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HOWARD ROSENBERG / TELEVISION

Limbaugh Devotees Rush to His Defense

July 11, 1994|HOWARD ROSENBERG

Dittoheads (as Rush Limbaugh disciples call themselves) unite!

The old mailbag is bulging with comments--overwhelmingly critical--about recent columns concerning radio/TV personality Rush Limbaugh. The first column faulted Limbaugh for mocking the pain of a lobster that was sliced open and pan-fried alive during a "Today" show cooking segment.

Ridiculing his self-anointment as a one-man truth squad, the second column drew largely from an extensive list of Limbaugh "whoppers" compiled by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a New York media watchdog far to the left of Limbaugh's rabid conservatism.

As these letters show, the source of the biggest whoppers is in dispute.

*

I am neither a dittohead nor an apologist for Rush Limbaugh. I am a man of my own wit, with which I take aim at your article. Of the eight bulleted Limbaugh items you cite that included a FAIR rebuttal, I would take issue with FAIR on four of them. Hmmm, I believe that gives you about the same percentage of accuracy, in my book, as Limbaugh, according to your own "truth-o-meter," that is.

The first three are mainly contextual issues and matters of convenient interpretation. They are nothing compared to the total misinformation FAIR rendered on President James Madison.

Rush: We have staked the future . . . upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.

FAIR quoted an associate editor of "The Madison Papers" as saying this is "entirely inconsistent with everything we know about Madison's views on religion and government."

This is revisionism at its worst. Here (as quoted in "The Myth of Separation" by David Barton) is precisely what Madison said: "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."

RICK CROWELL

Santa Clarita

On the assumption that you selected the most telling points published by FAIR, it is obvious that if these are their most powerful points, they don't got nuttin'. Could the L.A. Times pass such a fine-toothed-comb test? NBC News? CBS or ABC or CNN?

HARVEY B. SCHECHTER

Sherman Oaks

Eat your heart out. Why don't you and Clinton get your own radio show and stop harassing Rush? You liberals have Michael Jackson, Jerry Brown, public radio, Don Imus, plus many others. So stop your whining. With all the lies you and your paper and the liberal media have told us, along with the Clintons, there wouldn't be enough trees in America to publish them all!

ALEXANDRA WEIT

Los Angeles

You characterized as "crude" and "low burlesque" Rush Limbaugh's segment on the lobster cooking. You described the lobster as "poor" and cited experts on invertebrates in relating that ". . . lobsters are complex creatures that have a brain and sensitivity to pain."

You obviously missed Limbaugh's point. Pre-born babies--"fetuses" in pro-abortion terms--are also complex creatures that have a brain and sensitivity to pain. Limbaugh's point was to make us ask ourselves why we care that a " . . . live lobster had its tail cut off and its body slit opened before being sauteed--still writhing . . . " and we care not that thousands of pre-born children endure much more agonizing and painful deaths every day in the legal abortion slaughterhouses in this country.

PAM TAYLOR

Little Rock, Ark.

I can't see anything dangerous about Limbaugh, but he does represent something dangerous. This is the Butt-head notion that cruelty is funny, clever, witty or chic. Limbaugh's gloating over the lobster was of a piece with his taunting of River Phoenix's parents over the death of their son.

Ganging up and picking on a person or animal that is vulnerable in some way, and enjoying its pain, is not unusual in children. Perhaps it's curiosity or a way to exercise power over something. However, most of us grow out of it, as we develop some imagination and useful skills.

It's predictable that some of the verbal hatred leads to action--to assaults, harassment and housing or job discrimination. Our century shows that things can get much worse without the traditional values of kindness, compassion and fairness. If ridicule of these values is seen as evidence of wit or originality, we may be in trouble. This is the danger Limbaugh represents.

ALLAN STEWART-OATEN

Santa Barbara

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