On the Outs

Friday, March 06, 2009

Transcript

Rush Limbaugh's keynote speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in DC last weekend received much media attention and left pundits wondering if he's the de facto leader of the republican party? A question the White House was more than happy to discuss. But Limbaugh wasn't the only radio professional at CPAC. We too were curious about the future of conservatism and its future media message. So Bob attended and came back with this report.

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Comments [61]

broxboy


Good Lord...another B.H. diatribe!!!!

**I don't especially disagree with you on that point, and I'm not sure that Bob Garfield does either**

So, it's agreed that Bob Garfield is in the tank for Obama?

Please stop! Or else B.H. will type another novel!

Apr. 08 2009 09:02 PM
B.H.

Hi Doodle,

I don't especially disagree with you on that point, and I'm not sure that Bob Garfield does either (see comment #5).

To be sure, though, this is a show about the media, and it wasn't just left-leaning media outlets that picked up, circulated, and responded to the White House's ploy. Witness Bill O'Reilly's discussion of the back-and-forth between Steele and Limbaugh cited in this piece:

"BILL O’REILLY: But the perception it gives people who don't follow politics closely and really don't know what’s going on is that Michael Steele obviously is apologizing to Rush Limbaugh, that Rush Limbaugh is more powerful than Steele. And Limbaugh may well be."

I wouldn't call O'Reilly "in the tank" for Obama, but along with most media outlets, he didn't discourage the story's circulation. And it seemed to me that Garfield's piece was suggesting that that CPAC's decision to have Limbaugh headline their event all but played into the White House's hand.

It's worth noting, also, that On The Media discussed the calculated creation and circulation of this Limbaugh "meme" by James Carville's polling company and the White House a week later in a segment of their March 13 edition.

Apr. 08 2009 01:09 PM
Doodle


Let's get back to the basis for argument....

The WH choose to spin the idea that "Rush Limbaugh is the head of the Republican party"...to take the bad news off the front page.

And those "in the tank" for Obama, chose to do the partisan bidding for the WH.

ANd Bob, did exactly what the WH wanted him to do...and continue a manufactured story.

Whatever diversions you want to introduce, this is the heart of the criticism.

Apr. 07 2009 08:34 PM
bronxboy


limbaugh is simply an entertainer....

my problem is with people at the WHite House (as a spin diversion) claiming he is the head of the republican party....and bob garfield bought into it....and did the WH's bidding in this peice.

but, as was said earlier....it's NPR.

Mar. 31 2009 09:08 PM
B.H.

Dear Don and Bronxboy,

Your argument seems to be with Rush Limbaugh rather than with anyone here on this forum. Whether his program promotes conservatism or not, a central part of Limbaugh's performance is stating that it does promote conservatism. For instance (as just one example) this is how Limbaugh opened his 11/5/08 show:

"Well, my friends, the new tone has finally come home to roost. For those of you perplexed by my meaning, I will 'splain this along with lots of other things as we engage in three hours of broadcast excellence from the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies, rebuilding the conservative movement."

Letterman's and Leno's politics clearly influence their show, but their politics are not presented as cornerstones of their performances -- jokingly or otherwise. Have Leno or Letterman claimed or even joked that their shows are "Institutes for Advanced Liberal Studies" or that they seek to rebuild a liberal movement? Have Letterman or Leno headlined an event comparable to CPAC? If your answer is no, then how do you account for this difference?

So let's return to the beginning of this thread. Even if you disagree that Limbaugh, Letterman, and Leno differ in their approach to promoting political movements, do you have any evidence that Leno and Letterman prey upon racial tension and stereotypes the same way that Limbaugh does (as in the examples I cited above)?

I'll agree with you this far: Leno, Letterman and Limbaugh are all entertainers whose last names begin with "L" and whose entertainment is influenced by their political opinions. But that's never been contested here. Do you have any evidence that Leno or Letterman bait race the same way Limbaugh does? Have Leno or Letterman claimed that a racial stereotype (like "blacks can't swim") is supported by current scientific research (as Limbaugh did when questioned by an offended caller)? Have Leno or Letterman appeared at anything comparable to CPAC featured speakers?

Mar. 28 2009 01:40 PM
David from Rhode Island

Bronxboy - no one claimed that Letterman didn't let his political leanings show through, but his day to day show is not remotely the same as Limbaugh's. If you and Don want to think it is, fine. Enjoy your black and white world. In your world, nothing Obama said, Steele said, hundreds if not thousands of others say, or the topic of this show made sense.

Again, the fact that the Dems can say that Limbaugh is the head of the Republican Party and it actually makes a viable topic for debate, while if that were said about Leno or Letterman and the Democratic Party whoever said it would be considered a complete idiot, is all the proof that is needed that they play in different ballparks politically. Even if it were true that Rush's purpose was only to entertain and get as many listener's and therefore as much money as possible, people often transcend their original goals and meaning. So his motivation is irrelavent, although he clearly is actually motivated by politics as is clear from his biography.

But, enjoy your hatred of Rush and your simple analysis of the world.

Mar. 28 2009 08:20 AM
Bronxboy


i have never known anyone who suddenly *became* a conservative because they stumbled across limbaugh on the radio.

btw....you don't think Letterman promotes his political views? look at the way he treated mccain, oreilly, bush and every other conservative he has ever had on the show...and how he bows down before the almighty obama.

i guess lettermans purpose is to promote liberalism?

Mar. 27 2009 11:26 PM
don


It doesn't promote conservatism.

It preaches to the choir....who finds his outlook amusing.

Mar. 27 2009 11:20 PM
B.H.

Hi Don,

"Limbaugh's show is explicit in it's [sic] goal to get the most listeners he can...and to keep them for as long as he can....and then charge confiscatory ad rates."

I agree, but your point doesn't contradict what I wrote. I never suggested that Limbaugh's show had only one goal. Indeed, it has many: its goal to entertain, its goal to generate ad revenue, and its goal to promote conservatism.

Mar. 27 2009 10:43 PM
don


**Whether one regards Limbaugh as a political entertainer or an entertaining political host, the point remains that Limbaugh's show is explicit in its goal of advancing contemporary American conservatism**

Limbaugh's show is explicit in it's goal to get the most listeners he can...and to keep them for as long as he can....and then charge confiscatory ad rates.

Maybe you've been listening to NPR too long and don't realize what that.

Mar. 27 2009 08:27 PM
B.H.

Don,

Whether one regards Limbaugh as a political entertainer or an entertaining political host, the point remains that Limbaugh's show is explicit in its goal of advancing contemporary American conservatism. Whether his mass audience appreciates him as a political comedian or a comic political voice, conservative politicians respect his show as a real and powerful political force.

Remember that Limbaugh was made an honorary member of the Republican freshman congressional class of 1994 following the "Republican Revolution" for what they saw as his significant role in that revolution. Have Leno or Letterman ever received that sort of honor by a body of Democratic or liberal politicians? Have Leno or Letterman been featured speakers at anything comparable to CPAC?

It’s worth noting, by the way, that in this recent spat with Michael Steele, Limbaugh excoriated Steele for dismissing him as just "an entertainer":

“I personally took time to defend Michael Steele and to rip the substance of [his opposition’s] ads, had him on the show. I went after Chuck Schumer when Chuck Schumer's former employee stole Michael Steele's private credit record information and released it. When I went to Washington a couple years ago for a personal appearance from my station there, WMAL, WMAL arranged for a number of dignitaries to meet me backstage. One of them was Michael Steele, who thanked me very much for coming to his defense. Something's happened. Now I'm just an entertainer and now I am ugly and my program is incendiary."

Limbaugh is clear on this point: he takes issue with Steele for dismissing him as "just an entertainer" after Limbaugh did so much more than merely entertain on Steele's behalf.

Now, in contrast to Limbaugh, have Leno or Letterman ever criticized any politician for describing them as just entertainers?

Mar. 27 2009 04:23 PM
David from Rhode Island

Let me know when they start talking about Leno or Letterman as being the head of the Democratic Party, btw.

Mar. 27 2009 02:48 PM
David from Rhode Island

OMG, lol. Are you saying I am a liberal? You don't read very well, then. And your comment that conservatives don't look to Rush for insight is ridiculous and overgeneralized. Many don't of course. I have not listened to Rush for years. But millions do indeed get their insights from him, as has been shown time after time through the calls he gets, the letters that are sent in to various publications, and so many other ways. And beyond that, it reinforces their conservative instincts and allows them to better verbalize what they inherently believe.

This is not even worth arguing, it is obvious that of course thereis some overlap between what Limbaugh does and what Leno/Letterman do in that they do all entertain, but equally obvious is the vast gulf between how they are perceived by the public and therefore the impact of their "jokes". None of the Sunday shows, nor Carville or Steele or anyone else talk about Leno/Letterman the way they talk about Rush. He is clearly a political figure, they are not.

Mar. 27 2009 08:24 AM
don


>>I disagree that Rush is an entertainer first and foremost, indeed. He is a political commentator first and foremost who cleverly realized that doing it in an entertaining way was the only way to get the audience he does. You don't realize that?<<

I don't realize or agree with it.

As a Conservative....no one I know looks to Rush for insight...they look to him to make politics amusing for those who are on the Right.

You Liberals give him too much credit. You appear to be afraid of him.

Mar. 26 2009 09:20 PM
David from Rhode Island

I disagree that Rush is an entertainer first and foremost, indeed. He is a political commentator first and foremost who cleverly realized that doing it in an entertaining way was the only way to get the audience he does.

You don't realize that?

Mar. 26 2009 10:51 AM
don

**But are you really equating the way Letterman is perceived with Limbaugh and Maher?**

I am saying they are all entertainers first and foremost.

Anything for a laugh. Anything for ratings.

You don't realize that?

Mar. 25 2009 09:21 PM
David from Rhode Island

Don - no one said Letterman wasn't liberal, or doesn't attempt to hide it. But are you really equating the way Letterman is perceived with Limbaugh and Maher? You get real.

Mar. 25 2009 01:53 PM
Don from Nevada

You don't think Leterman pushes his leftist politics on his show?

Get real!

Mar. 24 2009 08:32 PM
Dawg

kinda funny when you try to point out the liberal bias on npr then someone comes up with 2 "talking points" from media matters to try to say they are not bias.

get your talking points from someone other than media matters if you want to prove you are not bias

Mar. 19 2009 10:41 PM
B.H.

Hi David,

"Look at it this way. If Leno came in and did exactly the same "schtick" as Limbaugh did in a performance, the first thing is the audience would be totally perplexed. "

On this we completely agree, and I think you're absolutely right in pointing out it's key to recognize that Leno and Limbaugh "frame" their performances in entirely different terms. Your points in this thread are very well taken. The difference is, as you say -- and quite literally in this case -- night and day. While Leno and Letterman may have reputations for being left of center, I don't think either of them have ever argued that their comedic work is in service of a particular political ideology the way in the way that Limbaugh regularly and explicitly argues (tongue in cheek or not) that his comedy furthers contemporary American conservatism.

Mar. 18 2009 12:41 PM
David from Rhode Island

Bronxboy - Lighten up. BH made a mistake, he has never been anything but reasoned in his presentation of his views. One can agree or disagree, but compared to the ALL CAPS flame-throwing loonies that are often on here, BH is debating at a very high level.

Mar. 18 2009 10:35 AM
David from Rhode Island

BH - you are right. On television at least, Leno does nothing comparable to Limbaugh. Never seen him live, but in any case, I repeat that it is night and day. Look at it this way. If Leno came in and did exactly the same "schtick" as Limbaugh did in a performance, the first thing is the audience would be totally perplexed. They would probably not find it amusing, but if they did it would be because they knew it was an isolated comedic "thing", not a political commentator expressing his own real views. Hell, Leno doesn't even write the jokes, so that pretty much negates the whole thing anyway. So again, sometimes context is everything.

Mar. 18 2009 10:32 AM
B.H.

Bronxboy and David,

I'm more than happy to admit my error. I don't think Jay Leno is a particularly good example, but I agreed with what I took to be Doodle's point: that you can hear the same sort of material among many other entertainers and comedians. I should have stated explicitly that I didn't agree with his characterization of Leno in particular. (I clearly shouldn't have used the word "precisely".)

I don't follow Leno as closely as I have Limbaugh, and I've heard that Leno's club act had a reputation of being much more 'edgy' than his Tonight Show performances, but on television it's never seemed to me that he's tried to prey upon racial tension and stereotypes the same way that Limbaugh does. Again, though, I'm certainly open to the possibility that I'm wrong about him, and that's why I asked for evidence of him doing anything comparable.

Mar. 18 2009 06:49 AM
Bronxboy from Bronx


I guess BH is never going to admit his error....he'll just write another diatribe making excuses.

Mar. 17 2009 09:35 PM
David from Rhode Island

well BH, you are the one that in post 32 quoted Doodle in post 26 where he did lump Leno into the mix and you appeared to agree with him. "Doodle, that's my point precisely." That was what you said right after quoting him where he equates Leno's jokes with Limbaugh's smears. And make no mistake about it (agreeing with you, BH), no matter how amusing or inconsequential people think playing the "Moving On Up" theme song is, it is a tasteless smear, precisely because Limbaugh clearly means it to be.

So I think that is not what you meant to do, but it did appear that you were giving creedance to Doodle's inaccurate analysis.

Mar. 17 2009 08:30 PM
B.H.

Hi JF,

"In that case, Jay Leno does as well, David Letterman, etc., etc....if that's the point you want to make. But you'd have a hard time getting anyone to agree with you. ....and thats not race baiting."

Actually, while I can think of many comedians who regularly engage in race-baiting, Letterman and Leno aren't among them. Why would you -- to borrow your expression -- lump them together with Limbaugh in this way? Do you have any evidence to support your suggestion that Letterman and Leno regularly exploit racial tension and hatred in the way that Limbaugh does?

I'm quite aware of the specific meaning of race-baiting. The Oxford English Dictionary's website offers a very good definition of the term:

"The incitement or exploitation of racial hatred, prejudice, or tension, usually (esp. in later use) for political gain." ("race-baiting, n." OED Online. June 2008. Oxford University Press. http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50293670 .)

When Limbaugh jokes that African Americans are at a disadvantage during a swimming competition, takes a caller who challenges him on that point, and then responds by claiming that actually there's a current scientific journal article that supports his position, it doesn't seem inappropriate at all to call this an exploitation of racial prejudice and tension for his own gain. When Limbaugh played "Moving on Up" before his discussions of Carol Moseley Braun, or when Limbaugh joked that the NAACP should have riot rehearsals and practice robberies at liquor stores, I have difficulty understanding why any reasonable person wouldn't concede that these are cases in which he exploited racial tension for political gain.

Mar. 17 2009 11:22 AM
David from Rhode Island

JF - that's my point exactly, the context of where they are perceived to be coming from makes all the difference, because that in turn affects the way in which the listener processes it.

Rubber Biscuit - cute comment, although you don't have to shout. But I assure you that probably 15 million out of the 20 million do indeed get their news and analysis from Rush Limbaugh. I am giving him that much credit and I am a conservative. I don't think you are serious in your comment, but if you are, you vastly overestimate the number of people in this country that think for themselves, both far left and far right.

Mar. 16 2009 10:48 PM
Rubber Biscuit


In other words, people are there to see Leno expecting to hear all sorts of jokes about random topics, and to the extent they perceive it as political.social commentary is secondary. People tune into Rush and Maher to hear their analysis,

NO ONE -NOT EVEN CONSERVATIVES- LISTEN TO LIMBAUGH FOR "ANALYSIS"....ANY MORE THAN THEY DO WHEN THEY LISTEN TO THE WITTY GUY AT THE END OF THE BAR GIVE HIS TAKE ONT HE WORLD.

THEY TUNE IN TO CHUCKLE ALONG WITH HIM ABOUT FEMINAZIS, AND THE LIKE.

YOU LIBERALS GIVE HIM TOO MUCH CREDIT. AND APPARENTLY HE WORRIES YOU. ;-)

Mar. 16 2009 09:27 PM
JF


BH Wrote:

**Like many other entertainers, Limbaugh race-baits and assassinates the character of those with whom he disagrees. **

In that case, Jay Leno does as well, David Letterman, etc., etc....if that's the point you want to make.

But you'd have a hard time getting anyone to agree with you. ....and thats not race baiting.

apparently you dont understand that race baiting has specific meaning...and you are lumping everything together.

good luck

Mar. 16 2009 09:22 PM
B.H.

"As far as the transcript goes, so what? Limbaugh is an (conservative) entertainer. Go into some comedy clubs, listen to Jay Leno...you'll hear the same. They poke fun at minority groups, short people, gays, old people...and public figures like Obama are fair game."

Doodle, that's my point precisely. Like many other entertainers, Limbaugh race-baits and assassinates the character of those with whom he disagrees. As you say, Obama, short people, old people, minority groups and gays are certainly fair game for Limbaugh to mock. Exactly why, then, isn't it fair for me, Bob Garfield, or anyone else to describe what Limbaugh does as race-baiting and character assassination, just as I would any other entertainer who says what Limbaugh says?

I can think of plenty of entertainers who race-bait and attack the character of those with whom they disagree, but most of them don't deny doing so. In fact, they tend to advertise themselves as wild and outrageous, and proudly acknowledge that they try to stir up controversy by voicing outrageous stances (which may or may not be their own).

Limbaugh. on the other hand, promotes himself as a "harmless lovable little fuzzball" who competes in the "arena of ideas" and is "America's real anchorman", and consistently denies charges that he provokes controversies concerning race, gender, class, disability, and sexual orientation. And I applaud Limbaugh’s skill in presenting his show simultaneous as absurdity and as a deadly serious, intellectually thorough critique of liberalism. It's brilliant: when his critics take issue with the substance of his claims, he answers that he's just a radio host and his detractors have no sense of humor; when he's dismissed as "just an entertainer" (as Steele did), Limbaugh protests that he's not being taken seriously as a powerful voice for the conservative movement.

So why do you take issue with a characterization of Limbaugh that would fit any other entertainer who does what he does?

Mar. 16 2009 05:47 PM
David from Rhode Island

As far as Jack and "Comcast must die", PUH-LEEZE. I have as much of a problem with how Bob Garfield presents things as anyone, but this is ridiculous. Only a fringe element or someone determined to crap on Garfield no matter what would take this as anything but hyperbole (and not all that hyperbolic) to make his point that he has a problem with Comcast. It is just not that big a deal except to the 5% at the tail end of a normal distribution curve.

Mar. 16 2009 11:11 AM
David from Rhode Island

"As far as the transcript goes, so what? Limbaugh is an (conservative) entertainer. Go into some comedy clubs, listen to Jay Leno...you'll hear the same. They poke fun at minority groups, short people, gays, old people...and public figures like Obama are fair game."

This is a canard. There is a huge difference, clear to any reasonable person, that the jokes told by a Leno or Letterman or most stand-ups are not part of an overall thread as political and/or serious social commentary. Most people don't perceive them that way either. People like Rush and Bill Maher, however, are clearly there to make their living on political and social commentary (to put it nicely), and the perception of the entertainment the ensues is exactly reversed. In other words, people are there to see Leno expecting to hear all sorts of jokes about random topics, and to the extent they perceive it as political.social commentary is secondary. People tune into Rush and Maher to hear their analysis, and they like it if they are entertained in the process.

As you kow, Doodles, I agree with your last comments about how Garfield opened the piece. But dumping on everything every liberal says (and I am not even sure BH is a liberal) just makes you lose credibility. We have plenty of facts on our side, and after that it comes down to how free you want this country to be.

Mar. 16 2009 11:06 AM
David from Rhode Island

Man, no wonder they think the right wing is devoid of all sense. Let's see, where to start.

Doodle: "The point is that BH and other gets their talking points from other liberal media (media Matters). And Bob Sullivan pointed out the cycle. From one talking head to another." Well, in this case at least it is not the point. He cited specific quotes from Rush, not out of context in the least, and made valid comments on them totally in keeping with the thread. You can disagree with the OPINION of what motivates Rush to say things that way or even the interpretation (although he doesn't usually leave much room for interpretation), but not the facts of what he says and that any reasonable person would characterize these comments as highly partisan and inflammatory. As a conservative, that is my problem with Rush. Good ideas and good analysis about how we have strayed very very far from individual rights and freedoms get dimished in the furor over terms like "feminazi". Again, to a certain point it gets things noticed that otherwise get heard by few and motivates no one. That is Rush's defense for what he says; that, and the fact that it makes him many many millions, which I think is just fine. But let's not pretend that any criticism is wrong just because it is Rush.
(cont.)

Mar. 16 2009 10:59 AM
Jack from Chicago

As a rich, liberal bloviator, Bob frequently resorts to conservative-hating, character-assassinating criticism.
I find his views nauseating. Free of facts and replete with ad hominem attacks.

And I don't get his joke about Comcast.

Mar. 15 2009 03:12 PM
Jack from Chicago

@bh
"Words mean things" exactly.
What does "Comcast must die" mean? I think it's subject to interpretation and, therefore, could have non-trivial consequences. I've never been to the site so my interpretation is from the url alone.
Moreover, Comcast is not some abstract concept. It's a group of individuals trying their best to do something very difficult, please the public. I think Bob's language is awkward at best, especially in the context that he originally called for "jihad" targeting Comcast. In a post 9-11 world, this word has meaning and Bob knew it.

I don't work for Comcast and have Time Warner cable so I've got no dog in this fight.

Mar. 15 2009 01:43 PM
Doodle from NYC


The point is that BH and other gets their talking points from other liberal media (media Matters). And Bob Sullivan pointed out the cycle. From one talking head to another.

As far as the transcript goes, so what? Limbaugh is an (conservative) entertainer. Go into some comedy clubs, listen to Jay Leno...you'll hear the same. They poke fun at minority groups, short people, gays, old people...and public figures like Obama are fair game.

What bob called 'race baiting' seems to be ANYthing that mentions race. (again, go into a comedy club and see what you hear.) The real definition of race baiting isn't even at play here. As far as character assassination....I seem to recall no one spoke out at the "Bush = Hitler" posters.

Let's face it....people(Bob) like people who agree with them...and tend to dislike people who disagree with them...especially when they are successful.

This whole thread has gotten off the track...but getting back to Bob's degrading introduction to the Limbaugh piece shaded and biased the whole thing, and showed what a partisan Bob Garfield is.

And that taints the whole program.

But, hey...it's NPR.

Mar. 13 2009 09:12 PM
David from Rhode Island

Hi BH - Thanks much for the clarification, and I agree that such comments should be deleted.

Mar. 13 2009 07:44 PM
B.H.

Dear Mr. Sullivan,

I'm afraid the only person citing the New York Times or MSNBC in this editorial radio piece or this thread is you. As for MediaMatters, I was indirectly asked to provide a citation for the comments I mentioned, and The Rush Limbaugh Program's website's archives are not publicly available, so MMFA's archives seemed the next best source. Since you take issue with my citation of audio archives and transcripts on MMFA's website, I'm happy to provide you with direct attributions to Mr. Limbaugh's program:

The Rush Limbaugh Show, 1.24.2007
The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8.23.2006

Mar. 13 2009 05:59 PM
B.H.

Hi David,

The post in which Jack claimed that comcastmustdie.com called for physical violence against Comcast's employees has been deleted. I'm not entirely comfortable with the manner in which the comment was deleted from the site (since it gives the appearance that Mr. Garfield and I are talking about something that never happened) but I can certainly understand why NPR, OTM, and Mr. Garfield would not allow such a false claim of incitement to violence to stand on this forum.

I personally would have preferred Jack's false claim to remain on the site along with its refutation, but I don't fault NPR, WNYC, OTM, or Mr. Garfield for deleting a false charge of criminal activity. As Mr. Limbaugh is fond of saying, "words mean things", and they have non-trivial consequences.

Mar. 13 2009 05:11 PM
chuck thompson from Anchorage, AK

Interesting thread.
It serves well to illustrate Limbaugh's role as a lightning rod for conservative sensibilities (is that an oxymoron? ... just asking ) and proves why Michael Steele's surprisingly-frank assessment of the man drew such swift and bitter ire from GOP loyalists, resulting in his furious backpedal and subsequent owtowing to reactionaries in the party.

Mar. 13 2009 03:28 PM
David from Rhode Island

But even if you take Garfield's piece as an editorial, which of course it is, opening a piece that way instead of making it a conclusion is poor journalism, and makes it far less persuasive. I would even hope that he could refrain from that and just present his piece and let people draw their own conclusions, but this is Bob Garfield we are talking about. Goodness knows he will cherry-pick the clips that he airs to support his thesis anyway, whether he states it upfront or not.

Finally, maybe I missed something, but in post #8 BH accuses Jack and Lou (posts #3, 4 and 6) of saying Bob called for the death of employees in his "Comcast Must Die" rants. Exactly where did Jack and/or Lou say any such thing?

Mar. 13 2009 10:50 AM
David from Rhode Island

Bob Sullivan and Lou - If you read any of the things I post on this site, you know that I am a harsh critic of Bob Garfield especially, and the bias at OTM fairly often. You would also know my views on Rush Limbaugh. So I was not surprised but continue to be dismayed in the way that Bob opened his piece, yet you have to realize he is just "conservative baiting". And he got you there. Is he wrong in what he said? Not exactly, you really are being more than a bit naive to try to defend a postition that says Rush does not bait people regarding numerous topics, race just being one of them. The far left treats religious people the way Rush treats the race issue, but even worse. A huge part of Rush's "schtick" is to assassinate the character of people like Clinton (either one), Reid, Kerry, Kennedy, Gore, etc. When you disagree with people like them as passionately as Rush does, that is inevitable. Certainly the same happens on the other side, the Dems are world class at character assassination. In fact, I would argue that as a "group", they resort to it far more quickly and use it far more often when they cannot argue on the basis of logic and ideas, which is frequent. None-the-less, Limbaugh certainly does it daily with song parodies, derisive nicknames, etc. Bottom line: If he said what he says in a dry, matter-of-fact manner, he would have an audience of 200,000, not 20,000,000. It is what he does. But get off the "you are citing biased sources" thing. They are right, any number of archived recordings of Rush's shows would support what they say, and any reasonable person would characterize it as race baiting and character assassination, especially the latter.
(cont.)

Mar. 13 2009 10:50 AM
Rich Perez from NY

Out of touch with real America??? You did witness the recent election didn't you? That whole Nixonian silent majority thing is as real as Mr. Snuffleupagus.

Mar. 13 2009 09:13 AM
Bob Sullivan from Upstate NY


Lou can't you see that they are unable to look at anything unbiased....they talk in circles.

Media Matters....to NPR.....to New York Times....to MSNBC...to Bob Garfield....and back to Media Matters.

They keep talking to each other and convincing each other of things that are not true.

If only they could step outside of their viscous liberal coffee klatch and look at things without their agenda.

And notice, the minute someone calls them out on something, they immediately label that person. "You must be a Limbaugh fan!"

"You must be another bigoted conservative!"

Anything to dismiss the criticism. Anything to keep them from looking at each other.

I think Bob Garfield looks to MSNBC for Validation. MSNBC looks to the New York Times. The NYT-ers listen to NPR.....etc. etc.

Typical East Coast mentality. Out of touch with real America. And thats the way they like it.

Mar. 12 2009 09:16 PM
B.H.

Lou,

I wasn't pointing you to MediaMatters for analysis. I was pointing you to their archive of recordings and transcripts of the specific comments I mentioned in my post. I would cite Limbaugh himself if he made his website's archives public. (Would you prefer that I cite The Rush Limbaugh Program" and the date of each comment?) Please, by all means, disregard MediaMatters' commentary and just listen to the recordings. Their commentary is not relevant to my argument, and I trust you can analyze these transcripts and recordings for yourself.

If jokes about the innate skills of Hispanic people to "cross borders" and the supposed scientific backing for a claim that "black can't swim" don't strike you racially derisive language that at least may be intended to provoke a reaction inimical to the interests of Hispanics and African Americans, then I'm afraid we just don't have common ground for continuing this conversation.

(By the way, you should point out that your definition of race baiting comes from wikipedia. It seems strange that you should demand citations of sources from others, but not provide them yourself. And it's important to recognize that wikipedia's is by no means the only -- or even the most widely -- accepted definition.)

Mar. 11 2009 11:53 PM
lou from Boston

>>As for attributions, space here is limited and it's easy to find audio and transcripts for yourself,<<

You point someone to "Media Matters" for an unbias analysis? Give it a rest.

>>but part of his shtick in my opinion is how he "baits" controversy.<<

Again, as you stated, that's your opinion. everyone has one.

>>But what impresses me most about Limbaugh is that he can inspire such intense loyalty among his listeners that many will go so far as to accuse others of "imagining" his offensive rhetoric.<<

I am not loyal to Limbaugh. In fact, I think he is quite boring, and hasn't been amusing in years.

However, most of the critics of Limbaugh's show are people who don't or haven't listened. They imagine what they think the show is like.

>>How was Obama worthy of being called "a Halfrican"?<<

He was running for public office, he is a public figure. He can be held up to humor. (He IS half-african.)

>>exactly how were African Americans worthy of being told that<<

Again, if you had another besides "Media Matters"...you might carry some weight.

>>I'm sure you understand that this is not "Fox" and the audience will not necessarily share your sympathy for Rush<<

No, it's not Fox...It's "NPR" and the bias is evident.

I have no sympathies for Rush. My only sympathy is for balance. And Bob began his report with typical liberal rhetoric.

>> but to deny that Limbaugh makes any race baiting comments is ridiculous. <<

It;'s not ridiculous at all. Here is the definition of "race-baiting". Please cite your sources.

**DEF:Race baiting is an act of using racially derisive language, actions to make those persons behave in ways that are inimical to their personal or group interests.**

>> ...and yes I've listenend to the show (albeit probably not nearly as much as you). <<

I probably listen as much as you.

I am not a big Limbaugh fan. I am a fan of balanced analysis.

Mar. 11 2009 10:12 PM
B.H.

@Bob Garfield

I apologize for piling one mischaracterization of the site upon another. (I looked for a mission statement or website description on the first page and rather than searching for the blog's first entry.) My point was just that even the grossest reading of the title alone could not be construed reasonably as anything close to what Jack contended.

I'm looking forward to hearing the OTM piece you mentioned.

Mar. 11 2009 06:24 PM
B.H.

Lou:

I'm afraid you're mistaken -- the examples I cited are all based in fact, and they're all well documented in multiple sources online if you take the time to look for them. In my case, I heard many of them firsthand because I've listened regularly to Limbaugh's show since the mid-1990s. I assure you, I did not just "imagine" the examples I gave you.

I respect Limbaugh as a talented performer (and only as a talented performer), but part of his shtick in my opinion is how he "baits" controversy. In this, Limbaugh is hardly unique among entertainers. But what impresses me most about Limbaugh is that he can inspire such intense loyalty among his listeners that many will go so far as to accuse others of "imagining" his offensive rhetoric.

As for him never "race baiting" or assassinating the character of anyone who wasn't worthy of it... exactly how were African Americans worthy of being told that there was scientific evidence that they were at a disadvantage in swimming competitions because of their race? How was Obama worthy of being called "a Halfrican"?

As for attributions, space here is limited and it's easy to find audio and transcripts for yourself, but here you are:

http://tinyurl.com/asvv95
http://tinyurl.com/ap7kkx

Mar. 11 2009 05:43 PM
Rich Perez from NY

Jason,
It's Democratic...not Democrat. As in Democratic Party, Democratic agenda,...etc

Mar. 11 2009 02:22 PM
Rich Perez from NY

Lou,
I'm sure you understand that this is not "Fox" and the audience will not necessarily share your sympathy for Rush, but to deny that Limbaugh makes any race baiting comments is ridiculous. Not using the "N" word does not obfuscate the intent.

...and yes I've listenend to the show (albeit probably not nearly as much as you).

Mar. 11 2009 01:40 PM
lou from Boston


>> i have the examples of limbaugh's invective. they are nauseating. filled with racial barbs and ad hominem attacks.<<

Where are/were they? Or is this more enecdotal analysis?

>> by the way, did you attend cpac? did you see them lines wending around the hallways for a glimpse of the man?<<

Of course. He is an entertainer who is popular with that crowd. Same way we see lines for Hannity, Imus and Stern.

>> as for w.h. talking point, didn't i explicitly state that in my biased piece? why, yes, i did.<<

Yes, you did....and went on to do exactly what the WH hoped for.

Mar. 10 2009 09:34 PM
lou from Boston

BH:

>>Lou: "race-baiting" and "character asassinating [sic]" are not just fair descriptions of Limbaugh's radio persona, they're valuable assets to him.<<

If this is a "fair description" then please give us some examples and attributions.

Sometimes these things are just anecdotal...with no basis in fact. Most of Limbaugh's worst critics are those that have never heard the show.

They *imagine* what he is like.

While Limbaugh is unabashedly conservative, I have never heard him "race bait" or "character assasinate" anyone who was not worthy of it.

Race baiting is an act of using racially derisive language, actions to make those persons behave in ways that are inimical to their personal or group interests.

None of the examples you mentioned (which again contain no attribution) are examples of race-baiting.

>>I remember Limbaugh's recurring “McCain Mutiny” bit in the 1990....

Again, it was a 'bit'....Limbaugh is an entertainer...a conservative one at that. Limbaugh is not the head of the Republican Party...even though this is the diversion that the WH would like to spin....and Garfield repeated.

>>Garfield's piece wasn't framed as one that aimed for objectivity, but it wasn't a smear.

It certainly was.

Mar. 10 2009 09:32 PM
Bob Garfield

@b.h.

comcastmustdie.com isn't even a call for the death of a company. the first words on the website, if memory serves, are "i actually have no deathwish for comcast..."

the site, as that guy well knows, is about calling for the death of a way of doing business, which falls a bit short of inciting homicide of cable employees.

this is a classic case of defamation. even though i'm in the public spotlight -- subject, without redress, to all sorts of criticism, valid and otherwise -- nobody can go around glibly accusing other people of felonies, and i hope "jack" understands that.

as you shall see in an upcoming OTM piece, people who conduct themselves in that way can suddenly find their lives getting very complicated.

bob

Mar. 10 2009 09:20 PM
B.H.

Dear Jack and Lou,

I'm usually extremely critical of Bob Garfield, but in this case, neither of you are making compelling points against him or this radio piece.

First of all, Jack, as you point out sarcastically, there is nothing subtle about "Comcast Must Die": it's a call for the death of a company, not a call for the deaths of employees. "Thank" you for falsely accusing someone of calling for physical violence.

Lou: "race-baiting" and "character asassinating [sic]" are not just fair descriptions of Limbaugh's radio persona, they're valuable assets to him. These qualities are part of his brand identity. Limbaugh steers into racial controversy every few months. There were the occasions last year when he called Obama "a Halfrican" and debated how best to racially categorize him. Then there was the time he said he had scientific proof to back up his claim that African Americans on the show Survivor were at a natural disadvantage in swimming competitions. And who could forget that Limbaugh's "Carol Moseley-Braun" theme used to be "Movin' On Up"?

You'll note that Garfield did not call Limbaugh a racist, and that's to his credit. Whether or not Limbaugh the human being is racist, Limbaugh the character featured on his talk show delights in racially charged commentary. It's hard to think of a more appropriate description than "race-baiting."

As for character assassination, I remember Limbaugh's recurring “McCain Mutiny” bit in the 1990s, featuring a John McCain impersonator as a man who had gone insane in the course of his military service. Or Limbaugh's assertion that Michael J. Fox exaggerated his Parkinson's symptoms by either skipping his medication or "acting". (Limbaugh weakly defended this by saying that he never used the word "faking" when he attacked Fox.)

Garfield's piece wasn't framed as one that aimed for objectivity, but it wasn't a smear.

Mar. 10 2009 02:26 PM
Jason from CA Bay Area

OK, we've heard over and over that the conservative platform is fragmented & disorganized. Fine.

But is the liberal/progressive/Democrat agenda any better defined? Right now the platform seems to be "whatever President Obama says it is". Unlimited federal resources to combat the financial crisis? Roll back all the naughty Bush decrees? Is there anything more forward-thinking than that?

Could we possibly hear something on OTM about how the Democrat agenda is evolving and how it's being covered by the media?

Mar. 10 2009 01:53 PM
Jack from Chicago

Gotcha, you're carrying water for the w.h.

And one ad hominem attack deserves another.

Genius!

"Thank" you

Mar. 10 2009 12:52 PM
Bob Garfield

dear whoever you are:

stating that the sky is blue is not a bias against orange.

i have the examples of limbaugh's invective. they are nauseating. filled with racial barbs and ad hominem attacks.

by the way, did you attend cpac? did you see them lines wending around the hallways for a glimpse of the man?

as for w.h. talking point, didn't i explicitly state that in my biased piece? why, yes, i did.

bob garfield

Mar. 10 2009 12:57 AM
Lou from Boston


Once again, Bob Garfield shows the world he cannot do a peice without his left-wing politics in hand

"The race-baiting, character asassinating" Limbaugh?

Could you start off this piece with any more indication of your political bias?

Don't you realize this whole "Libaugh is the Leader" is just a WHite House "talking point"? And you fell right into it.

Take the spotlight off the awful things the Dems are doing to the economy...and draw attention to a talk show host.

Do you claim any objectivity when doing your analysis bib?

Mar. 09 2009 09:15 PM
Jack

@BG
Sorry if I couldn't grasp the subtlety of "Comcast Must Die"
You're so deep.
"Thank" you again

Mar. 09 2009 11:10 AM
DO

Jeez - the piece sounded like you were going into a minimum-security zoo. Then you added the little epilogue with the creepy kid. Once again, no indication that conservatism has plenty of intellectual advocates and serious scholars. You can find much of the same populism (and precocious kids) at liberal gatherings, but we usually hear from the professors and politicians in attendance as well - if not exclusively.

Mar. 07 2009 09:46 PM
Eric from Jersey City NJ

These people lament "the coarsening of the culture" and cheer Limbaugh? And they "respect the Constitution."

You can't make this stuff up!

Mar. 07 2009 06:25 PM

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