by digby

I hear from John at Crooks and Liars that old Rush is feeling some heat for his Minstrel Show. Apparently some people have had it up to here with rich, white jackasses making millions on the radio demeaning black folks for the amusement of their white neanderthal audience. Perhaps 2007 will be the year that we finally wring that remnant of Jim Crow out of the culture.

Rush is not some misunderstood schlub who just made a few slightly off-color jokes and doesn't understand why it bothers some people.He's not even a nasty old racist/misogynist creep like Imus who just thought he could demean anybody he felt like and make big money doing it. Rush Limbaugh a professional cog in the GOP machine who has been helping to set the political agenda in this country for more than a decade. He knows exactly what he's doing when he plays on racist stereotypes and it isn't just for the laughs.

Yet in 2000 NBC hired him to do election commentary. ESPN later hired him to do sports. The Republican party defends even the most disgusting of his antics. The president himself appeared on his show just days before last fall's election. But no matter how much lipstick they smear on his big million dollar mouth, Rush is still a pig. Until recently, nobody was keeping track of the disgusing swill he spews. They are now.

Amato writes:

I've anonymously confirmed that stations around the country who carry the show are having concerns expressed by listeners and even their own workers of color about the Obama parody, and the ensuing controversy in the media, and that respective managements are considering ways to address the matter with as little Imus-like backlash as possible,..This is starting to boil over…

He also has links to a phone call from a listener today that has Rush sounding ... tense. Here's the exchange:

Caller: I'm in full panic mode here. I've heard three times today a disclaimer on the 760 WGIR, blah, blah ,blah. What's going on? Are they trying to take you off 760? If they do I'll never listen again.

Rush: Oh no no... If they are it won't happen until after next Thursday because I've got a personal appearance there ... no they're not going to do that...

Caller: It's censorship!

Rush: No, they're not censoring anything. They're just saying that whatever I say...

Caller; yeah, but why all of a sudden? I've been listening for two years ... I've been converted to conservatism. And if I don't get my Rush, I will be cranky.

Rush: You will. You might be cranky, but you will get your Rush...I don't know what's behind this. This happened when the program first started, first started back in 1988...it was controversial in its day. I did the disclaimer myself as a means of protecting the radio station...nobody's felt the need to disclaim the show until WJR, started today, we got a phone call earlier from a guy who souldn't go on the air, said he heard it like you did. Beyond that, I don't know what it's about.

Caller: ...IneedmyrushoriwilldieIloveyouIloveyouIloveyou...

Rush: If the worst possible thing happened you would be able to get it on the internet... everything's fine...as long as they make it known up there that whatever I say they don't agree with, then everything will be cool and nothing will happen.

Rush relegated to the internet? Be still my heart.

In case you missed Rush's minstrel show, there's a full rundown over at The Horses Mouth. Here's the YouTube compilation of Rush's "parody" songs and bits, voiced, of course, by a white jerk who thinks it's hilarious to portray "Al Sharpton" as an ebonics practitioner:

But, that's just fine, I'm sure. For some people, Rush can do no wrong:

Rush's angry, frustrated critics discount how hard it is to make an outrageous charge against him stick. But, we listeners have spent years with him, we know him, and trust him. Rush is one of those rare acquaintances who can be defended against an assault challenging his character without ever knowing the "facts." We trust his good judgment, his unerring decency, and his fierce loyalty to the country he loves and to the courageous young Americans who defend her. For millions of us, David Brock is firing blanks against a bulletproof target.

— Kate O'Beirne is Washington Editor for National Review.

We certainly do not discount how hard it is to make a charge against him stick. As Rush himself points out to the caller above, his repulsive bile hasn't even been considered controversial for years. The Republican establishment and their friends and enablers in the media have treated talk radio's vicious racism and misogyny as if it was all in good fun, and Limbaugh was their king. They validated this ugly crud because it kept their racist base happy, made big bucks for their corporate owners --- and apparently amused them at Washington cocktail parties.

A lot of American people didn't know that this swill was out there and thought that if the Republicans and the mainstream political media thought these guys were ok, they must be ok. But they are being awakened to what is going on by the alternative media --- and a reurgent progressive movement that is organizing to bring attention to it.

I don't think Rush should be censored by the government and there is no movement to do such a thing. But if corporate radio can destroy the careers of the Dixie Chicks because one of them once said onstage that she was ashamed that Bush was from Texas, they can fire this noxious SOB for being a stone cold racist, misogynist ass on their airwaves for the past 20 years. That seems more than fair to me.