Is Rush Limbaugh like President Obama’s grandmother—someone the President called “a typical white person”—someone who is suspicious of black people? Racism is a serious charge in today’s society. Once you’re perceived as racist, your credibility is destroyed and your defense becomes ineffective. So those making such a charge must meet a high threshold of proof. Have they done that with Mr. Limbaugh? Is Rush a racist?
You wouldn’t know it by what he does. Mr. Limbaugh’s closest advisers, friends, idols and guest hosts often have much more pigment in their skin than he does. In fact, promoters of political correctness would call his radio show producer/call-screener an “African-American,” but Limbaugh prefers to dispense with all hyphenated titles to emphasize “American.”
You wouldn’t know it by what he says. Any listener knows that Mr. Limbaugh wants all Americans to succeed, and that he has a twenty-year record of consistently urging his listeners to follow the words of Dr. Martin Luther King—to judge people by the content o f their character not the color of their skin.
You might think you know it by what he is alleged to have said, specifically quotes about slavery and James Earl Ray. But none of them are true. They’re completely bogus! And his politically incorrect McNabb comment was about the media’s interest in race, not Limbaugh’s. Observations about racism do not make one a racist (see the McNabb comment in context here).
So how can Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and others in the media honestly charge Mr. Limbaugh with racism? They can’t honestly, so they resort to lies and slander. This kind of hatchet job on a man’s character should outrage you regardless of your political leanings or whether you like or dislike Mr. Limbaugh.
I can imagine why liberals such as Jackson and Sharpton view Rush Limbaugh with contempt. They don’t like being exposed and satirized as “the Justice brothers” before 20 million people. But hard-hitting political satire on two men who happen to be black doesn’t mean that Mr. Limbaugh is a racist nor does it justify slandering his character. In fact, those who actually listen to his show rather than the slander will notice that Rush Limbaugh is an equal opportunity lampooner of liberals of all colors, even those who call themselves Republicans.
Frank Turek is coauthor of I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, and the author of Stealing from God: Why atheists need God to make their case. See more of his work at CrossExamined.org.