- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Radio host Rush Limbaugh told his millions of listeners on Wednesday that Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” audience is emblematic of a much larger threat to the republic — an ignorant citizenry prone to emotional manipulation.

“Oh. Wow. Huge, huge Donald Trump fans here tonight,” Mr. Colbert said after his Tuesday crowd roared with approval at President Trump’s decision to fire FBI director James Comey.

The audience quickly did an about-face and booed future comments on the issue.

“There weren’t any Trump fans in there,” Mr. Limbaugh said. “Those were liberal Democrats — robots, mind-numbed. They just can’t keep up with whether they’re supposed to hate Comey or not at this particular point in time. They don’t know who they’re supposed to hate. Can you imagine how confused they are? Their initial gut reaction was to stand up and cheer it, and Colbert was embarrassed.”

The host then offered analysis similar to “The Death of Expertise” author Tom Nicholas, whose recent book warns: “When that trust [in experts] breaks down, public ignorance can be turned by cynical manipulation into a political weapon. Anti-intellectualism is itself a means of short-circuiting democracy, because a stable democracy in any culture relies on the public actually understanding the implications of its own choices.”

Mr. Limbaugh said the event was proof that large swathes of the public do not possess critical thinking skills.

“These are mind-numbed, programmed robots who are being programmed by virtue of hate,” the conservative said. “They are being emotionally manipulated while they are being lied to. And that posits to me a grave danger … These people think they’re the most tolerant, the smartest, the most informed people around, and they are the exact opposite. And, as such, they pose a threat, if you believe that a representative republic or democracy depends on an informed, engaged citizenry. And the left cannot tolerate that. They cannot tolerate independent thinking.”

Mr. Colbert told his audience that he was “shocked” and that his pulse was “racing” in response to Mr. Comey’s firing.

Mr. Trump “fired the FBI director, who has said under oath that he’s investigating the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia,” the CBS host said. “No rationale has been given yet as to why, but it came on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”

In fact, the firing was also suggested by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over the way Mr. Comey handled the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server and handling of classified information.

The president took to social media early Wednesday to defend his actions, saying Mr. Comey “lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me! James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI.”

Mrs. Clinton and many of her supporters blame Mr. Comey for costing her the 2016 U.S. presidential election due to his handling of the FBI’s investigation into her secret email server.

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