Do Limbaugh and Beck Really Believe The Nonsense They Say?

I’ve speculated multiple times that right wing pundits such as Rush Limbaugh are putting on an act but do not believe the absurd things the say. Scott Adams suggests this. After writing about other entertainers he gets to the right wingers:

All of this gets me to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Both of them have been in the news a lot for their outspoken and controversial views. And once again, people don’t seem to understand that their jobs are entertainment, nothing more.

I enjoy sampling the content from the far left as well as the far right. When I listen to Limbaugh, I generally have two reactions:

  1. I don’t agree with the viewpoint expressed.
  2. This man is an entertainment genius.

Talk show hosts have no legal or ethical obligation to do anything but entertain. And judging by their successes, Limbaugh and Beck are brilliant at their jobs. I find it mind boggling that anyone believes a TV talk host is expressing his own true views.

You could make a case that the things Limbaugh and Beck say influences the gullible masses in ways that are not helpful to society. But that’s probably true of every pundit, left or right. It’s a price of free speech.

Do you think that Limbaugh and Beck have the same views in private as they spray into the entertainmentsphere?


  1. 1
    R Scott Driver says:

    » Do Limbaugh and Beck Really Believe The Nonsense They Say …

  2. 2
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Rush himself has implied that he says things primarily for ‘entertainment’ value and deliberately exagerates his views to sell his product. I don’t think that really makes it any better. The people listening to Rush and nodding their heads like he is Jesus believe every word he says and mean it when they repeat it. So he’s knowingly feeding the beast for the purpose of his personal success and ignoring the consequences.
    Glenn Beck is tougher to nail down. I’ve read Salon’s lengthy hit piece on his career and, while I think they were actually unfair to Beck in their discussion of his drug issues and his history of iffy mental health, their facts were pretty accurate. Given his experiences and moments of clarity, I think Beck likely believes all or most of what he says with all the zealotry of a convert.

  3. 3
    R Scott Driver says:

    » Do Limbaugh and Beck Really Believe The Nonsense They Say …

  4. 4
    Tom Degan says:

    A tale of two marches on Washington….

    One took place in the late summer of 1963, the other in the late summer of 2009. One was promoted by a preacher from Georgia named Martin Luther King, the other by a former “shock jock” from the state of Washington named Glenn Beck. Ouch! Even mentioning the two of them in the same paragraph is somehow disconcerting.

    In 1963, the the people were singing, We Shall Overcome.

    Forty-six years later, the chant was, We Shall Undermine.

    In 1963, a vast and varied demographic of the American people – all races and religions – descended on the nation’s capitol to peaceably and nonviolently protest an injustice that was occurring in certain areas of the country to people of a certain skin pigmentation.

    Forty-six years later, a Convention of Pissed-Off White People – united only by the fact that they were all habitual viewers of a single cable news channel – rolled into Washington to hurl invective at an African American president for creating a mess that he had absolutely nothing to do with creating.

    In 1963, the signs people held up were optimistic: “With Liberty and Justice for All.”

    Forty-six years later, the signs were ominous: “We Came Unarmed – THIS TIME!”

    On August 28, 1963, the hearts of people who marched on the city of Washington DC were filled with love and hope.

    On September 12, 2009 they were just full of shit.

    Let us boil the comparisons down to their juicy essentials, shall we? Martin Luther King had a dream. Glenn Beck has a scheme.

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:


    “The people listening to Rush and nodding their heads like he is Jesus believe every word he says and mean it when they repeat it”

    That’s why I generally respond to the things Rush and the others say as if they meant it, even if I’m not sure that that is the case. As long as there are people who believe what they say, it is worthy of response even if I’m not certain that Rush and other conservative talking heads believe what they are saying.


  6. 6
    Clint says:

    I find it hard to believe that Rush, at least, believes 100% of the inane comments he spews over the radio waves. He’s locked into a persona at this point – one that he knows generates ratings and advertising dollars.
    If I’m particularly groggy in the morning, I’ll turn on his show because my rising level of anger seems to wake me up quite fast.

  7. 7
    Michael McCoy says:

    Beck and Limbaugh get good ratings in the usa because they echo the values of the majority of this nation.  You liberals have no values.  That is why your leaders hire people like Anita Dunn who praise evil dictators like Mao Tse Tung.  Then when they are confronted on it, they run and hide like cockroaches afraid of the light.  Maybe when Jesus comes back and takes the saints home, then all you cockroaches who think mao tse tung was a swell guy can just live in your own little utopia of filth that is now the modern democratic party……

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    I thought I should let through a comment such as above just in case there is any doubt about how absolutely out of touch with reality, and for all practical purposes brain dead, the followers of Beck and Limbaugh are.

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    I know it is futile, but just in case Michael McCoy comes back, I guess we should hit him with a quick dose of reality:

    Beck and Limbaugh are viewed by a tiny percentage of this country. Most of the country finds them to be laughing stocks for the nonsense they say. Rather than echoing the views of the majority, most people reject them for the manner in which they so strongly oppose this country and the values it was founded upon.

    We do not think Mao was a swell guy. We think he was an evil dictator–sort of Bush/Cheney magnified a thousand times.

    Think of this while you are waiting for Jesus to come and take you.

  10. 10
    Eclectic Radical says:

    ‘We do not think Mao was a swell guy. We think he was an evil dictator–sort of Bush/Cheney magnified a thousand times.’
    It’s worth noting, too, that Anita Dunn was not praising Mao as a political leader but as a political philosopher.  I don’t believe she endorses his actions as leader of the Communist Chinese government at all, but I can certainly understand admiration for his role as a leader against the corrupt and totalitarian Kuomintang government of Chiang Kai Shek and for his writings on revolution, freedom, and determination during this period. His political philosophy, before he actually had power, was very different in many ways from what actually happened when he took power. Some of the right wing comments about ‘Mein Kampf’ breal down because Hitler wrote exactly what he would do when he was in charge and it was all evil. Mao, on the other hand, wrote poetic and philosophical homilies about belief, endurance, and freedom that in no way foreshadowed the Cultural Revolution.
    I don’t think it’s necessarily right to admire Mao, even in retrospect, knowing what he became. However, I am a big fan of the writings and speeches of Mikhail Bakunin. So I am open to a certain amount of criticism myself.

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:

    She didn’t endorse him at all. Glenn Beck did what Fox regularly does–edit clips to make it look like Democrats have said things entirely different from what they said. Info on how they cropped the clip to distort it is here.

  12. 12
    Eclectic Radical says:

    ‘She didn’t endorse him at all. Glenn Beck did what Fox regularly does–edit clips to make it look like Democrats have said things entirely different from what they said.’
    Even the full comments give the impression of endorsement. They don’t give it to the degree or kind that Beck claimed, but they do carry a certain endorsement of certain modes of thinking. Nor do I totally disagree that those modes of thinking should be admired.
    I know her words were taken out of context, it was a Fox story for Pete’s sake. Her original words were… ill-chosen… however.

  13. 13
    Ron Chusid says:

    Her actual words don’t show any form of endorsement. It is far more than taking words out of context when they crop in such a way that the words are given a totally different meaning.

  14. 14
    Ron Chusid says:

    As for the words being ill-chosen, the only way to avoid such distortions is to considerably limit what one says. Using what was obvious irony in quoting Mao and Mother Theresa to make her point makes did make it easier for Beck to distort her statement, but do we really want to limit what can be said based upon how Fox will twist something?

  15. 15
    Eclectic Radical says:

    No. We don’t. Obviously we don’t want to give Glenn Beck that kind of power.
    However, and this is just me, there is a ‘basic common sense’ line to be drawn. If one works for the President of the United States it is probably best not to reference Mao Tse Tung, irony or not.
    I’m NOT trying to defend Beck. The guy is vile and disgusting and I think the fact that he probably believes every word he says with the zealotry of a psychotic makes him worse than if he were just a dishonest demagogue.
    I do think someone working for the president is a bit dumb if they are throwing Mao’s name around in front of cameras.

  16. 16
    Ron Chusid says:

    True, it is probably best not to mention Mao’s name considering how that will be twisted, and the point of the speech could have been made without it.

  17. 17
    Ron Chusid says:

    On the other hand, Dunn got the quote from Republican Lee Atwater, and many other Republicans such as a top adviser to Barry Goldwater have quoted Mao.

  18. 18
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Well, and of course I plant tongue firmly in cheek when I say this, I’m not sure that a member of this administration quoting Lee Atwater is much better than quoting Mao. 😉

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