Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Thursday, October 02, 2003  

302 Words on Rush Limbaugh

"What we have here is a little social concern in the N.F.L. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback can do well - black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve."

--Rush Limbaugh on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown

This story is getting such intense coverage that I don't need to say much about it. Leaving aside the issue of whether Limbaugh's comment was racist or not, it goes to show the effects of the conservative echo chamber. Limbaugh prides himself on his "controversial" commentary--but it's controversial to exactly no one, because the only people who listen to him are self-described "dittoheads." In the real world, journalists are exposed to people of diverse views; it occurs to them how their speech might be interpreted by different groups. Rush is so used to the response of the dittoheads that he imagined his commentary would be interpreted as sticking it to the liberal media. What didn't occur to him was that his language assumed a negative: it's true he didn't say black players and coaches aren't as good as whites, he just said the liberal media props them up. But why would it prop them up if they didn't need propping?

What's shocking to football fans is that he would assume this negative. In the era of Mike Vick, Tony Dungy, Ty Willingham et. al., it's astonishing that anyone still holds this view. In the echo chamber, one is never compelled by the opposition to examine one's own assumptions. When Limbaugh tried to finger the "liberal media," we all saw Limbaugh's assumptions for what they were. Unfortunately, he refused the opportunity to examine his assumptions. "All this has become the tempest that it is because I must have been right about something. If I wasn't right, there wouldn't be the cacophony of outrage that has sprung up in the sportswriter community."

Well, Rush, that'll fly with the white male core who share your view and comprise your audience--which I guess is fine. Once again, they're gonna be the only ones listening.

posted by Jeff | 8:29 AM |
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