Conservative radio giant Rush Limbaugh was remembered Thursday on ABC’s “The View” as the man who had “weaponized white male grievance.”
All five cohosts — Joy Behar, Meghan McCain, Sunny Hostin, Sara Haines and Whoopi Goldberg — weighed in on Limbaugh, who passed away Wednesday after a year-long battle with lung cancer. (RELATED: ‘How Long Until We Start Trashing Her?’: Meghan McCain Says Media Will Turn On Liz Cheney)
Behar was the first to comment, saying that she believed Limbaugh was not “authentic” and was just in it for the money.
“Trump, we all know what he was like before. He was a Democrat,” Behar said. “So what happened to them? And the answer is money. Money is what happened to them. They have been thrown at — so much money at them at Fox, for example, and various places, that they could not resist the money. So they go on the air, and they spew their hatred, their prejudices, their lies, as did Rush Limbaugh for the almighty dollar. They fool Americans into believing they are authentic. They are not authentic. I know these people. They are not real.”
Hostin followed Behar, laying into Limbaugh and claiming that he had “normalized hatred.”
“I remember listening to him as a kid growing up, and for me he just normalized hatred. He normalized racism, and, you know, I think he really weaponized white male grievance,” Hostin said, arguing that Limbaugh’s audience was “rural, white listeners, people, you know, sitting in their trucks in the middle of America, and in the south.”
“This is someone who called our President Barack, the Magic Negro, and talked about an NFL football game as, you know, a gang match between the Bloods and the Crips,” Hostin continued. “This wasn’t someone who was a nice person. This is someone that spewed racism and hatred.”
McCain pointed out that Limbaugh, despite his polarizing comments, had still been a giant in radio and paved the way not just for conservative talk radio but for the “infotainment” industry as well.
“I think what’s interesting about Rush Limbaugh is that he tapped into this audience that feels underrepresented in mainstream media. He tapped into the idea that it’s only liberals speaking for us, and he really created the model for which all else has spewed forth both positively and negatively,” McCain said.
Haines claimed that Limbaugh had “paved the way for political extremism,” referring to him as the predecessor to people like Alex Jones.
“I have a visceral reaction to so many of his words, but the first thing that ran through my head when I saw the news was, now it’s judgment day,” Haines said. “At the end of our lives, it’s just us answering for everything we did, with who we were, what we said, and how we treated people, and so now judgment day has arrived for Rush Limbaugh.”
Goldberg rounded out the discussion by saying that she hoped to see a return to the Fairness Doctrine.
“I’m hoping that his legacy will be the return of the Fairness Doctrine,” Goldberg said, noting that when it was in effect, stations had to air both sides of certain issues under threat of losing their license. “Because quite honestly I don’t mind hearing two sides of a discussion. What I do mind is hearing the vitriol and the hate that people seem to spew both on television and in radio, and I feel like if we had to go back to finding a civil tongue whether you felt that way or not, but you had to find it, I would feel much better.”
McCain pushed back, pointing out that shows like “The View” would fall under the Fairness Doctrine as well.
“Part of the reason why people like Rush are popular is there are no conservatives in mainstream media,” McCain said, adding that enforcing such a doctrine would put more conservative voices on “The View.”
“The reason why these vacuums exist is because they are so underrepresented. I was not a fan of Rush Limbaugh. He attacked my family much like Trump did for a long time, but I understand why people like that get into power when these kind of voices have no other place,” McCain concluded.