With a following of 15 million and a divisive style of mockery, grievance,, and denigrating language, he was a power in reshaping American conservatism.
Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio megastar whose slashing, divisive type of mockery and grievance reshaped American conservatism, denigrating Democrats, environmentalists, “feminazis” (his time period) and different liberals whereas presaging the rise of Donald J. Trump, died on Wednesday at his dwelling in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 70.
His spouse, Kathryn, announced the loss of life at the start of Mr. Limbaugh’s radio present, a decades-long vacation spot for his flock of greater than 15 million listeners. “I do know that I’m most actually not the Limbaugh that you just tuned in to listen to today,” she mentioned, earlier than adding that he had died that morning from problems of lung most cancers.
Mr. Limbaugh revealed a diagnosis of advanced lung cancer final February. A day later, Mr. Trump awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in the course of the State of the Union tackle.
Since his emergence within the 1980s as one of the first broadcasters to take charge of a nationwide political call-in present, Mr. Limbaugh transformed the once-sleepy sphere of talk radio right into a relentless right-wing assault machine, his voice an everyday function of daily life — from houses to workplaces and the commute in between — for millions of devoted listeners.
He grew to become a singular figure in the American media, fomenting distrust, grievances, and even hatred on the right for Individuals who didn’t share their views, and he pushed baseless claims and poisonous rumors lengthy earlier than Twitter and Reddit grew to become havens for such disinformation. In politics, he was not solely an ally of Mr. Trump but additionally a precursor, combining media fame, right-wing scare tactics and over-the-top showmanship to build an infinite fan base and mount assaults on reality and facts.
His conspiracy theories ranged from baldfaced lies about Barack Obama’s birthplace — the president “has but to have to show that he’s a citizen,” he mentioned falsely in 2009 — to claims that Mr. Obama’s 2009 health care invoice would empower “loss of life panels” and “euthanize” aged Americans. Within the wake of final yr’s election, he amplified Mr. Trump’s groundless claims of voter fraud; on President Biden’s Inauguration Day, during one of his last broadcasts, he insisted to listeners that the new administration had “not legitimately gained it.”
In 1995, within the days after the Oklahoma City bombing, President Invoice Clinton denounced the “promoters of paranoia” on discuss radio — remarks that had been widely seen as geared toward Mr. Limbaugh.
“We hear so many loud and offended voices in America right this moment whose sole objective appears to be to attempt to hold some folks as paranoid as potential and the remainder of us all torn up and upset with each other,” Mr. Clinton mentioned.