Why has the talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh given such positive coverage, over such a sustained period, to Donald Trump? Some of his conservative listeners want answers. Consider a caller on Tuesday’s show. Ted Cruz is someone who has proven his conservative character over years, the caller said, whereas Trump is “an overnight thing.”
He told the talk radio host, “I'm a character guy, which I believe that's who you are.” But the caller was beginning to have doubts about Limbaugh’s earnestness. Is the positive coverage he’s given Trump due to genuine faith in the candidate’s virtues? Or is Limbaugh boosting the insurgent campaign for entertainment value?
Here’s how delicately he put the question:
CALLER: I heard you say that you're an entertainer.
CALLER: To me, you're also more than that—
CALLER:—and I believe you know that, and so sometimes you have to walk softly. I think once—
RUSH: I am ... Okay, let me jump in here and translate what you're getting as 'cause I know exactly what you're getting at.
What followed was Limbaugh explaining himself to his audience in the most evasive way imaginable. It would be comical if he didn’t inspire so much misplaced trust from people who want the best for their country. “I've said I'm an entertainer,” he began. “ I've said that I do something that is not common in the media, and that is the combination of irreverent, sarcastic, parodic humor, and serious discussion of issues, with credibility on both. I've pointed out as an illustration, the old days of Nightline. If Ted Koppel had come out and opened Nightline with a 10-minute joke monologue, people would say, ‘What the hell is this?’”