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The Limbaugh Story

Talk about the blind man and the elephant. Evan Thomas writes a Newsweek piece about Rush Limbaugh's confession of prescription drug addiction.

Liberal cartoonist Dan "Tom Tomorrow" Perkins reads it and almost feels sorry for Limbaugh.

Somebody named "Quiddity" at some blog called "Uggabugga" accuses Thomas of whitewashing Limbaugh: "He's a son of a b----. Don't forget it. And don't let reporters like Evan Thomas mislead you."

Meanwhile, the conservative Media Research Center's Tim Graham writes in National Review's "The Corner" blog that the article "sneers" at Limbaugh: "...Newsweek suggests Rush is a pathetic little man who likes nothing better than scaring young girls from Kansas and their little dogs, too, but are [sic] really powerless."

Further proof that, on a clear day, you can find some people to argue the color of the sky.

For my part, I thought the article was well-reported but displayed a fair bit of anti-Limbaugh bias. I display a fair bit of anti-Limbaugh bias myself -- a few years ago I heard him describe the homeless as "human debris", for God's sake -- but I'd prefer not to see that bias in a major news magazine's cover story.

As for Limbaugh himself, though, I don't find any joy in his addiction. Addiction is hell, and the painkillers he's on are hideously difficult to escape. 30 days of detox may not do it -- he's reportedly tried twice before -- but I can't imagine it being anything but an agonizing process. People like "Quiddity" don't do progressivism any favors by clutching to bitterness in their responses. Bitter people make poor advocates, because it makes it so much easier for their opponents to dismiss them as cranks. (See also my upcoming, long-delayed review of Al Franken's book.) And it dehumanizes the guy -- turns him into an object of scorn in the same way that he did his opponents on the radio. It's "payback is hell" versus "two wrongs don't make a right."

I've actually said a prayer for Limbaugh's recovery. Granted, I now feel like I need a shower. But it's the right way to approach anyone in pain and trying to overcome it.


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I'm withholding judgment for the moment. If this experience makes Limbaugh a decent, humane person, wonderful. But there's not a shred of indication in his career that that will happen, to say nothing of the effect such a change would have on his ability to afford his '61 Chateau Haut Briand or whatever the hell his favorite $5,000-a-bottle wine was.