John Kerry botched a joke the other day. The way he botched the joke led people to believe that he insulted the troops in Iraq. Frankly, it sounded like he was insulting the troops in Iraq. However, everyone knows that he wasn't trying to insult the troops. Every politician knows that it would be political suicide to insult the troops in Iraq. Or Afghanistan (we forget about those troops, don't we?). Yet, everyone is more than ready to assume that he actually insulted the troops. That doesn't mean that the troops don't deserve an apology simply because we all know that he couldn't possibly be that stupid. He should apologize. However, so should Rush Limbaugh.
Rush Limbaugh immediately jumped on Kerry's gaffe and said something like, "This shows us exactly how John Kerry and the rest of the Democratic Party feel about the troops." Now, how exactly does Rush get away with saying something like that? First, he's not a politician, so he doesn't have to worry about getting re-elected. Second, lies make great radio (or TV, I'm not sure where it was said, I just saw the quote). The worst part about Rush's statement is not that it's a lie, but that he said it specifically because it was a lie. It was a lie that would get him good ratings. In fact, it is in Rush Limbaugh's best interest to tell lies just like this every time he goes on air.
Now, I think that most Americans are smart enough to know that Limbaugh's statement is absolutely ridiculous. Any reasonable person knows that the statements of one man don't always reflect the views of an entire group. Is there anyone out there that thinks David Duke speaks for all white people? Or that Tom Cruise speaks for all actors? Or that Osama Bin Laden speaks for all Muslims? No, we know that these men are speaking their own mind. In fact, they represent the minority of each of their groups. Most Americans know this. Most Americans can tell the difference between one man's botched joke and an entire party's view on the troops. Of course, Rush Limbaugh doesn't think most Americans are that smart.
Of course, I'm making Rush Limbaugh into the bad guy. He is a bad guy, but he's also a product of the media that needs to find a quick controversy to boost the ratings regardless of whether the truth is getting reported. We don't want news anymore, we want headlines and people like Rush and Ann Coulter and Al Franken feed them to us. We never get actual news or good information, we only get hyperbole. In the end, we know nothing and no one tries to help us. But boy are we entertained.