Rush Limbaugh “encouraged doing the research … to win your argument,” writes Jonathan Crimmins (The Times Record, “Thanking Rush Limbaugh,” Feb. 19). But Mr. Crimmins neglects to cite a single quotation or a specific example of Limbaugh’s substantive work in his recent column.

Instead, he offers a mix of personal anecdotes and nostalgic reflections, claiming that Mr. Limbaugh was “positive natured” and “funny,” and that he, “demonstrated through … his commentaries that it was okay to have an opinion.” Mr. Limbaugh must have never told Mr. Crimmins to “take that bone out of your nose and call me back.”

So, what opinions did Mr. Limbaugh hold, and how positive natured and funny were they?

Since The Super Bowl just happened, let’s consider Mr. Limbaugh’s assessment of professional football. On his radio program in 2007, he said, “the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons.” These comments came after Limbaugh’s 2003 ESPN broadside against Donovan McNabb, which generated so much controversy that Limbaugh resigned.

He had said, “I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They’re interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well.” He didn’t stop there: “I think there’s a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn’t deserve.”

Maybe Mr. Limbaugh’s only vice was that he hated football. But in 1990, he had mused, “have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?” He didn’t just direct despicable, unabashed racism toward black men. “Ching cha. Ching chang cho chow. Cha Chow. Ching Cho. Chi ba ba ba,” he said in 2011, in what he must have considered a ‘funny’ attempt to ‘translate’ then-Chinese President Hu Jintao. It seems to me like it wasn’t football that Mr. Limbaugh hated.

I wonder if Mr. Crimmins would also characterize Mr. Limbaugh’s views on women and feminism as ‘positive’ and ‘funny.’ “Feminism,” Mr. Limbaugh said in 2005, “was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.” Earlier in 1994, Limbaugh had written, “Women should not be allowed on juries where the accused is a stud.” But maybe Mr. Crimmins forgave him since he did say in 2013, “I’m a huge supporter of women … I love women.”

If we want to look for more examples of Mr. Limbaugh’s supposed positivity and humor, let’s consider his commentary on gay people. “When a gay person turns his back on you, it is anything but an insult; it’s an invitation,” Mr. Limbaugh opined in 1994. This comment shouldn’t be surprising, though, since his radio show featured a segment in the 90s that mocked the deaths of AIDS victims. But at least Limbaugh played groovy disco music in the background of his homophobic diatribes!

We’re well-familiar with the go-to response to this line of critique: it was just a few things he said, and everyone slips up.

But it wasn’t just a few things: Mr. Limbaugh tirelessly peddled conspiracy theories, racism, sexism, homophobia and a slew of other views that have no place in a civil, decent society. And Mr. Limbaugh, as an influential media personality, carried a heightened responsibility to be careful with how he wielded power and influence. Yet he was willfully reckless — and proud of it, too.

I agree with Mr. Crimmins that Mr. Limbaugh was undeniably successful; his no-holds-barred style cast a rapturous spell over millions of listeners. But the ends don’t justify the means.

Mr. Crimmins credits Mr. Limbaugh with teaching him, “to not let someone step all over me and my ideas.” Thinking independently is a virtue, but given Mr. Crimmins’s unreserved praise, I have to wonder if Mr. Limbaugh and his mean-spirited, prejudiced, and disgraceful ideas might have just stepped all over him.

Kyle Hietala lives in Menlo Park, California. He grew up in West Bath.

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