‘Radio’s Greatest’: A must-read book on Rush Limbaugh and his show
Rush Limbaugh is one of the most important and controversial figures in the history of American radio. His radio crusade on the airwaves helped make him both a major celebrity and a political legend. In the process, he became one of the very few prominent personalities to transcend partisan politics for almost two decades.
That’s why it’s so depressing and maddening to me that the best-selling book on Rush Limbaugh is the one by a political pundit who claims to be a Limbaugh apologist.
That book, “The Right’s Rush Limbaugh,” begins with a disclaimer from the author, James Lileks, who declares the project a “work of political journalism.” The disclaimer reads, in part, “My intention here is to cover the same ground Limbaugh covered over the decade that he devoted to the Right.”
The book, which is a compilation of Lileks’ columns in such publications as The Arizona Republic and a variety of national publications, is a compilation of Lileks’ columns from The Daily Caller, a conservative magazine, to Time Magazine and a variety of other media outlets.
Limbaugh fans are undoubtedly disappointed that their hero is not portrayed in a sympathetic light, especially given Lileks’ claim to be a Limbaugh fan, the author claims. The book begins on a note of celebration and hope for the future, not as the work of political journalism but as the creation of a Limbaugh apologist.
Lileks’ goal is to expose Limbaugh’s flaws. But his first line of defense is to portray Limbaugh as a political activist, who simply took a hard look at the world and found it wanting.
Lileks writes that Limbaugh “chose to become a politician” and that his early political career “was based more on principles and more importantly a belief that it was time to put principle over party. He was a pioneer and a crusader.”
Lileks goes on to say that Limbaugh became a politician and “in doing so he has always been true to who he is.”
The problem with Lileks’ portrayal of Limbaugh as a crusader is that the author does not go into the details of Rush’s early career. I have been reading Limbaugh’s columns for 10 years and have been critical of much of what I have read.