In a telling article that might say something significant about the ideological slant the country has begun to adopt, Alex Pareene reported that Cumulus Media may soon eliminate the commentary of conservative political pundits Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. According to the article (“Rush Limbaugh Is Finished”), Cumulus Media may drop the two highest rated ring-wing radio hosts from its radio stations. This reality warrants discourse.
Although I don’t consider myself to be an easily offendable person, there are a plethora of suppositions submitted by the aforementioned commentators that I find repugnant. While several come to mind immediately, one of the most salient in my psyche is Sean Hannity’s reply to Reverend Wright’s question regarding whether or not he was at all familiar with liberation theology. In response, Hannity stated (with an ostensibly intentional ignorance of and/or indifference towards the concept of a God who brings freedom to historically subjugated people) that he went to seminary and studied Latin. (You can view the clip covering this event and observe even more comments that may indicate Hannity’s ostensibly unrepentant hostility towards anti-imperialist, multicultural ideologies birthed out of liberation theology. His inappropriate appropriation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is another example of how he-whether intentionally or inadvertently-elides the fact that white supremacist ideologies and praxes are integral to the conservative worldview the aforementioned leader worked to dismantle.)
Like Hannity, Rush Limbaugh has a history of ideologically aligning himself with a conservative base whose thought and praxis reinforce white racism. Indeed, it seems that Limbaugh has made his career out of purporting rhetorical racisms designed to perpetuate a Jim Crow-esque world. This fact becomes plain upon consideration of his “Barack The Magic Negro” jingle as well as a plethora of other racial (and ultimately racist) remarks he has made. In reflecting upon the paradigms exacted by both Limbaugh and Hannity-as well as the fact that they may no longer have place on several radio stations-one wonders whether or not the possibility of their removal indicates some sort of significant shift in the philosophical slant of the country. Pareene, in commenting on the evolution of Limbaugh’s career, says this:
“He still has a lot of listeners. The Limbaugh problem, though, is simply a reflection of the GOP problem: His followers are an aging and, consequently, shrinking group of conservative white people, in a country that is rapidly getting less white.”
This assessment seems to say it all-or many things, at least. While Limbaugh (and Hannity) may remain very popular amongst their dwindling and implicitly racist base, the shifting demographics of the country may make little to no room for analyses about race that reflect-whether intentionally or accidentally-a proclivity for privileging whiteness. Irrespective of whether either political pundit is taken off the air, I’m going to have to keep listening to the commentary of both men. Their whiteness is disturbingly enlightening. And frightening.