Last week in explaining why NFL commissioner Roger Goodell needed to put an end to Limbaugh’s latest publicity stunt, I attributed racially insensitive quotes to Limbaugh that I read in two Missouri newspapers, saw on CNN and confirmed through a Google search. Prior to posting the article, I never found a denial of these quotes by Limbaugh, and had no reason to believe those statements were not true.
It was unfair to Limbaugh. And I regret that. I’ve commented on some of his earlier controversies. I’ve long been an admirer of his broadcasting skills.
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For the most part, I’ve never taken his political commentary all that seriously. There are virtually no modern-day political figures that I take seriously. Politics and politicians are too dishonest and too controlled by financial influences for my taste. I’ve never participated in American politics. I’ve never voted.
I am not right wing or left wing, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. I’m not beholden to any political agenda. An examination of my work at FOXSports.com, the Kansas City Star and/or any of the places I’ve worked previously would reveal a free-thinking, hardcore independent.
I dislike and distrust everybody equally.
The proof is in my work. As sports columnist, I went down to Jena, Louisiana on my own dime because I wanted to understand the Jena Six controversy. The way the “mainstream” media and Al Sharpton told the story made little sense to me. My suspicions were confirmed after visiting Jena. I wrote a long column for the Kansas City Star explaining how a little-known white minister — Alan Bean — crafted the Jena Six narrative, spoon-fed it to specific, liberal-leaning media members/outlets and watched from the sidelines as his totally one-sided, inaccurate narrative became accepted as fact by virtually all major media organizations.
I pay a price for my independence. I know what it feels like to be unfairly called a racist. It happens to me almost every week after one of my columns. Depending on the topic or the conclusion I reach, black and white people take turns arguing that I hate black or white people.
My point is some days I’m sympathetic to Limbaugh’s plight. He’s a push-the-envelope entertainer. His parody song “Barack The Magic Negro” is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard on radio. It’s not racist. It’s genius.
But on most days I see Limbaugh for exactly what he is: America’s most successful race hustler.
He delights in labeling Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as “race hustlers,” but not surprisingly Limbaugh fails to inform his massive radio audience that he hustles the same game as Jesse and Al, just on the white side of the fence.
Limbaugh’s radio empire is built on the foundation of convincing white America that the country our forefathers stole from Native Americans is being stolen by blacks and Mexicans. Barack Obama’s election to the presidency breathed new life into Rush’s radio shtick.
Again, I find much of Limbaugh’s satire hilarious and appropriate. But there are major strands of it predicated on preying on the biased fears of white America.
Limbaugh’s “Obama’s America” spiel about two black kids beating up a white kid on a school bus while other kids cheered is the exact kind of irresponsible and evil race-baiting that Limbaugh rails against when belittling Sharpton or Jackson.
I’ve listened to the audio and read the transcript at RushLimbaugh.com of Limbaugh’s “Obama’s America” monologue.
The point of Limbaugh’s rant/satire is to divide, scare and breed contempt. It’s the equivalent of Sharpton’s Tawana Brawley charade.
Limbaugh has convinced his sycophants that he is some sort of “victim” in his failed bid to own a piece of the St. Louis Rams. It’s comical listening to a man worth a half billion dollars claim victim status, especially a commentator who rips poor minorities for claiming victimhood.
Since my column last week, I’ve been inundated by Dittoheads who seriously believe Limbaugh is some sort of freedom fighter standing up to the establishment and injustice.
Freedom fighters don’t get $100-million contracts. They get coffins and jail cells. Ask the Kennedys, King and Mandela.
What really irritates me about my column last week is that I certainly didn’t need the quotes to make my point.
Limbaugh got involved with an effort to buy the Rams and commented on his involvement as a publicity stunt. In the misleading and whiny editorial he penned for the Wall Street Journal, Limbaugh acknowledged in his opening paragraph that he anticipated public resistance and controversy.
I’d write the exact same column if Sharpton and Jackson tried to buy a piece of the Chicago Bears.
It doesn’t matter that many of the owners enjoy Limbaugh’s hustle or agree with his politics. They earned or inherited their money legitimately, and they don’t spend three hours a day on the radio trying to stir up racial animosity.
If that’s not clear enough, think of it this way: Steve Hirsch, the founder of Vivid Entertainment, is wealthy enough to buy a piece of an NFL franchise. Porn is legal, enjoyed by many football fans and probably a few owners. No one would think twice if the NFL declined to associate its brand with Hirsch. No one would think it unusual or unfair if feminists and sportswriters objected to Hirsch purchasing an NFL franchise.
Nothing remotely un-American transpired with Limbaugh’s ownership bid.
I truly regret undermining my message with these quotes.
You can e-mail Jason at BallState0@aol.com or find him on Facebook at facebook.com/jasonwhitlock.