How Rush Limbaugh broke the old media — and built the new one

Most remembrances of Rush Limbaugh, the talk radio titan who passed away on Wednesday at age 70 from complications of lung cancer, have focused on his seismic political impact, either excoriating him for being a hate monger or lionizing a champion gone too soon. But while such political arguments are worthwhile, they miss the breadth of how Limbaugh revolutionized media.

By pioneering a new type of in-your-face, conservative talk show, the host remade the rules of the medium and led to the founding of thousands of new talk radio stations. His success also drove the rise of infotainment media — which blended information and entertainment and blurred the line between opinion and fact — on radio, cable television, and the internet, and helped destroy the gatekeeper role of the mainstream media.



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