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Rush: The Man, the Media Mogul, the Mouth -- Writer's Poke #277

I was with him in the beginning. Twenty years ago, I loved listening to Rush. He's a gifted gabber, and he has a talent for talk that he has been able to turn into millions of dollars. How many people can talk for a living? Rush has been able to do just that for over 20 years.

His format was rather innovative when he started: no guests, no one else in the studio to banter with -- yes, he does have "Mr. Snerdley" (who is actually the call screener), but we never actually hear him speak. Like almost all radio talk shows, Rush's show does allow listeners to call in, but make no mistake about it: the main focus was and always will be on the man sitting behind the golden microphone.

What always struck me, though, even from the beginning was how Rush could develop arguments against the opposition without considering how those words might apply to himself. That is, he has the knack for pointing his finger without recognizing that three fingers are pointing back at him. Case in point: when I was listening to him today, he talked about how a certain group that he's dubbed "The Ruling Class" has an agenda and aren't to be trusted. They either don't know what they are talking about, or, even more sinisterly, they do know what they're talking about, but use misdirection and subterfuge to misguide people. Interestingly enough, Rush denies belonging to the Ruling Class; instead, he suggests that he and most Americans are in what he calls "The Country Class."

Is Rush in the Country Class? I doubt that the people in his neighborhood are anything like the people in my neighborhood. But that aside, think about his attack on this "group" of people. Can't his very words be applied to himself -- "agenda," "misdirect," "misguide." Perhaps Rush is correct to say that he's overt in what his agenda is, as if this is somehow more honorable than those that keep their agenda hidden. In the end, however, how is subjectivity, overt or not, an ingredient in the recipe of reliability? And why don't more people bother to question the sources they use when gathering information?

Who do you trust? Do you believe in the principle of "trust but verify," or does that go against the basic principle of trust?

"I trust no one, not even myself." -- Joseph Stalin


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