Sigh: The New York Times is cranking out still more vituperative reaction on the passing of conservative radio legend Rush Limbaugh. A revealing email from opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury introducing a package of no less than four essays on the man, since she said “few Americans have left as a big a mark” as Limbaugh.
Kingsbury proclaimed her mission to convene a debate, and then explicitly condemned the conservative in an Opinion email:
A big part of our mission is to convene the most compelling voices on issues of wide public interest, and, given the urgent discourse about the future of conservatism, we have tried to do that here.
Jill Filipovic, a journalist and lawyer whose work focuses on gender and politics, captures the enduring power of Limbaugh’s misogyny and bigotry. She writes in her Op-Ed, “But perhaps one of Mr. Limbaugh’s most significant and longest-lasting impacts, and one that will persist even if the Republican Party returns to a post-Trump ‘normal,’ stemmed from his loud opposition to women’s rights: He was the right wing’s misogynist id. His belligerent chauvinism was key in making the Republican Party the party of anti-feminism.”
Kingsbury then introduced Shapiro as an unpalatable online troll:
Ben Shapiro, the conservative commentator, is perhaps among Limbaugh’s most obvious heirs. One of the most popular voices on the American right, Shapiro is well positioned to carry Limbaugh’s message to a new generation of listeners through his podcast — and, like his mentor, has attracted intense criticism for his trollish online presence and, to me, unpalatable views….
Perhaps Kingsbury is offering a trigger warning for her quavering liberal readership or to inoculate herself from her viciously woke newspaper staff, who bulled centrist editorial writer Bari Weiss out of the paper and got the previous opinion editor, James Bennet, canned for running an op-ed from a sitting Republican senator, Tom Cotton of Arkansas (meanwhile, Chinese Communist Party propaganda against Hong Kong can always find a home).
Jill Filipovic (who recently wrote an amazingly nasty attack on Islam feminist critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali disguised as a book review for the paper) offered only bile: “The Life and Death of a Woman-Hater — Rush Limbaugh made the G.O.P. the party of misogyny.”
When the conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh died on Wednesday of complications from cancer, he ended a decades-long career as one of the most malignant and sadistic figures on the right.
His contributions to contemporary conservatism encouraged members of the Republican Party base to be meaner, smaller and more vulgar. He anchored his banter with a steady stream of invective, by turns promoting xenophobia, racism, homophobia and misogyny, teeing up a ready-made audience for the cruelty politics of Donald Trump.
His belligerent chauvinism was key in making the Republican Party the party of anti-feminism. Cracking open his slobbering hatred of women allows insight into his success, as well as the perversion of the party he championed.
Regular right-leaning columnist Ross Douthat’s contribution was a mixed appraisal of Limbaugh’s legacy: “Rush Limbaugh and the Petrification of Conservatism — An extraordinary career for the man, a long defeat for his ideology.”
The one truly pro-Rush perspective came from Shapiro: “The House That Rush Built — How Rush Limbaugh broke the liberal hegemony in broadcast media.” Even this one favorable essay featured an unflattering black-and-white close-up photo of Limbaugh that made him look like the ogre of the paper staff’s fevered imaginings.
Shapiro ended with a caustic point about how the left’s indecent disrespect for conservatives.
If Rush had been less caustic, the left still would have popped the champagne upon his death, just as they would have if Sean Hannity had died this week, or Tucker Carlson, Mark Levin or any other prominent conservative the left didn’t perceive as an ally of convenience.
Regular columnist Frank Bruni could understand such vile sentiments, though he considered them impolitic to voice: “Must We Dance on Rush Limbaugh’s Grave? — Speaking ill of the dead needn’t mean cackling over their demise.”