A somewhat revealing interview with the author of the Times Magazine’s recent love letter to Rush Limbaugh:
BOB GARFIELD: Your piece on Limbaugh was very generous, I would say even flattering. You seem to give him a pass for his excesses. And when I’m talking about excesses, I’m talking about ad hominum attacks, truly mean-spirited stuff that goes way beyond satire and into the politics of vilification, and also playing fast and loose with the truth, seizing on some news item and grossly misrepresenting it and creating a lot of hubbub, using as the kernel of his satire something that is just fundamentally untrue.
ZEV CHAFETS: Well, do you have an example of that? I’m not an apologist for Rush Limbaugh, but I’m a little bit defensive because I think that the liberal media takes such an unfair view of him.
I hear people being vilified on the radio, on all sorts of radio stations by all sorts of people all day long. And Limbaugh is not worse than many of the ones I hear, even on NPR. He just has a different point of view.
BOB GARFIELD: The NAACP should have a riot rehearsal, they should get a liquor store and practice robberies?
ZEV CHAFETS: Not my sense of humor, but it’s not a lie.
BOB GARFIELD: Did Limbaugh not say that Abu Ghraib was no worse than a Skull and Bones initiation?
ZEV CHAFETS: Yeah, he did. It’s his opinion.
BOB GARFIELD: Yeah. Did he not deny that genocide was committed against the American Indian and state that the population is higher now than it was before Christopher Columbus — of Native Americans?
ZEV CHAFETS: Mm, I don’t know. I didn’t ask him that either. I don’t know what the population was before Christopher Columbus.
BOB GARFIELD: Yeah, it was about 15 million and, you know, by the 19th century it was 250,000. I mean, that’s what â€“ thatâ€™s the numbers.
As with so many things in this life, I can only say … really? “It’s not a lie” that the NAACP should “get a liquor store and practice robberies?” It’s “his opinion” that Abu Ghraib was no worse than a Skull and Bones initiation?
I mean, to steal a riff from Atrios, it’s my opinion that Zev Chafets has oral sex with farm animals. Hey — it’s my opinion.