Fools’ Rushin’

I have been asked to say a few words about Rush Limbaugh. OK, here’s two: not interested. Before I explain myself, I could/should admit that part of the reason I pick on CNN’s coverage so often, is that it is the only mainstream media news channel I get via my cable service that doesn’t make me want to jump up and attack the TV every night.

Only most nights.

Monday March 2, 2009 was one of those nights. Let’s admit it: not many of us have ever doubted that the supposed “Most Trusted Name in News” was part of the propaganda machine, but the channel was easier to watch when it was the presidential ignorance channel as configured during the Bush years. With Fox’s “F & B” BS blatantly beating the war drums and even getting their scripts from Oval Office talking points, it didn’t take much for CNN to appear objective-ish in comparison.

Back in the day, it was all about Paris Hilton and her love tryst with the “Runaway Bride” and Lacey Peterson; and the way Michael Jackson and JonBenet, and whatever and ever amen, meanwhile our Constitution burned and the US went from appearing to be the great force for good in the world to a squanderer of trillions, murderer of millions and gleeful despoiler of the entire planet.

However for the last few years CNN’s sister station Headline News’ Nancy Grace has sucked up all the celebrity crime time-wasters leaving Anderson Cooper and even poor old Larry King himself to resort to at least the appearance of being actual reporters and pretending to focus on actual news. Of course even a casual survey of the rhetoric of CNN (which appears to at some point been re-initialed to stand for Conservative Nightly Nudge) leaves little doubt as to which side of the butter is breaded.

As the old phrase goes, the liberal media is only as liberal as their conservative owners allow them to be. Take CNN’s March 2nd Monday night “Welcome Back to the Weekly Dread” evening lineup for example. As somehow happens so many times in the course of so many evenings, the panelists again found themselves asking what can the GOP do to win in 2012? What are Republican strengths? How can they challenge the president? What are Obama’s weaknesses? You know, the basic non-partisan questions all Americans are always asking themselves.

That Monday, Obama’s greatest weakness, according to David Gergen anyway, was he is trying to do too much. Not doing enough, trying to do too much, not taking it seriously enough, being too serious, spending too little, spending too much, with that Obama there’s always something to blame. But that was just the appetizer.

All the attention, as it had been for the previous two nights, was on how gargantuan Rush has become lately and the ever important blow by blow from his CPAC speech, February 28th.

Two days earlier Rush’s CPAC speech was so not-news and so annoying that my teenage daughter almost actually came to the point of legitimate housecleaning when she more or less dusted the furniture as her frustration level maxed out to the point she jumped up to the TV and started trying to smack some of the silly off of the boob on the tube.

Once upon a time CNN would have led with the story of the NFL footballers lost at sea and been done with it. But that night it was Rush, the Lord of Limbaugh keeping us from looking at the real 500 pound elephant that just entered the room. He gave it his best shot anyway.

CNN probably used up all the talking heads they could round up to drive us away from the actual news of the evening, this Yahoo News item: “Obama Releases Secret Bush Anti-Terror Memos.” Those of us craving indictments had our hearts skip a beat with the immensity of this news when the little e-mail link lodged in our inboxes. Seriously, it’s beginning to smell a bit indictment.

Releasing nine legal opinions, the Justice Dept. made public thousands of Bush era emails and other documents that trace his administration’s determined assault on the American people. In a speech a few hours before the documents were released, Attorney General Eric Holder, our go-to quote from last week as well said it best: “Too often over the past decade, the fight against terrorism has been viewed as a zero-sum battle with our civil liberties.”

All the stuff we’d been dreading they’d been hiding was there all along: torture, wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, John Yoo in a supporting role as Torquemadas. Even more chilling, comes verification of that supposed urban legend: the tale that videos were made of torture sessions, excuse me, interrogation sessions, and that they now were missing. Turns out it wasn’t just a few videos of fun-loving folk getting a little too splishy-splashy in a friendly game of waterboard that got out of hand. We’re talking 92 tapes and the suggestion of possible secret deaths.

ACLU attorney Amrit Singh said, “The large number of videotapes destroyed confirms that the agency engaged in a systematic attempt to hide evidence of its illegal interrogations and to evade the court’s order.”

If that doesn’t smell like indictments to you, you better stop sniffing the paint thinner. Yet somehow, CNN failed to even mention the news of the Holder speech or the files. No, instead the viewers of the supposed most trusted name in news got to watch day three of Lord Limbaugh bloviating about Obama’s “bastardization of the Constitution.” Some great words from a man who knows more than a little bit about bastardizing the Constitution himself.

Here is some of his own handiwork from earlier in the same speech: “We believe that the Preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.” And among those rights I guess is the right to act like you know what you’re talking about when you haven’t got a clue.

Mikel Weisser teaches social studies and poetry on the left coast of Arizona. He can be reached at Read other articles by Mikel.

7 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. HR said on March 4th, 2009 at 11:33am #

    Mike, you must be a very calm and tolerant person. CNN has made me scream at the screen since the early 90s, starting with all their sickening graphics and over-the-top coverage of “our” war against Iraq to reinstall the dictatorial regime in Kuwait (which was part of Iraq until the former Brit “owners” decided otherwise). I can’t watch for more than a couple of minutes before the reaction sets in.

  2. Mulga Mumblebrain said on March 4th, 2009 at 5:53pm #

    CNN is garbage, as is the BBC, FoxNews, Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands. the (Australian)ABC and News Ltd. They are all Rightwing indoctrinators, nothing more or less. Their functionaries are, in my opinion, almost exclusively either evil psychopaths, or cynical opportunists, or mere sell-outs. Who the expletive needs them? May they all rot in Hell, the one certain reason for belief in a just and wrathful Deity. And, please, whenever was the USA a ‘..great force for good in the world’? Not during the most recent couple of centuries, I would contend.

  3. John S. Hatch said on March 4th, 2009 at 6:17pm #

    It speaks volumes that the defacto King of the Republicans is a drug-addled hate/warmonger albeit with a following of millions of ditto/shitheads. So much hate! So little imagination! What a nation!

  4. mikel weisser said on March 4th, 2009 at 6:43pm #

    Thanks for the comments. Yes. Please note, my passage more accurately reads “from appearing to be the great force for good ,” the words “appearing to be” being the operant term here. Though a fat white guy who has definitely benefitted frommy time and place of birth, from my view there has been a steady oppression/aggression since the USA started keeping America free.

  5. mikel weisser said on March 4th, 2009 at 8:52pm #

    Another poster commented further on Limbaugh by email and here is his slightly redacted post and my reply:

    HIM: It speaks volumes that the defacto King of the Republicans is a drug-addled hate/warmonger albeit with a following of millions of ditto/s***heads. So much hate! So little imagination! What a nation!

    ME: I only wish that others would make more of the man’s failings. The debate can’t seem to get shaped around him and what he stands for. Tonight the word on TV is that he is inviting Obama on his radio show. I wish Obama would go and face Limbaugh. Like Bill O’Reilly, Limbaugh depends on the tact of aggression to gain his points. That doesn’t look so good when one aggresses on the prez, especially when we are talking about a president who’s made it one of his tools to be even handed and not aggressive. Limbaugh may think he could definitely do some damage at this point, but mostly it would be to himself and his party.

  6. Beverly said on March 8th, 2009 at 11:36am #

    Don’t waste your hearing, your eyesight, or your time Mr. Weisser. Stop watching CNN.

    An electronic high five to Mulga Mumblebrain’s comments.

  7. Paul Magill Smith said on March 9th, 2009 at 4:32pm #

    Thanks, Mike, but I’m surprised I saw no mention of MSNBC in your article. The triple threat of Matthews (sometimes asking tough questions), Olberman (offering ‘special comments’ most Americans should be very familiar with, but sadly are not), and Maddow’s delightful sarcasm are the ‘balance’ we need.

    We should not be so foolish as believe the primary focus of massively consolidated news (?) sources give a rat’s ass about anything other than their bottom line. They are reeds blowing in the direction of whatever fair wind blows money their way. Rather than truthfully inform us their mission is to sell to us, and it is obvious they will also distract us in any way possible whenever vital & meaningful issues conflict with their financial interests. Your statement, “… the liberal media is only as liberal as their conservative owners allow them to be.” speaks truth in volumes.

    Whenever we see insignificant ‘fluff’ pushed by the MSM we should remember the essence of Jefferson’s, “The price of liberty is constant vigilance”, and be tuned into Congressional hearings on C-SPAN 1, 2, & 3