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US conservative radio provocateur and Trump ally Rush Limbaugh dies

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Provocative and polarizing American radio star Rush Limbaugh, a leading voice on the American political right since the 1980s who spurred on and was honored by former President Donald Trump, has died at 70 years from lung cancer. his wife said on Wednesday.

Limbaugh, who pioneered the American media phenomenon of conservative talk radio and has become an enthusiastic fighter in America’s Culture Wars, revealed in February 2020 that he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. In a statement announcing his death, his wife Kathryn Adams Limbaugh said, “The love of the Rushs for our country, and for all of you, will live on forever.

Limbaughs’ appeal and the success of his top-notch daily radio show stemmed from his brash and colorful style, his enjoyment of attracting Liberals and Democrats, and his promotion of Conservative and Republican causes and politicians. His show became nationally unionized in 1988 and quickly attracted a large and engaged audience, making it rich in the process.

He was hated by the Liberals. Critics such as former Democratic Senator Al Franken – a former comedian who wrote a book called Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations – criticized him as a divisive figure who distorted the facts.

Trump, a former reality TV personality with showman instinct who pursued right-wing populism for four years in the White House, awarded Limbaugh the highest American civilian honor – the Presidential Medal of Freedom – at the his speech on the State of the Union in 2020 to a spouse. Congress session.

First Lady Melania Trump placed the medal around Limbaughs neck after her husband praised him as a special man loved by millions of Americans and the greatest fighter and winner you will ever meet. Highlighting Limbaughs’ division, some Democratic lawmakers were heard moaning oh no as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one of her favorite punching bags, sat in stony silence.

Trump, a Republican, honored Limbaugh a day after the radio star announced his cancer diagnosis. Limbaugh said at the time that he plans to continue with his program as normally and as efficiently as possible while undergoing treatment.

His show has been listened to on more than 600 U.S. stations by, according to the Limbaughs website, up to 27 million people per week. According to Forbes, Limbaugh was paid $ 85 million in 2020.

A GUIDING LIGHT

In a statement Wednesday, Trump said: Rush was a friend to me and to millions of Americans – a guiding light capable of seeing the truth and painting vivid images on air.

Former Republican President George W. Bush said in a statement, while brash, at times controversial and always opinionated, he expressed his opinion as a voice for millions of Americans and approached every day with enthusiasm.

Limbaugh has experienced a variety of medical issues over the years as well as an addiction to prescription pain relievers that landed him in rehab in 2003. He espoused a brand of conservatism without flinching, speaking out against leftist causes. ranging from global warming to health care reform by helping shape the Republican parties’ agenda in the media and mobilize their grassroots supporters.

He has been promoting Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by widespread fraud and irregularities. After Democrat Joe Biden was inaugurated as Trumps’ successor last month, Limbaugh told listeners the new president did not legitimately win.

Limbaugh also compared the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol in a Jan.6 rampage that left five people dead and interrupted Bidens’ certification of victory to American settlers who rose up against British rule. in the 18th century.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Bidens’ condolences go to Limbaugh’s family and friends, but she did not expect an official statement from the president.

Limbaugh ridiculed the mainstream media and appreciated the controversies arising from his on-air comments. Its success helped spawn a new class of right-wing radio, television and internet experts, including Sean Hannity, Bill OReilly, Glenn Beck and Alex Jones.

He called his followers the same head. He coined the term Nazi-women to denigrate women’s rights activists. Limbaugh in 2012 called a law student who spoke at a Congressional hearing about slutty birth control, prompting some sponsors to remove the ad from his show.

Limbaugh’s career, and talk radio in general, received a boost in 1987, when the United States Federal Communications Commission repealed rules requiring broadcasters to give equal time to both sides of political debate.

In the 1990s, Democrat Bill Clinton’s presidency gave Limbaugh a new target, and he claimed to have helped organize a Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. Limbaugh also targeted Democrat Barack Obama, elected president in 2008. When Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, Limbaugh called it a liberal wicket prize.

Reporting by Will Dunham; Additional reports by Lisa Lambert, Helen Coster and Doina Chiacu; Edited by Howard Goller

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