When talk radio listeners attack!


So Rush Limbaugh confirmed on his radio show today that the rumors are true: he indeed will be one of the guest commentators to appear in the new "Free Speech" segment of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

On Sunday, The Drudge Report posted an item saying that the conservative pundit would join George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Walter Cronkite in helping to "launch" Couric's newscast. Apparently, that was enough to provoke paroxysms of outrage from the legions of "ditto heads" who questioned whether Rush had taken leave of his senses (or perhaps reverted to his old regimen of painkillers).

Limbaugh began by expressing shock at the vitriol with which his loyal listeners reacted to the notion that he might be in league with the–gag!–MSM (that's shorthand for "mainstream media" among the black helicopter set). "Many of you accus[ed] me of being a sellout, a phony, going over to the dark side, what have you," Limbaugh said. He lashed out at his fans for doubting his commitment to the cause after 18 years on the air. "I sat there, and I smiled in stunned amazement at this," he said.

That's funny. Isn't it Limbaugh who's been mining that vein of conservative rage for the past two decades, who's stoked distrust and paranoia while convincing his listeners that folks like Couric are scheming to take away their hand guns?

Limbaugh is above all a showman. He is smart to accept Couric's invitation to tape a 90-second commentary for her broadcast (under certain "promises and conditions" he assured his listeners, though he didn't elaborate on what those were). But perhaps Limbaugh should read a lesson into the sad death of Steve Irwin, the Australian naturalist/Animal Planet host who died yesterday in a freak sting-ray attack. Eventually, they turn on you.

Joel Topcik