Why Limbaugh matters – he encourages rudeness and discourages thinking
A commenter in the Limbaugh post thread thought that there was no point discussing the crudities of Limbaugh's broadcasts, since he isn't a candidate. I wish to point out that elections are not the only things of importance. Quality of information and discussion affect civic life.
Limbaugh, Savage, Coulter, and lesser-known and local radio talk show hosts and pundits/preachers are a blot on civil society. They are proof that for-profit mass communications cater to the basest impulses in us, in order to grab market share and thus charge more for ads. Sex and hate sell well. The radio hosts demonstrate that “everyone” thinks that it is OK to talk in public about killing certain groups of people, comparing rivals or ideological opposites to Nazis, etc. The Limbaughs have normalized bad language and bad behavior as acceptable in public, that is, have taken away the shame from hate. Mind you, the radio pundits aren't alone in their bad example – the listeners have had poor home training as well, or may be rebelling against remembered parental demands concerning manners and decorum in public. Audible belching and farting on radio also goes over well with the rebellious set, teenage boy or never-grew-up old man.
So Limbaugh is not an election issue. Duh. The style of discourse is a civic issue, however. It is polarizing (duh) and it dumbs down arguments to “because I say so” or “because you are a baby-killing feminazi”. The art of carrying on a conversation or debate on controversial topics is NOT on display, and people are NOT challenged either to come up with factual and reasoned support for their opinion or to really listen to the factual and reasoned arguments for the opposite opinion. The limbic system rules – who needs the neocortex? Yes, in the USA anyone is free to be stupid and to express his stupidity in any way that doesn't cause direct harm to life. Why not aspire to something better?
PS Limbaugh is not stupid – venal, likely incurious, but not stupid.
PPS Fairness Doctrine applied to publicly owned electromagnetic spectra that the government leases to broadcasting producers (radio and tv stations and repeater chains). There is little reason to have Fairness Doctrine on the most open of all media, the Internet. There is no monopoly of access, as there is with leased spectra which are guaranteed clear of interference (others wishing to access) for a certain distance.