Originally published in The Akron Beacon Journal

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Rush Limbaugh apparently has won some loyal followers here since his nationally syndicated radio talk show was picked up last year by Canton radio station WHBC.

One day last month three people phoned the Beacon Journal's Stark County bureau to protest what they considered to be unfair coverage of efforts by the new Republican majority in Congress to trim the federal school lunch program.

What sparked the anger? A check of that day's Beacon Journal and the previous day's edition found no major stories about the issue, which had been a hot item the week before.

A plausible answer came later that day when a reporter flipped on the radio and heard Limbaugh delivering a diatribe about the "mainstream" news media's slanted coverage of the GOP's proposal. It seems Limbaugh had been pounding on that theme all week.

Rush's listeners don't call themselves "ditto heads" for nothing.




Rush Limbaugh joyfully used his nationally syndicated radio talk show to beat a hard partisan drum rallying votes for the Republican takeover of Congress in last month's elections.

For an idea of how big a player the outspoken conservative has become in the new political order, check the top-of-Page-One banner headline in Tuesday's Canton Repository: "Does Gingrich speak like Rush?"

Limbaugh's name appears nowhere in the accompanying Associated Press story, which reported a White House spokesman criticizing Newt Gingrich, the incoming speaker of the House, for suggesting that up to a quarter of the White House staff had used illegal drugs.

"The time has come when he has to understand that he has to stop behaving like an out-of-control radio talk-show host," said Leon Panetta, President Clinton's chief of staff.

Apparently the Repository's editors decided Panetta had to be referring to Limbaugh, whose program was picked up earlier this year by local radio station WHBC.

Talk about name recognition.


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