You are hereForbes: Serious Question: Are Rush Limbaugh and the Breitbart Empire Serious?
Forbes: Serious Question: Are Rush Limbaugh and the Breitbart Empire Serious?
-By John McQuaid
March 9, 2012- Over the past week we’ve been treated to two culture war eruptions: Rush Limbaugh calling a young woman a “slut” and a “prostitute” for her lobbying efforts to persuade Georgetown University to provide contraceptive insurance coverage (and his subsequent non-apology apology) and the Breitbart empire’s hawking of a video showing a 1990 speech by Barack Obama, in which he briefly hugs a Harvard law professor with “radical” views.
Here’s my question: is this all just a big joke?
Limbaugh explained himself by saying that he wasn’t serious. It was an “attempt to be humorous.” He was “illustrating absurdity with absurdity.” This is a variant of the excuse used by politicians when asked to comment on some outre Limbaugh statement: he’s an entertainer, so what he says should not be taken as a serious comment on politics or policy.
The late Andrew Breitbart had a similar MO. All the retrospectives after his death last week noted he relished confrontation and showmanship above all, but that his political worldview wasn’t necessarily completely whole or consistent. We saw some of that this week. The release of the Obama video (scooped by BuzzFeed, but ultimately revealed to have been previously broadcast and publicly available all along) was an attempt to ignite a scandal, and hyped by Matt Drudge as a “SHOCK VIDEO.” Its non-shockingness became kind of a joke in itself for anyone not in the target audience, with detractors mocking the notion of hug-gate.