These words defined Rush Limbaugh in 2012 after he smeared Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student who testified before Congress about women's health care. Limbaugh's misogynistic attack, which spanned three days of his radio show, did incalculable, long-term damage not only to Limbaugh's brand, but also to the right-wing talk-radio format he helped to build and the conservative movement he has shaped for decades.
Limbaugh's attacks on Fluke led to a paradigm shift in talk radio, as advertisers reassessed their support for inflammatory hosts. Limbaugh's toxic rhetoric helped shine a glaring spotlight on the broader conservative movement's policies toward women, focusing public attention on the radical right-wing effort to dismantle reproductive rights and the social safety net.
Limbaugh's unique brand of misinformation was not limited to sexist rhetoric. Throughout 2012, Limbaugh was an architect of the right-wing bubble that pushed conspiracy theories and denied reality, notably helping to create a false narrative that Mitt Romney was on the verge of winning a landslide election. As that right-wing bubble collapsed, so, too, did Limbaugh's four-year campaign of hoping - and trying to ensure - that President Obama would fail.
It is for these reasons that Media Matters recognizes Rush Limbaugh as the 2012 Misinformer of the Year. Past recipients include: Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. (2011); Sarah Palin (2010); Glenn Beck (2009); and Sean Hannity (2008).