WASHINGTON — University of California faculty delighted at the death of conservative radio legend Rush Limbaugh hours after his passing Wednesday, calling him a “one-man hate industry” in an email pitching themselves as “Rush Limbaugh experts” for media interviews.
Three professors from the University of California, Riverside appeared to celebrate Limbaugh’s death after he lost his battle with lung cancer at age 70, claiming that “America is objectively a better place without Rush in it.”
“For decades, Rush Limbaugh made millions trafficking in racism, sexism, and xenophobia,” creative writing professor and former CNN employee Reza Aslan said in the email distributed by the university’s PR department which read “Rush Limbaugh experts available to media.”
“He was a one-man hate industry. And while the hatred and fear he sowed throughout his destructive career will continue long after his death, America is objectively a better place without Rush in it,” he continued.
Aslan made similar incendiary remarks after Limbaugh announced his diagnosis last year, calling him “evil” and a “curse upon this nation” in a tweet.
When Breitbart News covered his comments, an unapologetic Aslan shared a link to the article and wrote: “Actually ‘curse upon this nation’ is just about the nicest thing I can think of to say about Rush Limbaugh dead or alive.”
His colleague, media and cultural studies professor Dylan Rodriguez said Limbaugh will be remembered as “an unapologetic purveyor of right-wing conspiracy narratives, racist mythologies, Islamophobic hate, and smug claims of white ‘American’ victimhood.”
“In life, there were few public figures who contributed more to the normalization of everyday white supremacist, antiblack, homophobic and transphobic, misogynist worldviews than Rush Limbaugh,” Rodriguez wrote.
“It was entirely fitting that Donald Trump awarded him the Presidential Medal of freedom, given Limbaugh’s primary, decades-long role in establishing the white nationalist populism that swept Trump into the White House.”
UCR political science professor Shaun Bowler offered the most nuanced take on Limbaugh’s towering influence in the radio industry, describing him as “a leading figure in helping shape the modern GOPs electoral outreach and campaigning style.”
“Limbaugh’s questionable accuracy, his love of conspiracy theories and fondness for insulting people was a successful ratings mix in the 1930s and it was again in the 1990s,” Bowler wrote.
The talk radio pioneer was a leading voice in the conservative movement thanks to his acerbic and brash style and his program became the most listened to radio show in the US with 20 million monthly listeners.
Limbaugh announced last February that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.
He developed a personal friendship with fellow Palm Beach, Fl. resident, former President Donald Trump, who awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, during his final State of the Union address.
On Wednesday, Trump reflected on Limbaugh’s legacy in his first TV interview since leaving the Oval Office, describing him as a “very brave man” with a “fascinating show.”
“He was very street-smart, in a sense, and a lot of people wouldn’t know but he was very, very street-smart, he really got it,” Trump told Fox News.
A University of California, Riverside spokesman did not immediately respond to request for comment on Thursday.