For millions of fans across the U.S. and around the world, news this week of conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh’s death at the age of 70 came as a tragic end to his battle with lung cancer.
Among his many detractors across the mainstream media and progressive punditry, however, his passing seemed more like a cause for celebration.
Fans and foes weigh in
Few mainstream obituaries were written without a nod to the view that Limbaugh’s unabashedly right-wing views were in some way contemptible. On Twitter, the hatred toward him came without a filter.
Perhaps Limbaugh would have considered some of the disdain to be a badge of honor after spending decades behind the radio microphone building a fiercely loyal fan base.
Along the way, he built a reputation among his foes as a dangerous bigot.
News of his death caused some of them to thump their chests on social media, with vulgar hashtags trending on Twitter and vitriol spilling out from all corners of the web.
An account called “Rush Limbaugh Fun Facts” offered an abrupt take: “He’s dead.”
“They all respected Rush”
A number of Hollywood stars added to the sentiment, including Bette Midler, who wrote: “Rush Limbaugh has gone to his reward. Bet it’s hot.”
This response likely comes as no surprise to those who have seen other prominent conservatives pilloried upon their deaths. For many other Americans, however, Limbaugh represented a giant of conservatism and an icon whose life is worth honoring.
He spent a career telling listeners what was on his mind with little apparent reservation, which became a constant source of joy to his fans — and outrage to his enemies.
Among those who publicly memorialized Limbaugh on Wednesday was former President Donald Trump, who took the opportunity during multiple interviews to share his thoughts on the late host. During an interview on Fox News Channel’s Hannity, Trump recalled the circumstances surrounding his decision to present Limbaugh with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“It was an idea that we had that a lot of people suggested to me, frankly, a lot of great people of our country, largely Republican,” Trump said, according to the New York Post. “It was an amazing night because the Republicans went wild and the Democrats sat there, but they all respected Rush.”