Despicable: MSNBC’s Reid, Guests Gleefully Spit on Rush Limbaugh’s Grave


With Wednesday’s passing of conservative icon Rush Limbaugh, venom coarsened through the left and their media pals as many openly celebrated his death. MSNBC’s The ReidOut was no exception with host Joy Reid, conservative-turned-ardent liberal Charlie Sykes, and Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank rhetorically spitting on his grave as having made Americans dumber and taught white Americans to hate minorities.

They also insisted Limbaugh proved conservatives didn’t actually care about ethics, including the ideological turncoat and thrice-married Sykes, who said Limbaugh was “not a deep thinker” and made millions of proles (that he himself made a living off of) “crueler,” “dumber,” “more dishonest,” and open to using “ad hominem attacks.”

 

 

Reid teased the 10 minutes of hate before a break by saying that Limbaugh created a Republican Party “that exists not to govern, but to lead insurrections, to lie, and to troll Democrats.” If that’s what Republicans are, then what would one say about what people like Reid’s MSNBC colleagues do?

The segment itself began with Reid’s insistence that Limbaugh and Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch are the three individuals who created “the modern Republican Party” with nothing having been contributed by Ronald Reagan or a member of the Bush family.

After noting Operation Chaos, Reid said that effort “contributed to the polarization of American politics and….injecting chaos and sexism, manipulation, racism, and dirty tricks directly into the artery of the Republican Party, bloodying people up, rather than faking compassionate conservatism and trying to get crossover votes.”

In other words, Reid argued the entire right has always been evil, but it took Limbaugh to make it so blatant.

The anti-Semitic, homophobic, and racist host then threw dirt on Limbaugh’s grave and the eyes of white people who, unlike her, live “out in rural America” and aren’t wealthy because Limbaugh supposedly taught them to hate people who look like her (click “expand”)

Rush ultimately got his way. Rush Limbaugh reached millions of listeners via his golden microphone with his shows airing in small stations out in rural America, that even Fox News couldn’t reach, hardening rural white listeners and weaponizing white male grievance. It was the perfect inheritance for a President who would take Rush-style politics right to the White House and ultimately pin a Presidential Medal of Freedom on one of the GOP’s real architects.

(….)

And what I heard was a guy who took white Americans, out there in the hinterlands and — and fed them a narrative of, you’re the victim. No, no, you’re the victim. Don’t feel like there’s any privileges coming to you. You’re the victim, the black people, the brown people, the women, the feminanazis, they’re taking it from you. They’re taking things from you. And it kept people so hyper and amped up that he then was able to turn that into politics.

Despite the fact that he wouldn’t have been able to rake in dough from MSNBC and The Bulwark if it weren’t for Rush popularizing talk radio, Sykes falsely insisted “it’s a little bit painful” to be so cruel “on the day that he dies,” before smearing Limbaugh as “an entertainer” who “was not a deep thinker” or “thought leader” that “played a very central role in the derangement of” the American right.

Sykes then upped the poison against those opposed to him:

So his legacy is a conservative movement that is, in fact, more dishonest, more open to dishonesty, crueler, dumber than it was before. And you can’t understand Donald Trump without understanding that Rush Limbaugh was, in many ways, not — not just the guy that — that laid the groundwork for him, but in many ways, a role model in the way that you could twist truth. The way that you could use insults and ad hominem attacks instead of actually dealing with ideas. Because, you know, the bottom line, dirty secret about Rush Limbaugh is he was utterly uninterested in ideas. He was much more — he was much more interested in the kind of smash mouth, own-the-liberals politics that Donald Trump was so good at.

He then ruled Limbaugh was such a heartless ghoul that, “even when he was confronted with his own mortality, he saved the worst for the last” with “indefensible” rhetoric about the 2020 election.

Reid continued this Olympiad of the demonic, again showing her racist side by arguing that Limbaugh “racialized…white Americans to hate the Affordable Care Act” and was enabled by “his black sidekick as a cover…to do that outright racist stuff.”

His name is Bo Snerdley (with his real name being James Golden), but go on, Joy.

For his part, Milbank engaged in a case of projection, lashing out at Glenn Beck, Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, Limbaugh, and the modern right as enemies and “opponent[s] of democracy” while decrying them for telling followers to view leftists as “the enemy.”

 

 

The irony flew through the roof towards the end of the segment when Reid lamented to the morally-plagued Sykes that Limbaugh’s drug addiction and multiple marriages “broke the Republican Party from the whole moral majority idea” where “moral underpinning[s]” shouldn’t matter (click “expand”):

REID: You know, just like Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh was this rich, privileged guy, never missed a meal, never had a problem, you know, financially, but who also kind of broke the Republican Party from the whole moral majority idea. You know, multiple marriages, they set it aside. The drug addiction issues, they set it — every kind of moral underpinning that Republicans claimed, he said, nah, forget all of that stuff. All you want to do is own the libs. Own the libs every day. And he was mad at the Republican Party for a long time that they wouldn’t do it. And finally, they not only did it, but elected his doppelgänger to be President. 

SYKES: Well, that’s an interesting point. Because, you know, really, you can understand why these two guys bonded with one another. Because they kind of reveled in the fact that they could say anything and do anything.

REID: Yes.

SYKES: That Rush Limbaugh can go on the air and refer to a coed as a slut or make fun of Chelsea Clinton, a 13-year-old young woman, make fun of the disabled, and yet you still survive. You never apologize and you can hear a lot of conservatives saying Rush Limbaugh was, you know, this funny entertainer and you know, he had some amusing parodies. But you look back on it and what he did was he normalized so much of this…But look, Rush Limbaugh had a moment, if you want to be a thought leader, he could have pushed back on some of this, but he didn’t. And again, here we’re at. And I’m sorry to be having this conversation on the day that he died but his legacy is so much with us now and you just cannot understand the modern conservative movement without understanding the way that he transformed it. 

Want know what a refusal to see humanity in those with opposing views looks like? See those above and you’ll see three perfect examples.

This venomous spitting on Limbaugh’s grave was made possible thanks to the support of ReidOut advertisers such as Safelite, Sandals, TD Ameritrade, and Uber. Follow the links to the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back pages to see their contact information.

To see the relevant MSNBC transcript from February 17, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s The ReidOut
February 17, 2021
7:16 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

JOY REID: Up next on The ReidOut, the Republican Party that Rush Limbaugh helped create and Trump inherited, it’s a party that exists not to govern, but to lead insurrections, to lie, and to troll Democrats. 

(….)

7:21 p.m. Eastern

REID: Rush Limbaugh died today at the age of 70 from the complications of lung cancer. And I would argue that he is among the three people in recent American history who had the most influence in building the modern Republican Party. None of whom are named Reagan or Bush. This is a party that was built by right-wing media, by Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch and Rush Limbaugh. They influenced the way Republicanism and conservatism sound and the way it attacks its opponents and what generations of self-described conservatives think. One of crusades during the 2008 primaries was called Operation Chaos, an obsession on his part to change the way Republicans do politics, by urging his listeners to vote en masse for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in Democratic primaries to keep the perceived weaker candidate and the one who represented the feminists he had so villainized for year as feminanazis in the race.

RUSH LIMBAUGH [in May 2008]: The success, or the definition of sucesss, is Operation Chaos, is just that — is there chaos? The original purpose of this, before the Texas and Ohio primaries, was to make sure that Obama got bloodied up politically. [SCREEN WIPE] I want Hillary to stay in this, Laura. This is too good a soap opera. We need a Barack Obama bloodied up politically and it’s obvious the Republicans are not going to do it and don’t have the stomach for it. [SCREEN WIPE] The point of this is to extend it exactly as it has been extended. To have these people go at each other’s throats. Obama has now been bloodied. He’s no longer this messianic candidate. She already has half the country that hates her, according to disapproval numbers, so we’ve succeeded here even beyond our wildest objectives. 

REID: You hear that? Well, the campaign didn’t succeed. Barack Obama did get the nomination and a lot of people wrote it all off as a failure at the time. But Operation Chaos had contributed to the polarization of American politics and more importantly, the idea of injecting chaos and sexism, manipulation, racism, and dirty tricks directly into the artery of the Republican Party, bloodying people up, rather than faking compassionate conservatism and trying to get crossover votes, that ultimately would become the defining feature of Republican politics. Rush ultimately got his way. Rush Limbaugh reached millions of listeners via his golden microphone with his shows airing in small stations out in rural America, that even Fox News couldn’t reach, hardening rural white listeners and weaponizing white male grievance. It was the perfect inheritance for a President who would take Rush-style politics right to the White House and ultimately pin a Presidential Medal of Freedom on one of the GOP’s real architects. Joining me now is Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, and Charlie Sykes, longtime conservative talk radio host and editor in large of The Bulwark. I’m so glad that you guys are here today. You guys were booked on the perfect day to talk about this. Cause Charlie, you used to be in talk radio. I used to be in talk radio. I used to listened to Rush Limbaugh just because you want to listen to the people who were the best at the craft, right? So, I would listen to him. I would listen to his show. And what I heard was a guy who took white Americans, out there in the hinterlands and — and fed them a narrative of, you’re the victim. No, no, you’re the victim. Don’t feel like there’s any privileges coming to you. You’re the victim, the black people, the brown people, the women, the  feminanazis, they’re taking it from you. They’re taking things from you. And it kept people so hyper and amped up that he then was able to turn that into politics. And he said, the Republicans don’t have the stomach for it, but he did. Ultimately, do you believe — do you agree with me that he and Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes ultimately built the current Republican Party? 

CHARLIE SYKES: Oh, absolutely. There’s no question about it. You can’t overstate Rush Limbaugh’s role in basically building up the entertainment wing of the GOP to be absolutely dominant. So, I mean, it’s a little bit painful, talking about it the day on the that he dies, because I’ve been working on a piece for Dana’s newspaper where I argue that right now we are all living in the world of Rush Limbaugh, made in his own image when you think about what he did and the influence that he had. He was an entertainer. He was not a deep thinker. He was not a thought leader. But he shaped so much of the way the right wing transformed itself, over the last few years. He popularized what — what — you know, he popularized conservative ideas, but he also played a very central role in the derangement of it. So his legacy is a conservative movement that is, in fact, more dishonest, more open to dishonesty, crueler, dumber than it was before. And you can’t understand Donald Trump without understanding that Rush Limbaugh was, in many ways, not — not just the guy that — that laid the groundwork for him, but in many ways, a role model in the way that you could twist truth. The way that you could use insults and ad hominem attacks instead of actually dealing with ideas. Because, you know, the bottom line, dirty secret about Rush Limbaugh is he was utterly uninterested in ideas. He was much more — he was much more interested in the kind of smash mouth, own-the-liberals politics that Donald Trump was so good at. And he was also really one of the pioneers in convincing conservatives to look the other way about lies and conspiracy theories. So, it is a dark legacy and one of the real tragedies here, because it’s a human tragedy, is that even when he was confronted with his own mortality, he saved the worst for the last. Some of the things that he did in the last six months of his life were among the most indefensible things he ever did and right now, you look around us, and everything can be traced back to Rush Limbaugh and his influence. 

REID: Well, I mean, it’s absolutely true. I mean, you know, Dana, he called, you know, the Affordable Care Acts, you know, secret reparations and racialized something that had no racial undertone to it, other than it definitely lifted people of color on average, you know, more, because black and brown people had less health care, right? But he racialized and he got white Americans to hate the Affordable Care Act. He called President Obama Barrack the magic Negro and used his black sidekick as a cover to be able to do that outright racist stuff. I mean, if any person other than Donald Trump would have been President, it would have been him. Because he basically was President for the last four years. 

DANA MILBANK: Yeah, that’s a crucial point, Joy. And you mentioned Barack the Magic Negro. I think that was 2007. It was a few years before Trump started with the birther nonsense.

REID: Yep.

MILBANK: So, in that, way, you can see how Rush was breaking the ice, making the pathway for him. Charlie’s point is excellent. It’s not really about conservatism. You know, before there was Rush, there was Ronald Reagan, there was Barry Goldwater. What Rush brought to the table was attitude, was hatred. He was gaining power in his sphere in the late ‘80s and the early ’90s, exactly when Newt Gingrich was taking over in the House. And it became — the notion of moving the Republican Party and, you know, to a large part, the conservative movement, away from being a cooperating participant in American democracy to being an opponent of democracy, so we’ve seen all the components of that: the conspiracy theories, the racism, the — the detachment from reality. And also, the notion that your opponent is not sort of the loyal opposition, but it’s the enemy. 

REID: Yeah.

MILBANK: So in that sense, you know, Rush created this world that Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity went on to further. But we’re all living in his world. 

REID: Well, and you know, what’s interesting too, Charlie, is that, you know, these kind of figures, you always talk about people who go to war against their own class. FDR who fought the rich to make sure that there was a massive sort of social underpinning. You know, just like Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh was this rich, privileged guy, never missed a meal, never had a problem, you know, financially, but who also kind of broke the Republican Party from the whole moral majority idea. You know, multiple marriages, they set it aside. The drug addiction issues, they set it — every kind of moral underpinning that Republicans claimed, he said, nah, forget all of that stuff. All you want to do is own the libs. Own the libs every day. And he was mad at the Republican Party for a long time that they wouldn’t do it. And finally, they not only did it, but elected his doppelgänger to be President. 

SYKES: Well, that’s an interesting point. Because, you know, really, you can understand why these two guys bonded with one another. Because they kind of reveled in the fact that they could say anything and do anything.

REID: Yes.

SYKES: That Rush Limbaugh can go on the air and refer to a coed as a slut or make fun of Chelsea Clinton, a 13-year-old young woman, make fun of the disabled, and yet you still survive. You never apologize and you can hear a lot of conservatives saying Rush Limbaugh was, you know, this funny entertainer and you know, he had some amusing parodies. But you look back on it and what he did was he normalized so much of this. Normalized these racial — the racial attacks. Normalized mocking people for their illnesses, including AIDS victims. You know, people who suffer from AIDS. And normalized that and got the Republican base used to it. So that by the time Trump came along —

REID: Yeah.

SYKES: — they had become accustomed to shrugging off — well, that’s — he’s just — he’s just being funny. But look, Rush Limbaugh had a moment, if you want to be a thought leader, he could have pushed back on some of this, but he didn’t. 

REID: Yep.

SYKES: And again, here we’re at. And I’m sorry to be having this conversation on the day that he died —

REID: Yep.

SYKES: — but his legacy is so much with us now and you just cannot understand the modern conservative movement without understanding the way that he transformed it. 

REID: Absolutely. Last question very quickly to you, Dana. There’s a thing that happens when sort of the leader of a movement, you know, is gone. And Rush Limbaugh is sort of sui generis. There isn’t another person at his level in terms of talk radio. With him and Roger Ailes now, you know, gone and departed, what happens to this movement? Because Donald Trump is not on the radio? Like, there’s — who inherits that role?

MILBANK: Everybody in the party is trying to inherit that role now. There is nothing left of the party, except the Rush Limbaugh, the Donald Trump types and you see that — what happened with Mitch McConnell being decimated, are even though he actually defended Donald Trump during the impeachment trial itself. So I think you have —

REID: Yeah.

MILBANK: — you have 50 Rush Limbaugh clones in the Senate at this point. Well, 43. 

REID: Absolutely. And Mitch McConnell — well, Mitch McConnell can’t control any one of them. Not one. Dana Milbank, Charlie Sykes, thank you both for being here. Really appreciate you both.



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