Limbaugh Lung Cancer Announcement Rocks the Right
Written by Steve Byas
Near the end of his three-hour long daily program on Monday, radio legend Rush Limbaugh announced that he has been diagnosed with “advanced” lung cancer.
“This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me. I’ve known this moment is coming in the program,” Limbaugh began. “I’m sure that all you know by now that I really don’t like talking about myself and I don’t like making things about me. I like this program to be about you and the things that matter to all of us.”
In a statement void of detectable emotion, he said, “I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.” He added that this diagnosis was confirmed by “two medical institutions back on January 20.”
Regular listeners to the show may have noticed that Limbaugh has missed some programs recently with “respiratory” problems and that guest hosts have filled in. Limbaugh told his audience that his first indication that his problem was more serious than “asthma” or something was on his birthday weekend in January.
“I thought about not telling anybody,” he said. “I thought about doing this without anybody knowing, because I don’t like making things about me. But there are going to be days when I’m not able to be here because I’m undergoing treatment or I’m reacting to treatment.”
He continued, “I hope I will be talking about this as little as necessary in the coming days, but we have a great bunch of doctors, a great team assembled — we’re at full speed ahead on this.”
Limbaugh explained that he felt it necessary to make the stunning announcement because he knew many listeners would be curious as to why he was missing programs. “It’s not that I want to fool anybody, it’s just that I don’t want to burden anybody with it and I haven’t wanted to. But it is what is. You know me, I’m the mayor of Realville.”
Concerning the future of the program, Limbaugh said, “This has happened, and my intention is to come here every day I can and to do this program as normally and as completely and as expertly as I do each and every day because that is the source of my greatest satisfaction professionally, personally. I’ve had so much support from family and friends during this. It’s been tremendous.”
At the moment, Limbaugh said he was experiencing “zero symptoms.” What first caused concern was “shortness of breath,” which he said he “thought might have been asthma or my heart.” But, Limbaugh said, his heart has checked out as fine. “It was not that. It was a pulmonary problem involving malignancy. I’m going to be gone the next couple days as we figure out the treatment course of action and have further testing done. But as I said, I’m going to be there as often as I can.”
For several years, Limbaugh has mentioned that he formerly was a cigarette smoker, often referring to holding a paper with a story he wished to discuss in his “formerly nicotine-stained fingers.” While he gave up cigarettes years ago, Limbaugh has continued to sporadically smoke cigars. In his statement, Limbaugh also told his listeners that he had a “strong relationship” with God, and that he has been relying upon that relationship extensively in the past few days.
I can recall the first time that I heard Limbaugh on KTOK Radio in Oklahoma City. He was ridiculing the media’s adoration of then-Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev. Using martial music in the background, Limbaugh was lamenting how the mainstream media was making some sort of a hero out of the communist dictator. I remember thinking that Limbaugh was great, as I was also fed up with the routine adoration given to Gorbachev by the media, and that I was glad that the local station had gotten such a strongly conservative commentator. I soon learned that Rush Limbaugh was a national commentator.
In the years ahead, I joined millions of listeners as Limbaugh combined humor (which is not often done by the many dry and somber conservative commentators) with fresh commentary on the latest antics of the Left. His humorous “updates” and parodies made his points in ways that few other commentators had ever even attempted. Among the many parodies that I can remember now was a Bill Clinton impersonator singing to the tune of “All My Lovin,” that “All your money, I’m going to tax from you,” because, as the impersonator sang, “Because I need revenue.”
President Ronald Reagan had appointed new members to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and ended the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which limited such conservative commentary on the radio. Limbaugh was basically the first national figure to take advantage of this new freedom of the airwaves when he launched his national program in 1988. Over the years, Limbaugh has had many imitators on the Right, and even caused liberals to attempt to do the same thing with their audiences (with Air America). Few, however, Left or Right, could come close to Limbaugh’s ability to mix humor with incisive commentary.
Many constitutionalists have taken issue with some of Limbaugh’s remarks over the years, but mostly he has been a source of both entertainment and enlightenment for millions of conservatives who are looking for validation of views that they already held.
Some of us have been buoyed by Limbaugh’s rising attacks on “globalism” in recent months. In his earlier years, he tended to avoid such remarks, for whatever reason. He has been a strong supporter of President Donald Trump and his policies on such issues as immigration, often denouncing the “Deep State” out to get him.
Limbaugh has been able to overcome a loss of hearing, with the help of cochlear implants, and perhaps he will get past this latest health problem. He recently celebrated his 69th birthday. In 1998, he was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Steve Byas is a university instructor in history and government and author of History’s Greatest Libels. He may be contacted at [email protected]
Courtesy of The New American