12 October 2009

Is Rush Limbaugh the next Silvio Berlusconi?

Right now, the answer to the title question is "no" -- but could it one day switch to "yes?" Until this month, all the Floridian radio host (left) and the Italian prime minister (right) had in common was the fact that both men were misogynist boors who had too much money, power and media influence.  In the past week, though, we've seen a couple of news items that, if they pan out, may make Limbaugh more powerful than ever.
  • Last Friday, the Miss America Organization named Limbaugh as a judge for the 2010 Miss America pageant, scheduled for next January in Las Vegas.  Thus, Limbaugh gets to attach his name to another American icon (even one as badly aged as Miss America).  And, he gets to leer at pretty young women and get away with it.
  • A much larger occurrence is Limbaugh's recently announced bid to buy the St. Louis Rams.  It's hard to imagine this bid succeeding -- the NFL players' union has already announced its opposition -- but if it does, he will have developed another similarity to Berlusconi, owner of Italian soccer superpower AC Milan.  (My favorite soccer team? Whoever is playing the Rossoneri this week!)
The point is that Silvio Berlusconi used AC Milan, among other organizations, to gain control over the Italian media.  From there, it became much easier for him to conquer Italy itself.  Perhaps Rush Limbaugh, with his actions last week, is trying to follow Berlusconi's footsteps.  Given that Italian law is steadily closing in on Silvio, Rush is going to have to watch his steps much more closely than he has in the past.

God, I hope Rush Limbaugh fails.

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