Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It doesn't get much better

Lately I've been treating myself to (or torturing myself with) 20 minutes of Rush Limbaugh each weekday, going so far as to impose the experience on my 15-year-old during the ride home from school. We find it entertaining, in a disturbing sort of way.

Shortly after 2pm today, Limbaugh began yakking about holding one particularly hot story until the final hour of his show -- and then regretting the move, because,
"...I realized that while people have heard [the story], they probably don't really know what to think about it totally 'til I've commented on it."
That, right there, tells us all we need to know about talk radio.

Anyway, the aforementioned hot story had to do with National Public Radio fundraising VP Ron Schiller getting hoodwinked by a couple of guys hired by right-wing slimeball
James O'Keefe, the pair posing as members of a phony Muslim group. And I was listening to the Prince of Pomposity prattle about the Duke of Deception duping a Lord of Liberalism. Entertainment-wise, that's just about as good as it gets.

On Limbaugh's website, the headline blares, "
NPR Executive Caught on Tape Being an Ignorant, Arrogant Liberal." The transcript captures the host highlighting Schiller's greatest hits:

"The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people's personal lives and very fundamental Christian...and I wouldn't even call it Christian. It's a weird, evangelical kind of movement.

"The current Republican Party is not even the Republican Party. It's been hijacked by this group that is...not just Islamophobic, but really xenophobic. I mean, basically...they believe in sort of white, middle America, gun-toting. I mean, it's pretty scary. They're...seriously racist, racist people."

"It feels to me as though there's a real anti-intellectual mood on the part of a significant part of the Republican Party. You know, in my personal opinion liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced. I am most disturbed by and disappointed by in this country, which is that the educated, so-called elite in this country is...too small a percentage of the population, so that you have this very large uneducated part of the population that...carries these ideas. It's...much more about anti-intellectualism than it is about [politics]."

"Republicans play off of the belief among the general population that most of our funding comes from the government. Very little of our funding comes from the government, but they act as though all of it comes from the government. ... Frankly, it is very clear that we would be better off in the long run without federal funding."

I'm hard-pressed to disagree with some of those points -- raging anti-intellectualism, xenophobia and the failure of the Tea Party, now polluted by the religious right's social agenda, to lift a libertarian message above an undercurrent of hate. And if public broadcasting really doesn't want taxpayers' money, we should grant Schiller's wish that federal funding disappear.

Problem is, Schiller stakes his claim to higher ground because he's a liberal -- his ideology makes him superior. That’s bullshit, of course.

Limbaugh, O'Keefe and their ilk, though they'd never admit it, suffer from the same condition that afflicts the left-wing Schiller. That they're "ignorant, arrogant" conservatives is the disease, not the cure.

(Watch the 12-minute version of Schiller's comeuppance here. If you have two hours to kill, you'll find the full video punking here.)