President Donald Trump took many by surprise in his State of the Union speech when he awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative talk show radio host Rush Limbaugh, who was in attendance. First lady Melania Trump presented the honor to Limbaugh, but the move drew criticism and outcry from the media and from Limbaugh’s critics.
ABC News joined in on the Limbaugh criticisms with its article, headlined, “Rush Limbaugh’s Medal of Freedom from Trump draws backlash over past comments.” The article exclusively focused on Limbaugh’s critics, ranging from Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former vice president Joe Biden, and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
It failed to find and quote a single source in defense of Limbaugh’s past comments and political views. The outlet’s sole defense was that Limbaugh’s diagnosis of advanced lung cancer “drew well-wishes from both sides of the political divide,” but no specific defense of any of his comments or views.
The news outlet cited multiple critics on social media without sourcing these critics or their arguments, which alleged that “Limbaugh has made numerous derogatory comments about minority groups as well as offensive comments about AIDS and the LGBTQ community, suicide and many other sensitive topics and marginalized communities.”
It also listed multiple reasons to discredit Limbaugh and his award, such as Limbaugh’s comments that abortion activist Sandra Fluke was a “slut” for her abortion views. ABC News acknowledged Limbaugh apologized for insulting Fluke.
ABC News’s article highlighting Limbaugh’s critics lacked fair treatment and neutrality and neglected to present the opinions and views of his radio show listeners.