How Christian radio networks enabled Rush Limbaugh’s toxic views – Vox.com
The late Rush Limbaugh’s far-reaching and toxic impact on conservative America and the Republican party is well-known and well-documented. Still, there’s one aspect of his legacy, specifically his cultural dominance in the 1990s, that’s difficult to convey in the post-internet era: Limbaugh’s pivotal role in the ascension of conservative talk radio and the pivotal role that conservative radio played in emboldening modern conservative populism.
For many years throughout the Clinton era, Limbaugh’s daily radio program, The Rush Limbaugh Show, was synonymous with conservative political media and part of a larger burgeoning conservative radio ecosystem. The show, which aired for three hours each afternoon across America, began syndicating nationally in 1988 — incidentally the same year that famed evangelist minister Billy Graham delivered the benediction for both the Republican and Democratic national conventions. If you can’t imagine that happening today, it’s due in large part to the political polarization Limbaugh himself helped engender. In fact, Graham’s brand of evangelical Christianity spread across many of the same airwaves that also aired Limbaugh’s brand of toxic conservative bigotry.
The key detail that frequently gets lost when discussing Rush Limbaugh and his influence is that Limbaugh didn’t come out of nowhere. At the time he rose to prominence, he was part of a conservative radio ecosystem priming its listeners for exactly the kind of content he provided. In particular, the late 1980s and early ’90s saw the rise of Christian evangelism as a major media force. The popularity