The Rush Limbaugh smear and the Imus factor

James H. Fetzer and J.R. Dunn
One point being overlooked in the excitement surrounding Rush Limbaugh's thrashing of the Democrats is what might be termed the Imus factor.

In the weeks since Imus was brought down over his remarks concerning the Rutgers women's basketball team, it has become evident that the incident was something of a test run for a new media-oriented weapon system. The case had its peculiarities. Coarse and uncalled-for as Imus's comment may have been, it was innocuous compared to much that's been heard from shock-jocks over the years, including Imus himself. Then there was the matter of the left calling artillery on one of its own positions.  Though by no means a dependable liberal voice, whenever he could be pinned down to something serious, Imus stuck with the left.

But the point is, it worked. The media firestorm forced a stunned and bewildered Imus into premature retirement. (Though that may not have been the final word, as see Bob Kerrey's attempt at rehabilitation over the weekend.)

But with the "phoney soldiers" case, we learned who the real target was. The left thought they'd found an unbeatable rightie-killer, something they could fire from ambush without any fear of a blowback. The attack on Limbaugh followed the Imus script in detail: a blizzard of fake outrage over a single comment taken out of context and misrepresented as to actual meaning. So vile was Limbaugh's remark, we were told, that no defense was possible.

They were trying to pull an Imus on Rush Limbaugh. But, despite the efforts of Harry Reid and his forty solons, it didn't work. Clear Channel didn't fold the way MSNBC and  CBS did. Thanks to Limbaugh's steadiness and quick wit, the attempt did blow back. The brilliant auction play not only defanged the attack but turned it against the perpetrators, making Reid and his posse look like forty-one schmoes despite everything the media could do to slant the story. (It accomplished very little for Harry back home either, if recent reports are any indication.)

Harry Reid probably is not going to be sending out such self-righteous, ham-handed letters anytime soon. Nor is the media or anyone else going to pull an Imus on any other new media figures. Limbaugh has not only embarrassed the Dems and restored his own reputation, he's also deprived the left of the Imus weapon, something that might have served them well over the next year or two.

Not a bad week's work.
One point being overlooked in the excitement surrounding Rush Limbaugh's thrashing of the Democrats is what might be termed the Imus factor.

In the weeks since Imus was brought down over his remarks concerning the Rutgers women's basketball team, it has become evident that the incident was something of a test run for a new media-oriented weapon system. The case had its peculiarities. Coarse and uncalled-for as Imus's comment may have been, it was innocuous compared to much that's been heard from shock-jocks over the years, including Imus himself. Then there was the matter of the left calling artillery on one of its own positions.  Though by no means a dependable liberal voice, whenever he could be pinned down to something serious, Imus stuck with the left.

But the point is, it worked. The media firestorm forced a stunned and bewildered Imus into premature retirement. (Though that may not have been the final word, as see Bob Kerrey's attempt at rehabilitation over the weekend.)

But with the "phoney soldiers" case, we learned who the real target was. The left thought they'd found an unbeatable rightie-killer, something they could fire from ambush without any fear of a blowback. The attack on Limbaugh followed the Imus script in detail: a blizzard of fake outrage over a single comment taken out of context and misrepresented as to actual meaning. So vile was Limbaugh's remark, we were told, that no defense was possible.

They were trying to pull an Imus on Rush Limbaugh. But, despite the efforts of Harry Reid and his forty solons, it didn't work. Clear Channel didn't fold the way MSNBC and  CBS did. Thanks to Limbaugh's steadiness and quick wit, the attempt did blow back. The brilliant auction play not only defanged the attack but turned it against the perpetrators, making Reid and his posse look like forty-one schmoes despite everything the media could do to slant the story. (It accomplished very little for Harry back home either, if recent reports are any indication.)

Harry Reid probably is not going to be sending out such self-righteous, ham-handed letters anytime soon. Nor is the media or anyone else going to pull an Imus on any other new media figures. Limbaugh has not only embarrassed the Dems and restored his own reputation, he's also deprived the left of the Imus weapon, something that might have served them well over the next year or two.

Not a bad week's work.