Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Limbaugh Farce

Jason Whitlock is right that the whole Rush Limbaugh trying to buy the NFL's St. Louis Rams idea was just a publicity stunt. Everybody involved--Limbaugh himself, projected major partner Dave Checketts, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell--all know that Rush Limbaugh could never be part of an NFL ownership group. As his brief career as a MNF broadcaster made clear, Limbaugh's racial obsessions would generate enormous bad publicity, cost the NFL much of its good will, and drive down TV ratings and attendance.

Who knows why former NBA executive Dave Checketts agreed to be part of this farce? Maybe he's a really good friend of Limbaugh's. Maybe he was using the "Limbaugh controversy" to attract another deep-pockets partner for his proposal. Perhaps nobody will ever know. But it should be clear that Limbaugh himself joined the proposal so he could leak his participation to the media, start a controversy, and bump up his ratings. Limbaugh has a hard-core fan base, but casual listening to his program is driven by his notoriety and a good chunk of that notoriety is rooted in his reputation for racism. Teasing the idea of NFL ownership (and that's all it ever was--a tease) was a good way for Limbaugh to publicize his Today interview, smoke out a response from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and draw comments from black athletes like Donovan McNabb. That's the kind of thing that drives ratings and justifies Limbaugh's $400 million contract.

And the "controversy" was a total win for Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh got his name out in the mainstream media, the ensuing "controversy" drew the attention from non-conservatives, and Limbaugh's core audience was once again entertained by the "outrage" of blacks and liberals.

It's a tried and true formula, Limbaugh's done it a million times, and it worked yet again. Last week was yet another great week to be Rush Limbaugh.

The rest of the media got some crumbs too. CNN's got to fill up 24 hours of news and the Limbaugh "controversy" handed them at least one "Breaking News" item. That gave HuffPost reporter Jason Linkins an opportunity to file a "we're offended" post when Wolf Blitzer cut off some Ariana Huffington commentary to announce that Limbaugh had been dropped from the Checketts proposal. Jason Whitlock got a great article out of the issue as well.

See, everybody wins. Of course, Limbaugh was dropped from the proposal, but that was always beside the point.

1 comment:

Joe White said...

His 'reputation for racism', eh?

oh you mean the false quotes that are circulated and attributed to him?

Yeah he's got a 'reputation for racism' alright.

Great tactic, let's talk about his 'reputation' instead of anything he's actually said.