While on the air Thursday, conservative gasbag Rush Limbaugh took exception with Fox News anchor Shepard Smith’s plea on Wednesday for pundits and politicians to pull back on their hyperbole over the Ebola cases in Texas. Smith utilized a few minutes of air time on Wednesday to provide only the facts on the Ebola virus and point out that America is not dealing with an outbreak. He asked that those in the media be more responsible in their coverage of the story and that radio and television personalities stop fear mongering in an effort to stir up panic for political gain.
Well, this didn’t sit well with El Rushbo on Thursday. Ever since the story broke that a man in Texas had contracted Ebola while in West Africa and carried the disease with him to the United States, Limbaugh has made it his mission to blame President Obama for it and stoke as much fear as possible. While Limbaugh has definitely not been alone in this endeavor, his megaphone is one of the largest around, as despite sagging ratings, he still has the #1 radio program in America.
Limbaugh first claimed that he wasn’t trying to cause panic. Instead, he was just displaying concern because of the incompetence of the Obama Administration and other government departments.
Below is from the transcript of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
There is no desire here to spread a panic, and I am not secretly harboring a belief that we have a wide outbreak and they’re not telling us. I don’t believe that. Not yet. My concern is what it always is. One thing you can count on. Whether you’re a new Article here, whether you’re a veteran, one thing you can count on from me is consistency.
If there are people who are fearful of a panic out there, or if there are people who think they’re not being told the truth, it’s because we have a level of incompetence I have yet to see in my life prior to this. The point that I’m trying to make with all of these things I highlight is the utter incompetence of the people that you think are trustworthy in these institutions that everybody counts on.
Limbaugh then proceeded to induce panic in his audience over an upcoming epidemic by claiming the government isn’t going to do anything about it. They won’t try to contain the virus on West Africa. Instead, they will just allow it to spread further. They will continue to reject ideas from good, God-fearing conservatives who truly care about America for purely political reasons.
Therefore, per Rush, he is just “trying to alert” the audience in anticipation of the upcoming elections so they choose wisely. They can either stick with the incompetent leaders currently in charge of certain institutions who are going to bring death and destruction to our country via a deadly virus, or they can elect more Republicans who will fix everything.
My point to you is, just like with Obamacare, and just like with a number of other things with this administration, the election coming up in November is crucial, and whatever is really known about this is not going to be shared with us until after that point. But more than that, I’m just trying to alert you to be curious and to question some of these things that you’re hearing, because it’s nonsensical.
I think it’s not too powerful to say it’s tragic that we have such levels of incompetence in positions of leadership that are really important. Now, I know why we have such a high degree of incompetence. It’s because the people that are choosing those to lead these institutions are themselves incompetent and have never really done anything. They’ve not accomplished anything.
Anyway, one other thing, folks, about the criticism here. I just want you to understand, the same people who are illustrating their blatant incompetence in all of this, they’re the same people telling you that there is global warming. They are the same people telling you you’re not paying enough in taxes. The same people that promised you shovel-ready jobs and stimulus spending. These are the same people that told you you could keep your doctor. The same people told you you can keep your insurance plan if you liked it, lied to you about that, same people.
Obviously, Shep Smith touched a nerve with Limbaugh. In Limbaugh’s mind, he sees Fox News as kindred spirits if not direct allies. While he occasionally will criticize the network, he only does so if he feels they aren’t pushing the conservative narrative enough regarding a specific subject. When one of the network’s most visible anchors blasts the Conservative Entertainment Complex, it feels like a direct betrayal. Sure, Smith is perhaps the only one that has any credibility left at the network, but he still works for Roger Ailes and needs to toe the company line. Limbaugh is essentially telling those at Fox News that Shep needs to be put in his place.
While it was genuinely refreshing to see someone at Fox News, of all places, call out the right-wing noise machine for being irresponsible, it isn’t going to stop Limbaugh and others. It will only embolden them. Expect non-stop fear mongering and Chicken Little declarations for the next three weeks, minimum.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).