Why Rush Limbaugh Is Freaking Out About Occupy Wall Street

Got a flurry of emails yesterday after the inimitable Rush Limbaugh lumped me and Dylan Ratigan in with the behind-the-scenes power structure. Apparently Rush got hold of Breitbart’s story about the email list and decided to run with it:

Journalists have been advising the protesters – emails have been found. Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC and some guy named Matt Taibbi… Dylan Ratigan and Matt Taibbi are sending emails back and forth with organizers , telling them how to position their demands, how they can improve their coverage.

Here Rush paused before making his Sherlock Holmesian deduction from these facts:

This whole thing is a construct of the media-Democrat complex, industrial complex…

I nearly fell over laughing when I heard this. What the fuck is the Media-Democrat-Industrial Complex? Has Rush been reading Noam Chomsky books on the side? Calling any group that includes me and Glenn Greenwald an “industrial complex” is extremely high-concept comedy. We should have t-shirts made...

(Also, I love the phrase “emails have been found.” Actually, it was more like “a sleazy cyber-provocateur and amateur FBI informant stole the emails.” But who’s quibbling?)

Anyway, if you listen to the whole Rush segment, you can hear frustration and croaking, bullfroggish anxiety in his voice at the fact of so many different politicians capitulating, at least verbally, to OWS. He’s sensing that politicians are seeing danger in the “99%” concept, and he's expressing dismay that everyone from Mitt Romney to Barack Obama is now trying hard to position himself as not being in the 1%.

This isn't evidence that mainstream politicians are caving to the movement, of course, but what it does show is that those same politicians are endorsing OWS rhetoric, and by extension tacitly admitting the basic truth of the great-many-versus-very-few protest narrative.

Rush chalks this up to a media deception, a mirage of TV images and “media-Democrat-industrial complex” manipulations designed to con the country into believing in the existence of a mass movement.

The reality, of course, is that people like Rush, Romney and Obama are all becoming cognizant of the deep frustrations that exist across the political spectrum and are growing desperate to prevent the powder keg from blowing completely – hence the intense effort to describe OWS as a top-down manipulation.

Of course the notion that this is all a media fabrication is ludicrous. Dylan Ratigan didn’t invent four million people in foreclosure, he didn’t invent ten trillion dollars in bailouts, and he didn’t invent Wall Street’s $160 billion bonus pool the year after the crash of its own creation.

People out there do not need media figures to tell them how fucked things are, or how pissed they should be that the same bankers who caused the crash are now enjoying state-supported bonuses in the billions, while everyone else gets squeezed.  As someone who has been covering this stuff for three years, I can say with confidence that people across the country don’t need a push to be angry. They’re already there, and have been there for years. Rush should go hang out outside a foreclosure court in his home state of Florida for a few hours, if he wants to see where the rising heat under these protests is coming from.  

Anyway, the hysterical responses from the Rushes of the world are just more signs that these protests are working. I never thought I’d see it, but some of the dukes and earls high up in America’s Great Tower of Bullshit are starting to blink a little bit. They seem genuinely freaked out that OWS doesn’t have leaders or a single set of demands, which in addition to being very encouraging is quite funny.

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