Rush knew what he was doing.
His characterization of Donavan McNabb as an overrated NFL quarterback (because McNabb is black) was a trap. Gottcha.
It is not a racist act to accuse the media‘s football coverage of being slanted on skin color. It is only an opinion. If you listened to or read Rush Limbaugh‘s remarks on ESPN TV about the Philadelphia Eagles‘ QB and didn‘t know who was speaking, you may have considered the words insensitive - but certainly not racist. When Limbaugh discusses race, however (and most anything else), divisiveness is sure to follow.
Rush knows football. Football is his passion and he watches it religiously. Yet, his statement that degrades McNabb‘s abilities is absurd - and Limbaugh knows it. McNabb has one of the strongest arms and is certainly the best running QB in the NFL. He has been voted into the Pro Bowl (pro football‘s all-star game) and his play helped lift a mediocre team to elite status in a very short time. The Philadelphia Eagles have won 36 of 58 games in which McNabb has started. Many experts think McNabb is underrated and maybe the most valuable player in the league.
Also, Limbaugh‘s charge that “the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well“ is laughable. There are plenty of black QB‘s doing well in the NFL - Michael Vick, Steve McNair, etc. Also, since 70% of current NFL players are black, why would there be any liberal media bias (as Rush insinuates) to promote blacks unduly in a sport where relatively few whites are even playing?
Rush is not stupid. He knew his comments would create a firestorm in the media and put El Rushbo in the spotlight where he longs to be. He has been accused of racism in the past and knew any opinion of his regarding race would automatically bring a knee-jerk reaction from his critics.
So, why did he do it? Rush must be anxious about his future earning power. His radio audience peaked years ago. His first fling with a television show in the 1990‘s ended quickly and with a big thud. With the Clintons out of office almost three years now, it is a little more difficult to blame the world‘s ills on Bill and Hillary and keep a straight face. Limbaugh‘s reign as conservative talk-show king may be in peril.
Rush has been preaching to the choir for a long time now with few new converts. He must have believed this gig as a football analyst on ESPN was a potential coup for the Rush Limbaugh radio show. The TV roundtable provided a forum to be taken seriously in front of people other than same old Dittoheads who regularly listen to the radio program.
I‘ll bet Rush was thinking, “Let‘s see, what is the best way to be noticed by more potential radio listeners (men aged 25-35) who are also the largest audience for the ESPN TV show? “Aha, I‘ve got it: cause a commotion by pulling out the race card on the ESPN telecast. “Then point out to the world why it was not a racist statement - only an opinion twisted into racism by the liberal media.“
It seemed like a brilliant maneuver - Rush immediately got the attention he craved. Every TV news program ran interviews of those who disagreed with Rush‘s statements -on and on and on. In the end, the criticism was so severe, though, Rush had to resign.
Whatever happened to standing up for principle? If his remarks were not racist (I don‘t believe they were), why didn‘t Limbaugh hang in there and deal with the fallout?
What Rush didn‘t bargain for was the fact that he can‘t censor opposing opinions as he does on his radio show. When insensitive comments are made on talk radio, it is expected. Loyal listeners laugh and demand even more. People who disagree with radio hosts rarely receive air-time.
When insensitive remarks are made on national TV, the dynamic changes. Ask Michael Savage if you don‘t believe me. A cross-section of Americans with a wide range of opinions tune in to these broadcasts. Opposing beliefs cannot be dismissed so easily.
I don‘t know if Rush is a racist or not - he insists he is not. There is one thing that Rush Limbaugh would have to admit, though. He can dish it out, but he can‘t take it.