In light of the lack of willingness demonstrated by GOP lawmakers in holding former President Obama accountable during his presidency and their eagerness to join the political left in sabotaging President Donald Trump since his inauguration, many conservatives have cited the imperative for keeping our own house in order, as it were, holding both Trump and GOP leaders accountable for their actions. In particular, the claims of many prominent Republicans to upholding conservative principles when their actions demonstrate otherwise has been a hot topic of discussion.
The desire to hold “our side” accountable is admirable, yet it does give rise to questions concerning certain disturbing behavior on the part of some conservatives. One of course is the apparent inability of professed conservatives to get behind a president (Trump) who is advancing conservative policy simply because he does not possess the conservative bona fides they prefer.
What’s equally worrisome is something I’ve considered for a few years now, and which was finally addressed on May 16 by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. After bemoaning the lack of organizing principles within the conservative community compared to the religious dedication of the left to their twisted code, Limbaugh went on to criticize conservative pundits (though none by name) over their focus on self-aggrandizement rather than advancing the conservative agenda.
It’s “I gotta get a book deal and get on Fox.” It’s “I gotta get a job at a think tank and get a TV appearance.” It’s “I gotta get a book.” It’s “I need to be a TV analyst.” It’s “I need a big appointment at a think tank.” Whatever it is, those are the desires and objectives of many on our side. …
– Rush Limbaugh, May 16, 2017
As self-defeating as this may sound at first blush, I must wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Limbaugh. I’m certainly not against anyone pursuing career or material success, and I definitely believe that the laborer is worthy of his wages (1 Timothy 5:18). However, I have witnessed a great deal of the same hypocrisy and predatory behaviors among conservative pundits and those who aspire thereto as those practiced among people in the entertainment industry, an industry that exhibits an ethos of almost legendary dishonesty and insincerity. Now, some will argue that once media pundits reach a certain level of achievement, they effectively are part of the entertainment industry. There is some truth to this, but that isn’t quite what I’m getting at here.
A great many successful entertainers exhibit the unsavory characteristics I mentioned, and after having the opportunity to get to know some of these folks over the years, I would tend to describe most as “soulless.” Owing to the fact that an overwhelming number of them are political liberals, it is reasonable to presume that this influence is, at least in part, what has corrupted their basic humanity.
In the spirit of keeping our own house in order, as far as conservative pundits go, I would ask: What’s your excuse?
Although a few of my colleagues are about as principled people as one will ever find, I’ve observed that far too many exhibit the craven attitudes I touched on above vis-à-vis entertainers and which were suggested by Mr. Limbaugh’s comments. Character assassination and the dissemination of disinformation are fairly common among these folks, many of whom wouldn’t put a colleague out if they were on fire unless it had been put in writing that such action would benefit their career, circulation, Web presence, ratings, etcetera.
This pertains to both successful and aspiring conservative journalists and commentators with whom I have personally interacted. Even worse has been the conduct I’ve witnessed amongst some aspiring “ethnic” conservatives, primarily black ones. Each of these wants to be the “go-to” guy (or gal) for the media as regards issues of race and race politics, and ethics be damned in terms of how they get there.
While this is all decidedly unfortunate, I was gratified to hear Mr. Limbaugh weigh in on this phenomenon, if in a somewhat limited fashion. The behavior described above, I believe, speaks to an irrational belief that the success of others somehow poses some sort of impediment to their own success. As with issues of economics, wherein liberals advance the fallacious “finite pie” theory (where there’s only so much wealth to go around), it appears that these conservative pundits have subscribed to a similar philosophy regarding their career opportunities.
It is probable that much of this conduct is fear-based, because traditionally there have been exponentially more media gigs available for leftists who wish to participate in the dismantling of our republic (and get paid handsomely to do so), but the fact is that the opportunities for conservatives in this area are increasing rather than decreasing, and the very conservatives I criticize have the power to ensure that this trend continues.
I am sure that this news will disillusion some who presume that their conservative media heroes are infinitely more principled than their liberal counterparts, but I call ’em like I see ’em. In my estimation, these folks are worse than the Andrea Mitchells and Touré Nebletts among us, because in the interest of both our credibility and the success of our mission, each conservative journalist and commentator ought to strive to be the exemplar of a higher standard.
And for the record: Getting a book deal and getting on Fox are by no means any guarantee of career success, fortune or glory.
Media wishing to interview Erik Rush, please contact [email protected].