Simply put, it was a business decision.
The Real War within the GOP
on Saturday's edition of his show "UP", Chris Hayes amplified the point further in his brilliant monologue about the GOP's grim prospects. The whole thing is well worth watching or reading the transcript, but here's the key excerpt (emphasis added):
The beating heart of modern conservatism is its visceral appeal to anxieties and fears of white Christians. … Once you understand this then you can see that the Republican party’s problems are deeper than, say, Republican opposition to comprehensive immigration reform, or even the far less controversial DREAM Act. That policy opposition is a symptom of the problem, not the cause. The deeper issue is that for conservative politicians and networks and websites there is simply too much to be gained by feeding the sense of persecution and siege that many white Christians feel down to their toes.Then last night on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Steve Kornacki put a bow around it with this analysis (the whole video is great; Kornacki starts about 10:25 in):
The problem is, in today's Republican universe, there are powerful incentives for opinion shapers like Limbaugh not to win elections. Rush Limbaugh did not need Mitt Romney to win in order to have influence, to have clout, and to make money, in fact, he might have more influence, more clout, more prominence, and make more money if Mitt Romney loses. And he is feeding information, creating talking points, and creating sort of the agenda for the party base. And there's this beautiful built-in excuse: it's like a "heads I win, tails you lose" thing for a guy like Limbaugh. You can run an election like this, and Romney can lose, and it can be "Well, Romney wasn't conservative enough." OR you can look at one of those races…where clearly they nominated the most conservative candidate and they still lost, then the excuse is "Well, the sellouts in the party establishment abandoned the pure conservative candidate." So either way you can feed the sense of conservative victimhood, and a guy like Limbaugh can always pit himself against the party establishment, and he…doesn't need to tell the base something that's going to win an election, he needs to tell the base something that's going to make them feel good and make them feel like they're fighting against the powerful, arrogant establishment.
Let's amplify the point.
Rush, FAUX and the rest intentionally lied to their audiences because it made money to do so.
And they still do it to this day.