After the CNBC Republican presidential debate generated controversy, conservative media have suggested upcoming debates should be moderated by right-wing pundits. Their suggestions have included serial misinformers and inflammatory commentators like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, and Erick Erickson. Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz also proposed “a debate moderated by Sean Hannity and Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh.”
Here is a look at what right-wing figures like Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, Beck, and Erickson would bring to the debate stage.
Rush Limbaugh has a long history of offensive and controversial remarks during his decades-long radio career. He came under heavy fire and lost advertisers and affiliates following his nasty attacks on Georgetown University Law Center student Sandra Fluke in 2012.
Limbaugh Regularly Engages In Misogynistic Smears And Attacks On Women. Limbaugh once compared a young Chelsea Clinton to a dog, claimed feminism “was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream,” and said Hillary Clinton is in possession of a “testicle lockbox.” He repeatedly attacked Sandra Fluke, calling her “a slut” and “a prostitute.” [Media Matters, 3/5/12, 3/5/12, 3/15/12]
Limbaugh's Long History Of Making Outrageous, Offensive Comparisons And Invoking Rape When Discussing Politics. Limbaugh has compared welfare recipients to wild animals who rely on humans for food, health care reform to Nazi policies, and President Obama to various dictators. In 2013, Limbaugh compared changing Senate filibuster rules to “allow[ing] women to be raped.” [Media Matters, 11/23/13]
Limbaugh Has Made Offensive And Controversial Remarks Targeting Immigrants. Limbaugh has described undocumented immigrants as an “invasive species,” and repeatedly mocked, denigrated, and insulted them as disease-ridden, criminal, and unintelligent. [Media Matters, 3/10/12]
Limbaugh Uses His Program To Mock Those Suffering From Natural Disasters And Illnesses. Limbaugh once accused actor Michael J. Fox of “exaggerating” the symptoms of his Parkinson's disease in a commercial for a Senate candidate, and expressed amusement that a deadly earthquake hit an environmentally conscious country. [Media Matters, 3/11/12]
Limbaugh Launches Racial Attacks Against Minorities And President Obama. Limbaugh has a long history of discriminatory attacks on minorities, which escalated during President Obama's presidency. During a 2013 discussion of George Zimmerman's trial, Limbaugh claimed he could now use the word “nigga” because a trial witness used the word. [Media Matters, 3/7/12, 7/16/13]
Limbaugh Frequently Engages In Attacks Against LGBT People And Issues. [Media Matters, 3/9/12]
For more on Rush Limbaugh, go here.
Sean Hannity has used his radio and Fox News programs to push false information and smears against progressives.
Hannity Fed The Birther Conspiracy Movement And Questioned President Obama's Religion. Hannity called on President Obama to produce his birth certificate, claimed he “grew up in Kenya,” and asserted that he “went to a Muslim school.” [Media Matters, 4/20/12]
Hannity Launched A Vicious Anti-Gay Smear Campaign Against Former Obama Administration Official Kevin Jennings. [Media Matters, 4/20/12]
Hannity's History Of Race-Baiting. Hannity repeatedly pushed the bogus connection between President Obama and the New Black Panther Party, and wondered if the “Obamas have a race problem of their own.” [Media Matters, 4/20/12]
Hannity Has Frequently Pushed Falsehoods About The Environment. Hannity has claimed global warming “doesn't exist,” and said the “true agenda” behind climate change science is to punish the United States and redistribute wealth. [Media Matters, 4/20/12]
Hannity Has A History Of Fearmongering About Muslims. Hannity has fearmongered about Sharia law, and defended attacks on Islam. [Media Matters, 4/20/12]
For more on Sean Hannity, go here.
Radio host Mark Levin uses toxic rhetoric to rail against progressives and those he sees as insufficiently conservative.
Levin's Long History Of Pushing Conservative Lies And Hateful Rhetoric. Levin has compared marriage equality to incest, polygamy, and drug use; compared supporters of the health care law to Nazi “brown shirts” ; and likened immigration reform to the “destruction” and “unraveling” of society. [Media Matters, 3/6/14]
Levin: President Obama Is A “Low-Life” And A “Racist” For Using “The N-Word” After Charleston Shooting. [Media Matters, 6/23/15]
Levin Accused Obama Of Being Anti-Semitic. [Media Matters, 3/18/15]
For more on Mark Levin, go here.
TheBlaze host Glenn Beck is best-known for his fringe rhetoric and outlandish conspiracy theories that helped lead to his parting from Fox News in 2011.
Media Matters' Comprehensive Guide To Glenn Beck's Tenure With Fox News. Beck's tenure at Fox News included violent rhetoric; conspiratorial musings; and rhetoric steeped in anti-Semitic stereotypes. [Media Matters, 6/29/11]
Beck Smeared President Obama As A Racist With “Deep-Seated Hatred For White People.” [Media Matters, 7/30/09]
The 8 Most Ridiculous Attacks On Public Education In Glenn Beck's Book Conform: Exposing The Truth About Common Core And Public Education. [Media Matters, 5/13/14]
Glenn Beck Has History Of Using The Holocaust To Advance His Political Agenda. Beck has repeatedly invoked Nazis, Hitler, and the Holocaust to attack his political opponents. [Media Matters, 8/22/11]
For more on Glenn Beck, go here.
Erick Erickson is a conservative blogger, radio host, and Fox News contributor. He's used his media platforms to push ugly rhetoric about women, LGBT people, and progressives.
Erickson's Fringe Rhetoric: Supreme Court Justice A “Goat Fucking Child Molester,” When Are We Going To Beat Legislators To “A Bloody Pulp?” [Media Matters, 8/4/15]
Erickson Has A History Of Sexism, Including Claiming That Males Should Be “Dominant,” “Feminazis” Are “Ugly,” And Michelle Obama Is A “Marxist Harpy Wife.” [Media Matters,8/4/15]
Erickson Has Been Called Out By Colleagues For “Being Disrespectful To Women.” [Media Matters, 8/4/15]
For more on Erick Erickson, go here.