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*Includes some of Limbaugh's most famous quotes
*Includes a bibliography for further reading
"Greetings, conversationalists across the fruited plain, this is Rush Limbaugh, the most dangerous man in America, with the largest hypothalamus in North America, serving humanity simply by opening my mouth, destined for my own wing in the Museum of Broadcasting, executing everything I do flawlessly with zero mistakes, doing this show with half my brain tied behind my back just to make it fair because I have talent on loan from...God. Rush Limbaugh. A man. A legend. A way of life." - Rush Limbaugh, 1991
With the advent of several controversial social movements in subsequent decades, a non-traditional style of editorial persona began to take control of the news machinery in America. The weighing of ideas gave way to exclusive promotion of a specific world view, and the omission of all opposition within a devotee's range of hearing. The general population, the branches of government, and the media entered an era of divisiveness as cable television and talk radio altered the equation by which we once interacted. These important social movements of the mid-20th century, intended to enhance the status of marginalized groups, factionalized the nation in the process. New battle lines between race, gender, and political ideology brought about a similarly fragmented group of media organizations, each catering to those sharing its worldview. Finessed shadings of mutual discussion were banished as opposing arguments were negated entirely, bringing about the current era of hyperpartisanship.
Charismatic presidents and fierce resistance have always existed together, but as the news media broke into disparate engines of political and social influence, new faces were needed, each emblematic of his or her own "congregation." The American right found the voice it needed in the supremely gifted Rush Hudson Limbaugh III. A Missourian with a lifelong love of radio, Limbaugh possessed an unmatchable rhetorical reflex, a well-informed sense of each argument's gist, and a flair for the politically incorrect. The humor, glibly delivered, was associated with sensitivities of the boomer generation's canon of cultural symbols. Once crowned as the champion of the right, Limbaugh went on to man the most popular radio talk show in America for over three decades. Such was the allure of his particular brand of on-air theater that his enemies are, by their own admission, still captivated and unable to look away. The more outrageous the style, the more compelling became the need to listen. Limbaugh eventually stood out from the radio's iconic influencers to such a degree that his sway over actual legislative and executive process made him an influential shaper of the national attitude.
Limbaugh's radio extravaganza acts much like a restrictive social network itself, with informal pressure exerted upon listeners to conform. With other opinions excluded, the audience is given a "heightened sense" of being in the majority. Liberals, at the moment less galvanized, have become intimidated and less settled in their own beliefs, while a large component of conservative Americans, perceiving themselves as unheard and railroaded into a failed social philosophy against their will, have simmered with resentment against what was branded by many on the right as social elitism. The offenders could be found among the upper industrial classes, prominent academic institutions, high-rent neighborhoods of blue-bloods exploiting their economic advantage, and progressive activists intent on the establishment of a futuristic order based on a speculative vision. For millions of people, Rush Limbaugh offered just the right voice to rail against the forces that angered these conservatives.