
ESPN is a 24-hour cable station/youth culture advertising magnet turned
media empire with radio affiliates, magazines, movie production companies,
and restaurants which mainly cater to fourteen year-old boys, or those
who continue to embrace similar prepubescent activities as religion.
It is the home office of furious sound bites and dick jokes used to
sell beer between video of hockey fights.
WABC is owned by the Disney Corporation, which also happens to own ESPN.
Limbaugh was brought in to add to the already over-the-top guffaw locker
room ambiance of a two-hour mess called Sunday Countdown, a show that
once provided some semblance of useful sports information but now fits
the rest of the station's sub-moronic line-up of bargain-basement comedic
geniuses dressed up in the guise of the "American Sports Fan".
Okay, so last Sunday, Limbaugh loudly substantiated his laughably woeful
lack of pro football acumen by jabbering a litany of unsubstantiated
comments about one of the NFL's best quarterbacks, the Philadelphia
Eagles, Donavan McNabb. Limbaugh opined that McNabb, the best player
on his team and a perennial star since entering the NFL, was nothing
more than a propagandized figment of the Philadelphia media and its
desire to see black quarterbacks succeed.
Limbaugh is wrong on all accounts. McNabb is good, very good. The Philadelphia
sporting press, well known for vitriolic meandering, has done anything
but champion its pro athletes. Consequently, for those actually covering
the game, instead of self-promoting, McNabb has taken more shit than
he deserves for bad coaching and a vacillating front office.
So Limbaugh clearly demonstrated he knew nothing about the subject he
is paid to comment on, lazily substituting real reporting and fair commentary
for self-aggrandizing rhetoric, a talent he routinely displays in the
realm of socio-political issues daily on his radio show. Only here,
he was out of his element, and away from braying sycophants who have
raised him to the level of shaman. Knowing Limbaugh's tired shtick about
attacking the mainstream "liberal" media and his disdain for
"reverse racism", he probably meant to say that the league
has gone about over-promoting black coaches and quarterbacks to deflect
liberal media criticism. Thus his blather, while curiously racial in
theme, was hardly racist.
Predictably, the backlash has been harsh and vocal from black leaders
and players, and of course, McNabb and the "liberal media".
This prompted this asinine defense of Limbaugh's right to free speech.
Wrong again. Firstly, freedom of speech applies to the liberty to espouse
whatever theorem enters one's head without government or legal retribution.
Limbaugh was not arrested, and no one stopped him from saying what he
said, or even edited his comments from the show. He wasn't even fired,
which was warranted, as in the case of former Atlanta Braves pitcher
John Rocker, who went off the rails a few years ago with blatantly racist
gibberish. A business does not have to compromise its earning power
by harboring an unpopular employee. The Braves could not have a KKK
poster boy on the payroll, and ESPN, or specifically Sunday Countdown
could not survive a boycott of black NFL players of its telecasts.
Here's your truth.
Limbaugh's commentary signals mission accomplished for Disney. Buzz
is created with free press and booming ratings. However, Limbaugh, often
heard ranting about the Dixie Chicks and Hollywood types throwing their
anti-American opinions around when not warranted, hides behind the "it
was merely one man's opinion" and then bails. Lets face it;
Limbaugh is racist like the Dixie Chicks are anti-American, but not
unlike every celebrity caught in a bind that might dim the limelight,
The fact is six minutes into the Limbaugh experiment everyone knew it
was a mistake, including Limbaugh. It reeked of the kind of desperation
that lead Disney into putting comedian, Dennis Miller out of his element
to trump up sagging Monday Night Football ratings and start the parade
of super models giving agonizingly banal sideline reports. So, with
pressure from the top to justify the Limbaugh hiring, the people on
the talent side of ESPN riled Limbaugh, a consummate showman who knows
well how to put on the peacock feathers when he needs it, to stir the
pot. He did. Backlash ensued. ESPN panics. He quits.
Despite window dressing to the contrary, ESPN is not a frat house of
rebels and despots. It is a multi-million dollar corporation in the
business to sell beer with tits and violence. Limbaugh took its money
to whore his free speech card and stammered a badly articulated theory
framed clumsily with political propaganda. He used skin color as an
unfortunate analogy. Neither he nor ESPN, so hot for attention, could
handle standing up to the inevitable public retort. It's okay for Limbaugh
and ESPN to hurl this crap at you, but once you bristle at it, its time
to run and hide.
ESPN needs sponsors and athletes to exploit for profit. Limbaugh needs
to be a puppet of political ideology. Both lose if they vehemently defend
his alleged philosophical bravery, so both predictably tanked it, collecting
their checks and singing their tired songs of spin. The sick underbelly
of this story is simply that too many people in the public arena, paid
to act and talk tough, run scared too often. Christian crackpot, Jerry
Falwell, smarmy coward, Bill Mahr, stuffy windbag, Trent Lott, Bostionian
sad sack, Bob Ryan and a host of others too many to mention, have all
apologized or backtracked or resigned under the normal resistance that
comes from offering "brave" ideas into an idiom that prefers
beer and tits
© James Campion October 3rd 2003
Oct 13th 2003
What is your problem? No, really, what are your problems?
In "All Hail Ann Coulter: Champion of the Dumb" (7/2/03) your
simplistic cardboard version of McCarthyism is 100% wrong. You wrote
of Senator Joseph McCarthy: "A monument to hate bating and paranoia
run amok, McCarthys legacy is nothing if not noteworthy. He was
a tremendous brute of his times, clinically insane and furiously malevolent,
a true celebrity monster."
This relies on a discredited version of history that paints McCarthy
as one who hunted for Communists and spies that didnt exist. That
view has been dramatically disproven by the release of KGB files and
the opening of spy documents (such as the Venona transcripts) that shows
that American Communists actively assisted Soviet intelligence efforts
in the United States and elsewhere.
Senator Joe McCarthy confronted government officials engaging in a concealment
of communist involvement, and uncovered an excessively lax security
posture with regards to Communists in sensitive U.S. Government posts.
We now know that Alger Hiss, a high level State Department official
in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, was indeed a Communist
and a Soviet spy, and that the Venona files reveal several hundred Soviet
agents in the US Govt, so the fears of anti-Communists like McCarthy
Arthur Herman, in his is new book, "Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining
the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator,", goes some
way in restoring balance to our views on McCarthy from the familiar
broad-brush phony treatment of him as a bogeyman. He says that the accuracy
of McCarthy's charges "was no longer a matter of debate,"
that they are "now accepted as fact." And The New York Posts
Eric Fettmann has noted: "growing historical evidence underscores
that, whatever his rhetorical and investigative excesses and
they were substantial McCarthy was a lot closer to the truth
about Communism than were his foes."
You are a fool. Like most liberals you can't see that Ann Coulter backs
up what she writes with facts not innuendos, which is what people like
you, Al Franken, and Michael Moore do. You hate Bush. You love Communism.
You hate rational thinking Americans. You love Socialism. I'm just curious
do people like you eat with utensils or do they have to feed you intravenously?
The Democrats pander to the stupid, lazy, gimmie what I want It's not
fair that you have more than I do crowd and people like yourself are
the crowning jewel in their welfare crown.
Please don't have children.
Thank you for your viciously brave satirical take on Ann Coulters
celebrity jones. I have read of some 70 factual errors in her book.
Shes better off up Bill Mahrs ass, where she is most comfortable
On vacation in the outerbanx, NC, read your first book, "Deep Tank
Jersey", and enjoyed it for most part. But I felt you "held
back" on some real trash and I dont believe a word about
you refusing any young lady's special talent advances. (or you are queer?)
Also I thought there was too much about your rock n crap fantasy.
I really didnt care much about your insights into yourself.
The end of book could have been a real in depth interview with Monte's
future plans and alcoholism. But I must say overall you did a sweet
job, just dont be such a wimp if youre going in that far
anyway. We want more! Gary B.
I just wanted you to know Ive been reading your Reality Check
column for a few years now, and I think you are by far the most talented,
clever and honest commentator there is around, and I read all sides
of the socio-political fence. Sometimes I cant even believe how
right on you are about most subjects. My bet is you attract some pretty
crazy wackos from all ends. Anyway, I thought you should know I am a
big fan and wanted to say, keep up the good fight!
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