The New York Times and other media outlets reported today that Rush Limbaugh has signed a contract extension through 2016 worth about $400 million. Perhaps with an eye toward higher marginal tax rates in the years to come, about $100 million is in the form of a signing bonus.
I think Rush Limbaugh could lay claim to being the original blogger. The core of his 3-hour weekday show is Limbaugh's commentary on and parody of what newsmakers have said. Roll an audio clip. Criticize or find an inconsistency in the speaker's argument. Lampoon the speaker in the process. Reaffirm ideological views. Roll another clip. He makes no apologies for his conservative ideology and his partisan edge. You find a lot of this in the blogosphere, except that Limbaugh constructs and distributes his work as audio rather than as text.
Consider this quote from this Sunday's New York Times Magazine cover story by Zev Chafets.<!--break-->
“Rush is a master at framing an issue and creating a community around it,” says Susan Estrich, who ran Michael Dukakis’s 1988 presidential campaign and has since become a talk-show host herself.
That sounds a lot like what many successful bloggers do. Listeners can "comment" by calling the show and asking the host a question.
Consider as well this statement by Karl Rove:
“Rush has completely remade American politics by offering an alternative to the networks and CNN,” [Karl] Rove told me. “For 20 years he has been the leader of his own parade.”
Many bloggers would also characterize their work as providing such an alternative. Same objective, different medium.
Here's my favorite excerpt from the article:
At dinner the night before, Bill O'Reilly’s name came up, and Limbaugh expressed his opinion of the Fox cable king. He hadn’t been sure at the time that he wanted it on the record. But on second thought, “somebody’s got to say it,” he told me. “The man is Ted Baxter.”
Read the whole thing.