CNN International’s Jonathan Mann labeled Rush Limbaugh the “anti-Obama” in a CNN.com article on Friday, and condescendingly listed the reasons why the talk show host is the antithesis of the president: “Rush Limbaugh isn’t black, slim, stylish or well schooled.” He later described why Democrats are so eager to portray Limbaugh as the leader of the Republican Party: “They think that Limbaugh, 58, is the very personification of an ugly Republican stereotype: he’s a small-town college drop-out, an angry white man, who they believe offends the ethnic, urban and educated Americans the Democrats want to attract.”
Mann, a native of Montreal, Canada, seemingly wrote the article with an overseas audience in mind. He began with the assumption that the whole globe is familiar with President Obama and that his major domestic opponent on the airwaves needed to be introduced: “It seems like the whole world knows all about Barack Obama, so let me introduce you to the anti-Obama, the second most interesting man in American politics.” After giving his “black, slim, stylish or well schooled” line, the CNN anchor went on to describe Limbaugh further, repeating some other common liberal characterizations of the talk show host: “He’s a Republican with no elected office but a powerful hold on his party and a place in the news once again. Limbaugh is the host of a radio show heard across the United States, a big-bellied man who bellows into the radios of millions of people. He’s confident, uncomplicated and almost always on the attack against Democrats, feminists and anyone on the Left.” In so many words, the impression Mann gives is that Limbaugh is a right-wing, overweight simpleton.
The anchor devoted the second half of his article to giving an oversimplified synopsis of the Democratic strategy to make Limbaugh out to be the de facto leader of the GOP:
As Republicans adapt to the role of an opposition party and search for a new opposition leader, Limbaugh may be emerging as their champion.
The Democrats would love it.
They think that Limbaugh, 58, is the very personification of an ugly Republican stereotype: he’s a small-town college drop-out, an angry white man, who they believe offends the ethnic, urban and educated Americans the Democrats want to attract.
His latest headline: even in the midst of a profound economic crisis, with millions of Americans waiting for help, Limbaugh says he hopes President Obama’s recovery plan fails.
“What is so strange about being honest and saying, ‘I want Barack Obama to fail, if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation?’ Why would I want that to succeed?”
Obama reportedly told Republican leaders they would have to decide. “You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.”
But abandoning Limbaugh hasn’t been easy.
This week, the Republicans new party chairman, Michael Steele, called Limbaugh’s brand of politics “incendiary” and “ugly.”
Congressman Phil Gingrey told Limbaugh that “you don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party. You know you’re just on these talk shows and you're living well.”
Limbaugh attacked them both on the air and they quickly offered public apologies.
Note how Mann omits the role of Democratic operatives like White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in perpetuating the Limbaugh affair. On the other hand, he at least gave the full context of Limbaugh’s “I hope he fails” remark.
The CNN anchor concluded his piece by portraying the conservative radio host as a mere novelty: “The next time you’re in the U.S., turn on the radio or check out Youtube.com from home, on your computer. The big man with the booming voice that you’re bound to find is the anti-Obama. He’s something to hear.”