Search This Blog

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rush Limbaugh's Fake Author of the Year Award

Last night, Rush Limbaugh was awarded the “Author of the Year” from the Children's Choice Book Awards, and declared, “It was a big deal.” No, it’s not. The award is not fake. It’s the notion that it represents any kind of merit that’s phony.
As Erin Gloria Ryan notes on Jezebel, the nominations are based on book sales, and the award is given to the book that receives the most votes online with no way to restrict who votes or how often, and nothing about the award represents merit.
These scam awards were created by the Children’s Book Council (CBC), a trade association of children’s book publishers who seek to promote literacy but especially like to sell more books. And this is an award that requires no work to produce because quality has nothing to do with it, that draws attention to the organization, and that promotes book sales. All these awards do is take the best-seller list and hand out awards based on it. According to the CBC, “The Author and Illustrator of the Year finalists are determined by the bestseller lists with an emphasis on Bookscan.”
Ryan’s only mistake is writing that Rush “probably won it by prompting his fans to vote for him.” No, Rush definitely won it by prompting his fans to vote for him.
On March 24, Rush announced the nomination and declared, “It's totally democratic. The nominations are determined by sales, not by choice or any other kind of bias. It's strictly by sales.” Welcome to Rush Limbaugh’s notion of democracy: It’s strictly by sales. Nevertheless, Rush declared, “We're very proud. We're very honored here.”
Then, the next day Rush devoted a segment of his radio show to the contest and urged his fans to go online and vote for him. Then, the day after that Rush again went on the air begging for listeners to vote for him: “We are in the second day of voting for the Children's Choice Book Awards. I just mentioned this a couple of times yesterday….” Rush placed a link for voting “right at the top of our home page.”
Rush said, “To win this award, I'm telling you, it's a very humbling thing because the readers -- kids -- vote.” Of course, if only kids had voted, Rush would have never won. Rush wasn’t promoting the contest during his show because he thought kids would hearing him and go vote. Rush has almost no kids listening to him. His audience is incredibly old on average, and his show airs during the middle of the school day. So when Rush pleaded for his listeners to vote for him, he knew it was the adults, not the kids, who were going to do it.
Rush even appeared at the Awards Gala in New York City last night to accept his award and said, “This is unexpected.” “I’m so honored by this…I’m honored and humbled.” It’s doubtful that Rush would ever fly from his home in Florida for the evening unless he knew he was going to win. It’s even more doubtful that Rush feels humbled by anything. Rush played his acceptance speechtwice on his show today, because he is so humbled.
Limbaugh declared today, “I sent notes out to people last night saying that I'd won the award, and they said, ‘Oh, you won a Bookie,’ as in a Grammy, as in an Oscar. The Children's Choice Award, a Bookie.” Yes, it’s just like an Oscar — if the Oscars were tossed out to the highest-grossing movies based on an internet poll. It would be like nominating The Hunger Games, Iron Man 3, and Man of Steel for best screenwriting Oscars because they sold millions of tickets.
The irony here is that even though this scam award is just a popularity contest, three of Rush’s fellow nominees in the category (Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth, and Jeff Kinney) actually beat out Rush by a wide margin in 2013 sales according to Nielsen Bookscan, which tracks 80% of all book sales (and Kinney also beat Rush in sales on Amazon). So Rush didn’t have the most book sales. He would never win a real popularity contest among children. There are no children begging to read the infantile musings of a talk show host about a time-travelling horse. No kids are asking for Rush’s books. It’s his adult fans who are buying them.  So why did Rush win the award? It’s simple. It’s the conservative bias of the media. No other author has a mass media platform to promote voting by fans. And in an internet poll with unlimited voting, Rush’s ability to command his Dittoheads to do his bidding mattered more than anything else.
Rush noted on the second day of voting, “we had a link up to the direct voting page, rather than the home page of the Children's Choice Book Awards….we have changed the link, and the link now just takes you to the home page of the Children's Book Council.” Rush may have been trying to game the system by directly linking to the voting page, not trusting the ability of his elderly listeners to navigate to the correct page. But he didn’t need to worry. Rush’s millions of listeners, voting multiple times, can easily win an internet poll.
After being abused by critics for his numerous errors and bad writing in Rush’s previous two (ghostwritten) books in the 1990s, Rush resisted the easy money of putting out another political book. But the prospect of a children’s book gave Rush the chance to cash in on something that couldn’t be dismissed for its dumbed-down rhetoric. By targeting 10 year-olds, Rush can finally write at an intellectual level that doesn’t strain his abilities, while being certain that all of the old folks who listen to him will buy any book he writes, even if he doesn’t actually write it. And the Rush Revere character is the embodiment of Rush’s devotion to product placement, since the book is based upon the logo for Rush’s bottled tea company, Two If By Tea, which he founded in 2009 as a cynical attempt to profit from the Tea Party movement.
No one doubts that Rush is financially successful. Like so many scam artists, he is skillful at extracting a good living from his gullible fans. This latest “award” is just a reflection of that ability to convince his devoted followers to buy his garbage, whether it’s sugar water or children’s books or conservative ideology. But Rush will use this "award" in the same way that he regularly claims to have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (which, as I note in my book about Rush, apparently never happened and doesn't mean anything): as a way to pump up his enormous ego while fooling his audience into thinking that anyone knowledgeable endorses his ideas.
I think Jon Stewart has the best response for the new Author of the Year, Rush Limbaugh:

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Limbaugh slams Colbert: "CBS has just declared war on the Heartland of America."

Perhaps no one hated the announcement that Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman on CBS’ The Late Show more than Rush Limbaugh, who has been the object of so much satire and scorn from Colbert over the years. Limbaugh declared on his show today, “CBS has just declared war on the Heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservatives.”
I wish that was true. During all of the controversy over #CancelColbert, little attention was paid to the fact that Colbert’s character was never nearly as racist, sexist, and homophobic as he should have been to provide a realistic depiction of a conservative talk show host. Colbert was just too nice of a guy to be a consistent representative of a hate-filled, bigoted movement.
With his new show, Colbert will no longer utilize a Limbaugh-esque pompous fool character. But let’s hope he continues to be exactly what Limbaugh fears: an honest critic of the idiocy of today’s conservative movement. Sadly, too many network talk show hosts are afraid of alienating the right-wing extremists by being opinionated. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have been incredibly successful precisely because they are fearless in confronting right-wing lies. If he wants to continue that success, Colbert needs to break out of the mold of apolitical talk show hosts who think that “the Heartland of America” is a bunch of mindless Dittoheads.
Limbaugh has always hated Colbert. In 2010, he called Colbert and Jon Stewart “stupid-and-smug-about-it, overpaid, metrosexual comedians.” Limbaugh has complained, “Colbert's shtick is to make Republicans look like idiots… to make us look like a bunch of Looney Tunes…”
Today, Limbaugh declared, “What this hire means is a redefinition of what is ‘funny’ and a redefinition of what is comedy.” As a self-styled comedian, Limbaugh is upset by the changing nature of humor. To Limbaugh, what’s funny is adopting a gay lisp to mock liberal men, it’s calling women “sluts” and “prostitutes,” it’s calling our first black president a “Halfrican-American” and playing satirical songs about “negroes.” That’s what is hilarious in a conservative world shaped by Limbaugh’s bigotry.
But it’s not Limbaugh’s world anymore. His sense of humor is dying out. Only a few years ago, Colbert would never have been considered for this job. Network heads would have said he was too liberal, too political, too sharp-edged in his satire. Now, as a younger generation rejects the old conservative humor of a Limbaugh, the nature of what’s funny is changing. CBS isn’t declaring war on conservatives by hiring Colbert. CBS is following a new generation of Americans who think making fun of bigots is funnier than being a bigot like Rush Limbaugh.
Crossposted at DailyKos.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rush Limbaugh Denounces Judge for Making Same Mistake He Did

Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh mocked U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen ruling (now corrected) that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution because her opinion incorrectly mentioned that the “all men” are created equal was in the Constitution rather than the Declaration of Independence. What Rush didn’t mention is that he himself has misquoted and mixed up the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
Limbaugh repeatedly denounced the judge: “Now, this judge does not know the Constitution from the Declaration of Independence.…she mixes up the Declaration with the Constitution.  She claims that the Constitution says that all men are created equal, and it doesn't!  The Declaration says that.”
And: “So basically here's a woman who thinks it's the Constitution that says all men are created equal.”
Limbaugh said: “And she's citing the Constitution as the reason for her ruling!  She's citing something that isn't there!  She's a federal judge.  We are so screwed.”
Allen’s ruling merely mentioned the phrase in the introductory paragraph as a core American legal principle (which it is), she didn’t cite it as the basis for her ruling.
But Limbaugh certainly can’t claim to be an expert on the Constitution. During his 2009 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) upon receiving the “Defender of the Constitution” award, Limbaugh proclaimed: "We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. Liberty, Freedom. And the pursuit of happiness." The correct phrase is “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And these words don’t appear anywhere in the Constitution. They're from the Declaration of Independence.
It takes some hubris for a man who misquoted a clause in the Declaration of Independence (and claimed it was in the Constitution) to laugh at anyone else for getting the two mixed up.
Not only did Limbaugh mix up the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in 2009, but in 2013 he chose to re-play that part of his speech on his show because he thought it was so important, once again not realizing that he was wrong (and apparently not having read my 2011 book about Limbaugh where I mocked him for his mistake).
This isn’t Limbaugh’s only error about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. For example, he claimed that “when the Founders wrote the Constitution, they put the prescription in the Constitution for ending slavery, in the amendments, and in our founding document, the Declaration of Independence.” The Declaration of Independence says nothing about slavery, and the original Constitution actually defends the institution of slavery and requires the return of escaped slaves.
Crossposted at DailyKos.