I live in LA, and I’m lucky. I was able to take a Sharpie and redirect the hurricane over Mar-A-Lago Comedienne Stephanie Miller
It’s been one helluva long run, better than anything I think any of the principles ever expected. The run of the far right, FUX News generated bubble sphere has lasted more than a quarter century. But just like that submersible that tried to make one too many trips down to the Titanic, the cracks start to show eve if no one sees them.
I’ll explain. We’ve had the news media, mainstream and otherwise around us for decades. And we’ve had an endless array of media personalities to choose from for our news.
But every once in a while, in whatever media, one personality becomes dominant. For instance, there will ever be only one Jim Henson. Ditto for Fred Rogers. No more Howard Cosels for boxing and football, one Verne Lundquist for March Madness, and never another Vin Scully for baseball. And for national affairs, if you weren’t getting your news from Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley or Barbara Walters, you were sadly misinformed.
And so it was for the far right bubble sphere as well. For some 25 years Rush Limbaugh was the only voice on conservative radio worth listening to. He built what should have been a towering radio empire, until, like Icarus, he slew too close to the sun, called college student Sandra Flook a slut, and social media took care of his fat *ss. On FUX News, Billo-the Clown O’Reilly ruled the roost, until his sexual quirks, like confusing a falafel with a loofah laid him low. Worse, FUX News architect Roger Ailes couldn’t control his glands, and got bounced. The latest media conservative icon has been the filthy Mother Tucker.
But media has changed in the last 25 years. Fewer people listen to radio every day, Sirius has cut in, and more people listen to streaming media or podcasts. And on television, FUX News is now assailed on all sides by renegades like Sinclair Media, NewsMax, OAN, and digital streaming. As long as they had Limbaugh and O’Reilly, FUX and conservative radio were safe and secure. Their audiences weren’t going anywhere.
As Media Matters President Angelo Carusone pointed out today on MSNBC, the 2022 midterms were the first elections held in 25 years without the verbal spew and venom of Rush Limbaugh dominating the airwaves. Say what you want about Limbaugh, and I have nothing good to say, his following was legion, and a single word from his lips was enough to open the floodgates to the polls. The same thing went for O’Reilly. Since Bill-o, FUX Has burned through Sean Hannity, Cruella de Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson. Carlson came the closest to O’Reilly, but he’s banished to the outlands of The platform formally known as Twitter.
A couple of points here. I do this pretty much as a passion and a vocation, I don’t make enough for a living. And as a result, I tend to keep my ear to the media ground, especially since Flush Limbaugh cut us all a break. And I have yet to hear, in any media outlet, even heard a whisper of anybody in conservative radio, even on Sirius XM that’s even on the path to recreating Limbaugh’s empire. And Carlson at his zenith never seriously approached O’Reilly’s death grip on his audience.
FUX knows they’re in trouble. According to MSNBC today, FUX News has devoted a full 22% of their GOP primary coverage to Traitor Tot out of a 10 candidate field. Shades of 2016. But Trump holds nothing if not a grudge, and is skipping the Wednesday night GOP debate of FUX to appear with Mother Tucker instead. Which should be fun, since Elon Musk’s wet dream crashed for his highly touted Ron DeSantis announcement, which figures to garner far fewer viewers than a Trump-Carlson lovefest.
For almost a quarter of a century two men, Limbaugh on conservative radio, and O’Reilly on FUX News literally commanded a turnout machine juggernaut. Both are gone. And there’s no one on the horizon to replace them, especially since the grounds of engagement have changed. But ask yourself this one simple question. If Rush Limbaugh had still been alive in 2022, and if he had picked a pet peeve, gone on air with it, and turned the heat to high, might that have been enough to alter the voter turnout, and with it the results of the 2022 midterms? We’ll never know.