Right-thinking radio commentator Rush Limbaugh credits his long reign to groundwork laid by conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr.
So, when the Media Research Center decided to found an annual award for media excellence named in honor of the National Review magazine founder, the man known to fans as “El Rushbo” proved the irresistible choice to receive it.
The group’s 20th-anniversary gala honored the talk-show host while once again pointing out how unfairly the liberal media treats conservatives.
The MRC monitors liberal bias wherever it appears, as fans who visit its Web site (www.newsbusters.org) on a daily basis surely will attest.
Previous DisHonors Awards dinners have been modest affairs, but Thursday’s event swelled in size and scope, even if Ann Coulter and a few other conservative stalwarts were no-shows. The guests may take unfair coverage in the mainstream media seriously, but they were too busy laughing about the opposition to complain at the Grand Hyatt Thursday night.
Mr. Limbaugh, tan and imposing in a dark suit and brilliant gold tie, attacked the enemy with relish. “They lie. They take things out of context,” he said, adding that the MRC tells the public “exactly what [the perpetrators] said and the context in which it was said.”
He doesn’t mind having so many enemies on the left, he noted, so long as he has friends like those present at his side.
Said friends ate up every syllable.
The night featured five secondary awards with snarky titles such as the God, I Hate America Award and the Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis.
No one was shocked that the winners, including CBS News’ Katie Couric and CNN’s Jack Cafferty, were not there to accept.
A flurry of right-minded thinkers attended, including former Attorney General Edwin Meese, Mary Matalin, Richard Viguerie, Pat Sajak, Herman Cain and Neal Boortz.
Mr. Boortz praised groups like MRC for giving him the ammunition to fight liberal ideology. “I’ve been doing talk radio for 37 years,” the syndicated Cox Radio host deadpanned, “and I’ve never had an original thought.”
The gala wasn’t all about blasting liberal bias. The program included a half dozen video clips featuring political humor and televised gags. Guests even were treated to a YouTube favorite from 2006: ABC News correspondent Connie Chung warbling “Thanks for the Memories” hopelessly out of tune.
The MRC’s Quote of the Year winner? Who else but New York Times Chairman Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. for a commencement address in which he blasted modern America while informing students he felt their pain.
Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele drew a hearty ovation after promising to run for office again following his Senate defeat last year.
During pre-dinner cocktails, radio talker G. Gordon Liddy said the MRC may have less material in the future, but he feels confident the lull won’t last.
“The mainstream press is complicit in the highly irresponsible agenda the Democrats would have us pursue regarding the war on terror and Iraq,” Mr. Liddy said. “That will come back to bite them hard, and that will make them change — temporarily.”
— Christian Toto