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TUESDAY, MAY 2, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Limbaugh deal right outcome for loudmouth

Rush Limbaugh, for practical purposes, is on probation for the next 18 months as a result of his deal with prosecutors Friday.

He wasn't convicted of the fraud charges brought in connection with his prescription drug habit. In fact, the conservative radio talk-show host continued to maintain he has broken no law even after Friday's arrest on charges coming from a three-year investigation.

Still, he agreed to submit to continued drug addiction treatment for the next year and a half, and the state will dismiss the charges if he continues the program until that time. The fulfilled agreement will take away the possibility of conviction for what state prosecutors said was his addiction to prescription pain pills.

To suggest that the agreement in some way goes to Mr. Limbaugh's credibility is misleading. Mr. Limbaugh's appeal has never been to people looking for perspective or the truth, but to people who think alike. Mr. Limbaugh is an opinion-giving machine.

Thus, people of like opinions will continue to tune in and continue to say the state of Florida hijacked their favorite commentator.

Going through an ordeal such as Mr. Limbaugh's is a humbling experience for some people. But don't look for that in this case. Take away the bravado, the myopic outlook, his devouring of good people's reputations and there's not much left of Rush Limbaugh.

He didn't need to go to jail, even if convicted. Like so many other unfortunate people against whom he railed over the years, he needed the help he is getting.

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