The L.A. Times published a story on February 9 that states that "the GOP" is "uneasy" about Rush's "self-coronation" as the voice of Republicans. But, after reading the story one realizes that it does not really prove the claim. In fact, only one person is quoted mentioning Rush at all. The rest of the story is but the Times' conjecture and the claims of "some" and "experts" but nothing that convinces that any segment of the GOP, large or small, is "uneasy" about Rush.
Instead of a story detailing those uneasy about Rush, it seems far more as if what we have here is the L.A.Times trying to create the very "uneasiness" it claims to be reporting upon.
Most of the story seems to be built on out of context quotes and the sort of "experts say" claims that we see in a lot of these stories. But there are also straight out assertions that aren't really backed up.
GOP uneasy about Rush Limbaugh's self-coronation as party leader Talk radio king's push for President Barack Obama's failure could alienate Republican attempts to broaden party, experts say
It is a claim put forth as fact. The GOP is "uneasy" the Times says.
Before they get to their "proof," however, they make another statement that thus far doesn't seem to be exactly true.
… Republicans are politically hobbled and Democrats are armed with a change agenda and equally determined to shake Washington.
Republicans haven't seemed so "politically hobbled" during the first few weeks of Obama's presidency. In fact, they've seemed to be able to throw quite a few monkey wrenches in the Democrat's plans. The Republican's demise seems to be a bit exaggerated by the wishful thinking of the Times, here.
The rest of the article doesn't do too much better.
After detailing some of what Rush has done on his show and the controversy that sprung up because of it, the TImes makes the weak attempt to prove its central claim that the GOP is "uneasy" about Limbaugh.
"But not all Republicans are comfortable with Limbaugh's suggestion that he, by default, has become the party's unofficial leader," the Times claims. And this is the first bit of "proof" that the Times presents us:
"He motivates a core Republican, who is a very important part of the Republican coalition, and we need those guys to be interested and active," said Jan van Lohuizen, a GOP strategist in Washington. "But it's not enough. The Republican Party has shrunk and it needs to be expanding."
OK. Well and good. But, this van Lohuizen did not necessarily express any "unease" over Limbaugh. All van Lohuizen said is that we need to expand past the base. That is true no matter who is claiming to be the voice of the GOP.
The next "proof" is the following:
Limbaugh has plenty of critics, not all of them liberal or Democrats. Some Republicans worry the 58-year-old radio icon may be turning off the less-ideological voters Republicans need to again become a majority party.
"The question is, are we going to have an all-white-man litmus test under the Republican Party? Or is there room for diverse opinion on environmental issues, on the issue of right to life, the issue of taxes and spending?" said Rich Bond, former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
So, once again, we get a statement by the Times followed by a quote that doesn't quite back up what the Times claims about Rush. Thus far, neither of the two Republicans quoted even mention Rush at all.
Then the Times makes several more statements about Rush and the GOP, saying that he "crossed the line" with his wish for Obama to fail, but next the Times goes to "experts say" to further make the case.
"That sort of thing is going to turn off moderate voters," said David Barker, a political scientist at the University of Pittsburgh and author of "Rushed to Judgment: Talk Radio, Persuasion, and American Political Behavior." "It's going to repulse some people."
This purported "expert" is merely article filler as he does not represent the GOP. Yet the Times relies on his quotes anyway.
Finally, with the last two paragraphs, we get to what the L.A.Times predicated its whole raft of empty claims upon: Representative Phil Gingrey's remarks last week.
However, few Republicans dare cross him. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) recently learned the perils when he defended McConnell and Boehner in an interview.
It's easy for Limbaugh to criticize Democrats, Gingrey said, because he doesn't have to work with them every day. After he spoke, Gingrey's office was flooded with calls and e-mails from angry conservatives. He spent the next day apologizing on cable television and Limbaugh's show for "those stupid comments."
So now we see what this whole thing was about! Phil Gingrey scolded Rush and was forced to back down almost immediately. This, then, is what the L.A.Times used to “prove their point. That because of what one politician said last week, then the whole of the GOP must be mad at Rush.
Isn't it interesting how the TImes played that one?