During the dark days of the Cold War, eastern Europeans were isolated from the rest of the world behind what was warmly referred to as the Iron Curtain. Everything behind the Iron Curtain was autocratically ruled by the Soviet Union. As part of its effort to control the populace, all regional news outlets (print and broadcast) were in fact, state-sponsored propaganda outlets.
The only exception to the blackout of truthful news was a powerful network of transmitters in western Europe, known as Radio Free Europe. This network of transmitters broadcast news and entertainment deep into eastern Europe. In addition to broadcasting the truth to those under communist rule, it also provided hope and a vision of what was outside of communist rule. It was instrumental in preparing those behind the Iron Curtain for the eventual downfall of the Soviet Union.
Unfortunately, while we were fighting propaganda overseas, citizens back home were subjected to a uniquely American version of propaganda. For decades — before the internet and satellite TV — news in America was controlled by a select few entities, all of which were closely aligned with the Democrat party. ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN controlled television and radio news. The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and Los Angeles Times set the tone for printed news.
The media and leftist politicians they supported were creating narratives to shape public opinion. They crafted their narratives by being selective in what news they presented, or by outright distortion of facts. I remember watching Dan Rather on the CBS nightly news in the early 1980s when he read a suicide note on the air. The author of the note stated that he was committing suicide because Ronald Reagan had taken away his welfare benefits. This was followed by a series of stories about the damage Reagan’s economic policies were having on the poor in America. There was no mention of how those policies had also benefited millions. This was just one of many narratives being crafted for American consumption.
- Walter Cronkite told us the Vietnam war was lost after the Tet Offensive. In fact, Tet was a devastating loss for the North Vietnamese.
- We were told that socialism was superior to capitalism. It just needed to be implemented correctly.
- We were told that Ronald Reagan was a fool and a dangerous warmonger. Yet he won the Cold War without firing a shot.
- We were told that Cuba was a workingman’s paradise with free education and medical care. Yet people were fleeing the island on anything that would float.
We knew what we observed didn’t quite fit the narrative being presented, but we weren’t sure why. We began to question our worldview. We were being gaslighted.
And then in 1988, Rush Limbaugh started broadcasting on the AM radio. Hardly anybody listened to AM radio anymore, but there he was. He was loud, boisterous, and totally irreverent. He called himself El Rushbo — said he had talent on loan from God. He was the happy warrior that was saying things that we had been feeling for years. He showed us that we were being manipulated by forces on the left.
- He validated our belief that liberty is essential to prosperity
- He proudly professed the greatness of America
- He preached the purity of the founding vision
- He reaffirmed that God is central to American Exceptionalism
Rush was a zealot preaching the virtues of limited government and capitalism. And while doing all this, he mocked the enemies of liberty relentlessly. The NAACP became the NAALCP (National Association for the Advancement of Liberal Colored People), and radical feminists became feminazis.
And with that, we had our Radio Free America. Rush Limbaugh called it the Excellence In Broadcasting (EIB) Network, but it was performing the same function in America that Radio Free Europe was performing overseas. For three hours every day, Rush labored to counteract the damage done by the propaganda ministry — and he succeeded beyond anyone’s imagination.
In response to Rush’s success, hundreds of conservative talk radio shows began appearing all over the nation. Once the internet became a thing (for our young readers, it wasn’t widely used in the 1990s), thousands of conservative news and opinion sites appeared. There are an estimated 1,500 conservative radio broadcasts, producing approximately 2,570 hours of conservative content each day! 45 million listeners tune into conservative programming each week. Conservative broadcasting and online commentary have become so prolific, that it can no longer be silenced by those who wish to censor it. Rush created a giant that is challenging the propaganda ministry — and it’s here to stay. The propaganda ministry is rapidly losing control of the narrative, because of something started by a guy from Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Aside from the media network that he spawned; Rush was an old-fashioned tent revival pastor that converted millions of Americans to conservatism — one person at a time. He revived the conservative movement in American. At the time of his death, his radio program was being carried by 590 stations across the country and was reaching an estimated 16 million people each week. The legacy media is taking the blue pill and those choosing to see the truth are taking the red pill. Rush Limbaugh “red pilled” untold millions of people — and his work will continue, long after his death.
John Green is a political refugee from Minnesota, now residing in Star Idaho. He is a retired engineer with 40 years of experience in the areas of product development, quality assurance, organizational development, and corporate strategic planning. He currently writes at the American Free News Network (americanfreenewsnetwork.org). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Bill Elmer at Flickr.
This article was first published by American Thinker.