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Who Elevates The Naysayer?


It was reported in Yahoo’s news website that Rush Limbaugh called President Barack Obama immature, inexperienced, in over his head, offering the country radical leadership, and laying siege to the American economy.  The comments were made as part of an hour long Fox News Sunday featuring Mr. Limbaugh as the lone guest.  Mr. Limbaugh was interviewed from his home in Palm Beach, Florida.

The Obama administration has labeled the Fox network as the voice of the radical right wing of the Republican Party.  The Fox network has made its contempt of the Obama administration plane long before Mr. Obama was elected and long before he took office.  On Mr. Obama’s inauguration day, while all the other networks were celebrating a new President of the United States and all the events associated with a changing of the executive branch, Fox bucked the trend and focused on former President George “Dubya” Bush as he returned to his Crawford, Texas ranch as a civilian.  The Fox focus was on Mr. Bush’s last trip on Air Force Once and the small assemblage of people who came to the airport to welcome Mr. Bush home.

Since that January day the Fair and Balanced station has been heavy on the negative criticism against Mr. Obama.  There has been no balance of reporting anything from a positive perspective.  So it is no surprise that Fox would give any high profile character willing to express disgust at Mr. Obama a forum to spew that rage.  So it is no surprise that Fox would feature Mr. Limbaugh.  But what is surprising is the fact that so many other broadcasting networks want to get onto this story and report what Mr. Limbaugh said about Mr. Obama as well as if it was news.

With all the attention given to Mr. Limbaugh, the news reporters trying to stir controversy will ask Mr. Obama’s closest advisors for a comment on what Mr. Limbaugh said.  Of course, the advisors will dismiss Mr. Limbaugh’s criticism as nothing important.  In fact while making an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer, David Axelrod, the Senior Advisor to the President, said that Mr. Limbaugh is an entertainer while the President has to run the country.

With all that said, a lot of people are criticizing the Obama administration for taking their eyes off the national prize in order to respond to people like Rush Limbaugh.  The question some people are asking is whether or not Mr. Obama and his staff are better off ignoring the negative criticism coming from the Fox network.  To be seen as engaging in some kind of argument with Mr. Limbaugh is interpreted as diminishing the office of the President and elevating Mr. Limbaugh as something closer to an equal.  And if that’s the case, then why asks for a comment to something Mr. Limbaugh may have said?

Mr. Limbaugh is much more than a simple entertainer.  While it may be true that he holds no political office and he is paid handsomely for his ability to attract an audience of conservatives to listen to his radio show, his special brand of entertainment wreaks of editorials and commentary meant to influence his audience’s opinion and consequently to influence politics.  When Fox gives Mr. Limbaugh an hour long forum to broadcast his disdain for all things Obama, it is trying to influence politics as well.  And to allow such influence to foment without a retort simply invites a dip in favorability ratings and public opinion.

The idea that the President or his staff elevates a political naysayer when they respond to criticism is not true.  The naysayer is elevated when they are given carte blanch to influence the public when he or she is given a public forum to broadcast a messages of derision.  When the Fox network made the decision to put Mr. Limbaugh on to criticize the President, they made a step to elevate Mr. Limbaugh.  When the other networks reported what Mr. Limbaugh said and prompted the President’s closest advisors to respond, they helped to elevate Mr. Limbaugh.

When people say that the Obama administration is playing into their political opponents’ hands by responding to the questions asking for a response, they are helping to elevate the story, they are helping to elevate Mr. Limbaugh, and they are helping to stir controversy and diminish the office of the President.  In fact we all contribute to this equivalency when we give baseless criticism a chance to spread like gossip at a barber shop.  It diminishes the President to defend his character, his position, his office against a lower life form given free reign to spread unwarranted criticism?  That is very doubtful.

Monday, November 2, 2009 - Posted by | Barack Obama, Life, Politics, Rush Limbaugh, Thoughts

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