Rush Limbaugh is dying: he’s been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, which has a survival rate of well below 10%. I suppose it’s that diagnosis, as well as Limbaugh’s relentless promotion of Donald Trump, that prompted Trump to bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom on him at Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
Limbaugh is an odious character: a true spokeman for the real “Basket of Deplorables” who elected Trump. He’s a hatemonger, a sexist and a nativist, if not a racist, and I have no use for him. The Medal of Freedom award is a travesty and outrageous, but given the circumstances I can’t get too worked up about it.
Still, he’s married (though without kids) and there are presumably people who care about him. Can you not help feeling a bit of empathy for a man who’s been told that he almost certainly will die soon? It’s a horrible thing to learn.
Nevertheless, there are people who are using these circumstances to reiterate what a horrible man he is. One of them is Talmon Joseph Smith’s in today’s New York Times Sunday Review, who presents a bunch of pretty horrible quotes from Limbaugh over the years. Click on the screenshot:
The introduction to the quotes, which I admit are racist, sexist, and generally deplorable, is snarky, implicitly opposing Limbaugh to people considered true heroes (I guess Smith hasn’t gotten the news about Mother Teresa yet):
During his third State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Trump presented the country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to the longtime conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, who recently announced he has late-stage lung cancer. Past recipients of the award include Elie Wiesel, Rosa Parks and Mother Teresa. Mr. Trump told Mr. Limbaugh he was being recognized for “the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire.” Millions more have perhaps never listened to his popular radio program. For those who haven’t, here is a selection of his comments on various issues.
Of course all the quotes will make the hairs on your neck stand up, but note the seemingly neutral way the article is presented, though it damns Limbaugh by using his own words.
Maybe readers will disagree with me, but I think it’s a supreme example of bad taste to publish an article like this about a man who is dying. After he’s dead—sure, by all means have at him. I have no quarrel, for example, with Christopher Hitchens famously excoriating Jerry Falwell after the man’s death. But there’s something unseemly about going after a guy, and in such a snarky way, when he’s got one foot in the grave. But this is today’s New York Times, the organ of an ideology without empathy for its opponents.
Can’t they wait until he’s dead?