RUSH: Well, you know, folks, it’s just real simple here. From a purely analytical point of view — from a purely analytical point of view — the media prove time and time again they cannot be trusted to report the truth or the facts. We can’t count on them anymore. First there was Katrina. We got forged documents, lies about the law regarding the NSA program; now this terrible mine accident. Time and again they report false information and spin. They rely on rumored sources. Somebody shouts out a rumor, they run with it. They take it to the air. The new standard in the media is: a guy runs up and tells you something. You don’t know who your sources are. You don’t know your source’s name. You don’t know anything about him but you report it as news, and then when it’s all proven to be untrue, you get, ‘Oh, how awful,’ but there’s never any official taking of responsibility. There’s never any accountability.
We’ve got this awful mine accident and these miner families. I don’t know, how about you? I went to bed last night; right before I went to bed about midnight here comes the flash: ‘Twelve of thirteen miners found alive.’ I said, ‘Wow, this is a miracle. This is cool.’ I go up, get in bed. I get up this morning, find out it wasn’t true. Greetings and welcome, ladies and gentlemen. You are tuned to the award-winning, thrill-packed, ever-exciting, increasingly popular, growing-by-leaps-and-bounds Rush Limbaugh program, and we are here on the Excellence in Broadcasting Network. The telephone number is 800-282-2882. The e-mail address is Rush@eibnet.com. I know, ladies and gentlemen, that I often chide many of you for wanting to call here and complain about what you saw in the media, because I say, ‘It happens every day. It’s not news anymore.’ There are days like this, I just get so disgusted and I just get some frustrated about it that — and I’m allowed because I’m the head honcho here, even I want to break my own rule. I mean, let’s take a look at the media. This is an industry that supposedly trades on facts, supposedly trades on truth, and if it can’t be trusted how is it any different than Enron or WorldCom?
We are the consumers of this information, and if the information is repeatedly unreliable then the product is defective and those people selling it are dishonest, and I have made this observation countless times. The news, you have to look at it the same way you look at any retail product on the shelf at your favorite store. It’s product. It’s packaged. It’s assembled. It’s marketed. The news today is not what happened. The news today is what reporters want to happen. The news today is propaganda. The news today is agenda-oriented. You take a look at this Abramoff scandal. It’s all Republicans, and we don’t know anything about it yet. It’s supposedly all Republicans. Let’s see… (shuffling papers) I can’t believe I would have put this in the bottom of the stack because I was going to talk about it at the top. Look at all the various differences there are in the number of people the Abramoff scandal could touch and reach. Well, I’ll find it here in just a second. I’m actually getting a little bit ahead of myself. (Oh, look at that. Lynn Swann going to announce for governor of Pennsylvania today.) At any rate, the difference is I don’t hold myself out as a journalist.
I don’t pretend to be a journalist. For one thing, I smile too much. For another thing, I’m happy too often. For the third thing, I’m optimistic. You know, I’m not looking for doom and gloom. I’m not looking for the horrible aspect of anything. I’m not looking to do any of that. I am a conservative. I have certain beliefs. My beliefs are based on tradition, history, values, and principle. But the media? The media pretend not to be influenced by any of this. They pretend to be merely the conduits through which fact and truth flow. They simply say they’re objective. Why, they have no agenda — and look at this guy, Risen from the New York Times yesterday in his appearance on the Today Show. We played the sound bites from it. This guy’s become an advocate. He’s a pure, nothing-but advocate. He’s not a journalist of any kind. While they pretend to be merely the conduits through which fact and truth flow, we know this to be false — and I’ll tell you something. It’s time for a serious debate in this country about the proper role of the news media.
I know they have constitutional mention and protection, and I don’t in any way favor government policing the media the way the media favors government policing of political speech, by the way. I mean, the media is all out there in favor of the government policing political speech because they know they’re immune to it. They are immune from any changes that are made, but it is clear that self-policing isn’t working, either. There is no accountability. Where are all the editors? Where are all the levels in this miner story, for example? We keep hearing that you can’t trust talk radio. ‘You can’t trust Matt Drudge. You can’t trust the Internet, because there aren’t any filters! It’s just a bunch of wackos doing what they want to do, advancing their own agenda.’ How is that really any different from what the mainstream media, the old media, is today? Where are the filters? Who are the filters? Well, the filters are no different than the reporters. They got the same agenda. They have the same purpose. But they deny it. The last thing they’re interested in is fact. The last thing they’re interested in is truth. They don’t report what happened. They report what they want to happen. I mean, I don’t even think it’s professional anymore. The level of professionalism in the mainstream media has sunk now to new lows — and you know why people enter the media today?
Go into any journalism school. I’ve told you this. Walk down the hall at your favorite journalism school, ask some budding, young, nubile, little journalism student, stars in his or her eyes, ‘Why are you here?’
‘Because I want to change the world!’
‘Well, that’s not what you’re supposed to do in journalism. Journalism is standing on the corner and telling the people who aren’t there what happened there, if something noteworthy does happen there.’
‘No, no, no. I want to change the world.’
was all about and All that means is they don’t go into journalism to report the news anymore; they go into journalism to influence policy. That’s what James Risen is all about at the New York Times. That’s what Dan RatherMary Mapes. That’s what all these reporters who covered Katrina were all about. It was all about attacking Bush and his policies. Vanity Fair magazine? It’s got this puff piece coming out on the ‘prosecutor’s prosecutor,’ Patrick Fitzgerald. They don’t give a damn about Patrick Fitzgerald. They’re using it as an excuse to attack Bush. The media don’t care about John Murtha. He can’t keep himself off the news. He’s become addicted to his camera time, face time, and his 15 minutes of fame times ten. They don’t care about John Murtha personally, and they never did care about Murtha, until he became their useful idiot and started allowing them to advance their agenda. We know now, for example, the death toll resulting from Hurricane Katrina was not only smaller than originally reported but that it was not disproportionately minorities who died from the hurricane and the flooding.
We know that just the opposite of what was reported happens to be true. Katrina, that hurricane, was just another event that was used through lies and shabby reporting to attack Bush, to accuse him of racism, incompetence, lack of compassion and all that — and the media are in the midst of losing respect, and they deny it. They’re living in utter denial. They’ve created this false universe, this alternative reality in which they live. They have become disreputable. They pretend they’re reporting news when in fact they first and foremost promote their own agenda. In fact, I don’t think they give a damn about the news at all. I think they use events in this country to try to promote their agenda. The news doesn’t mean anything to them. The miner story was — you wait. It won’t be long before we get stories on, ‘Why didn’t Bush care? Why does Bush not want to change this mining?’ They don’t know there are stories out there how there have been improvements in mine safety. You wait, in order to get the attention of their disastrous reporting of last night off the front pages and off everybody’s focus.
You wait, in order to get the attention of their disastrous reporting of last night off the front pages and off everybody’s focus, they’ll find a way to turn this into an examination of Bush policies, how Bush doesn’t care about union people. I don’t know how it’s going to manifest itself, but it will at some point, because every event that takes place in this country is used to promote their agenda. Every event is an opportunity to lecture us about some social policy or take sides politically. They are propagandists. I mean, look it how the revelation of Valerie Plame’s name and this current leak are treated. In one case whoever leaked Valerie Plame’s name, ‘Why, why, we’ve got to put those people in jail! Why, that’s outrageous, giving up a covert agent’s identity!’ It never happened! She wasn’t covert. How many times does this need to be reported? If she wasn’t covert, no crime has been charged — and yet the real scum that leaked this NSA story are being portrayed as whistleblowers and heroes and the New York Times has an editorial today saying: We must understand the difference between whistleblowers and leakers, and these whistleblowers must be treated with great care and great respect.
Look at how the media won’t even report honestly about the travesty that is the Tom DeLay case. Look at how history completely is ignored — Abraham Lincoln, FDR and others — when accusing Bush of seizing power. He has, actually, refused to do that. Bush didn’t seize all the power that he inherently has. Go back and look at what Lincoln did, FDR did. Do you know that FDR — I was going to mention this yesterday — FDR actually had every letter from soldiers sent home opened and read and censored and monitored? Yes, FDR did this during the World War II, if not every letter, quite a few of them. Soldiers’ letters home were opened and read. You never knew who might be sending in what. We were at war. Can you imagine if something like that were happening today? Can you imagine the outcry? But the historical perspective on all this is lost, just like, ‘Bush lied about prewar intel and weapons of mass destruction.’ We have documented countless times. I don’t know how many times on this program alone. All the things back in 1998 uttered by Bill Clinton and every Democrat that’s in the Senate today that was in the Senate then, we’ve gone back and chronicled for you what the New York Times, the Washington Post, the magazines and networks all said back then. It’s identical to what’s being said about Iraq leading up to our war, but you would not know it if you watched the big media because history began for them in 2001. What happened in the past — I don’t care if it’s Lincoln; I don’t care if it’s FDR or as recently as 1998 — they don’t care. It doesn’t fit the agenda. They’re not reporting news. They’re not giving perspective. They are advancing an agenda. They are propagandists.
RUSH: If you look at the media with the economy, they jump all over Bush when the economy has slowed. They pay minimal attention to the great economic indicators today. We have a credibility gap, and I can calculate the credibility gap because I know numbers and I know economics. We have an economy right now that in any other time with a Democrat president, you go out and take a poll on the economy today and the people of this country rate the economy good or great by a tune of 65, 70%. Mainstream media gets hold of that today, shakes their questions, shakes their sample, you get an approval number of 45% — in a booming economy! Look what happened yesterday. They got hold of some leak notes that the Federal Reserve’s going to stop raising rates, stock market spiked yesterday, huge bump-up, all the indexes did. I mean, it’s terrific out there. Unemployment is down. Home buying has never been easier for most people in the country — Snerdley excluded — and yet the reporting on this is that the economy is dismal. There was a story that I saw today that some ‘expert’ somewhere is predicting a recession!
This is just utterly irresponsible! So you can find one pointy-headed academic elitist who wants to be first in line to predict bad news, and there you, hear, ‘Oh, we got a guy predicting bad news. Why, he’s our hero today! Let’s go out and report this. Let’s go out and make the central economic story the fact that there’s a recession lingering in the future here.’ Look how they report liberal demagoguery when oil and gas prices go up. They repeat the lies about ‘windfall profits’ when there aren’t any. Barely a word, though, when prices go down as a result of supply and demand. In fact, it’s even worse than that. Prices will develop 50 cents, 75 cents a gallon, no reporting on it. After that drop has taken place they’ll jump up two or three cents and we’ll get a story about how gas prices are rising with no reporting on how they came down — because of supply and demand, because of the great American economy, because of capitalism. No news: zilch, zero, nada. Look how they focus on the homeless when a Republican is president.
They all but disappear when a Democrat is president. There aren’t any homeless. There’s no homeless problem when a Democrat’s in the White House. Now we got a story in the stack today. Somebody is actually suggesting if you give the homeless a bunch of booze it will make their lives more enjoyable. The Canadians. The Canadians say, ‘Oh, yeah. Give them some sherry and give them some wine and you’ll improve their quality of life,’ and this is touted as revolutionary. Revelationary! This is touted as advance and elitist and ahead of the curve. Look how they slobber all over the Clintons. Bill Clinton never received a majority vote of the people of this country. Hillary hadn’t even been nominated yet. They may as well be king and queen of this country, as far as the media is concerned. They’re trying to nominate McCain on the Republican side with endless fawning coverage of his ‘independence,’ and they only like McCain’s independence because that’s independence from the president and the conservative agenda.
McCain thinks they like him personally just like Murtha thinks they like him personally, just like Fitzgerald is going to end up thinking they like him personally, when it’s not personal all! It’s about their agenda. It’s about their propaganda. It’s about turning these people into useful idiots, and they just willingly, almost sycophantly go along with it — or sycophantishly, whatever the correct word is. I could go on and on here, and I intend to go on and on. My point is not that we should or should ignore the media. The point is that we should take note of the fact that the media are not what they say they are. They are not journalists seeking the truth and seeking facts. That is false advertising. They have a defective product. They are losing the respect of the public. They’ve lost it in West Virginia now. They are losing credibility, the way any dishonest company and profession does. I mean, you go to bed thinking 12 miners are alive only to wake up the next day to find out that all but one of them is dead. It’s shocking.
It’s stunning. It’s completely irresponsible. It was unnecessary. But some guy comes running up, ‘They’re all alive! They’re all alive,’ bam! The pressure is on to be first with the news so that the TV blogs on the Internet will credit you with being first. Forget that your audience is the American people. No, your audience is other journalists. Your audience is other networks. Your audience is a bunch of dumb, stupid bloggers on the Internet who are reporting on what you do. So now, in the face of this crisis in West Virginia, what will the media do? Well, I’ll predict to you we’ll get another panel discussion of Harvard, or at the Kennedy School, at the Shorenstam Center, or wherever. Marvin Kalb will moderate. He will lament how bad the news media is — not the news media, the new media. He will lament that all this pressure is brought about by people like me and Matt Drudge and talk radio, because there is not time to do instant checking anymore. The old media’s ways are just gone.
‘We don’t have time because they’re constantly under assault.’ So the focus will be on how the new media is causing the old media to make mistakes. We’ll hear about how full of professionals the old media. We’ll hear all about checks and balances and all the rest of the baloney and they’ll pat themselves on the back, with the usual arrogance and sanctimony we’ve come to expect. They’ll tell everybody how they try to do what’s right, how they try to report the news, but they’re not perfect — and of course with all this pressure being brought to bear by these irresponsible hacks on the radio and on the Internet who have no filters, why, it’s tougher than ever! Why, Dan Rather comes out with a perfectly good story on documents saying Bush never went to the National Guard and, lo and behold, Dan Rather is attacked! ‘Why, Dan Rather became the news and we haven’t faced this before and this is something we don’t know how to deal with. Dan Rather should not be part the story.’
Dan Rather has made himself a part of the news since the day he get in the business. Dan Rather has been the news. That’s the whole point of any television journalist today is to be the news. Ask yourself when you look at a TV ad promoting some new anchor or new show. The focus is always on the personality, not the fact that you get the news factually or truthfully or best but there’s some anchor out there that’s going to dazzle you and wow you and get you all excited to watch their network. Meanwhile, we don’t know what credentials the anchor has. We don’t know what experience he has, other than he cried good on TV during Hurricane Katrina. He looked like he really cared and he was really tough on the government — the Bush administration government! They pat themselves on the back, all the arrogance and sanctimony that they can imagine, tell everybody how they try to do what’s right but in the end they take no responsibility at all for what they do. Michael Isikoff reports they’re flushing Korans down the toilet at Guantanamo Bay, takes no responsibility whatsoever. They just complain about sourcing and debate, whether we need one, two or three unnamed or named. Yip yip yahoo.
RUSH: Sue from Los Angeles. Welcome, Sue, to the EIB Network.
RUSH: Yes, hi.
CALLER: Hi. Can you hear me?
RUSH: I hear you fine, yeah.
CALLER: Okay. I was watching. Long after you went to bed I was watching CNN and Fox ’til three in the morning, because I was looking for the source of the news that they were all alive, and finally the source came on, and it was announced. They said that the mining company officials had gone into the church and told them that they were all alive. So they’re actually the source of the information, not the media. You’re totally right about the media, and I hate to see your point discredited or discounted because of this one issue.
RUSH: I’m not. I’m not going to be discredited on this one issue. But, see, if I turn out to be wrong I have no problem admitting it, and I’ll take responsibility for what my mistakes are, and I’ll be accountable to myself.
RUSH: But there are ways to avoid this. Let’s listen to this. We’re not talking about what happened three hours later. Three hours later, that’s enough time to get it right in the first place. Let’s go to the audio sound bites, shall we, ladies and gentlemen? Let’s go audio sound bite number — and I don’t mean to pick on anybody here. It’s just this who we have: Anderson Cooper. This is last night around ten minutes to 12 noon on CNN.
COOPER: Wow. The families, we are told, that are screaming — some family members screamed that twelve people were found alive. That is, uh… A number of people have been yelling and screaming, ‘Twelve alive! Twelve alive.’ Sir, what have you heard? Please come tell us!
RUSH: All right. So yelling and screaming, a bunch of unnamed sources, unconfirmed sources, yelling, “They’re alive. They’re alive. They’re alive.” Well, now, everybody wants to hear that news. That’s the news everybody was waiting and hoping to hear. But this is how it gets reported: a bunch of people running around the street, and Cooper snags this one guy. It turns out his name is Terry Goff. He’s a friend of the trapped miner Terry Helms, and here’s that exchange.
COOPER: You’re a friend of Terry Helms. Terry was ? What have you heard?
GOFF: They just come out of the mines. We got 12 alive.
COOPER: Where did you — who told you that?
GOFF: They just come out of the mines. And saying official now, said we got 12 alive.
COOPER: That is incredible news
RUSH: Okay, now some of you might say, “Ah, Rush, what are you going to do? It’s breaking news.” When you are in the truth business, when you are in the truth-and-fact business, you’re supposed to be immune to all these be-first-with-it pressures and so forth, and just standing around the streets waiting for people running through the streets to tell you what they have heard — and then reporting it as fact is where they got into trouble. If now three hours later it finally is found, “Well, these people were told by an official from the mines,” what happened three hours later is simply, “Okay, well, here’s our excuse. There’s our excuse. It took us three hours to run it down,” but it still was premature. It was not true what was reported, and the sourcing on this, folks. It’s no different than the kind of stuff that gave us the reports coming out of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
RUSH: Continuing on with the theme about the mainstream press being nowhere near a truthful, factual business anymore. Continuing on with the theme that the media today reports the news as they hope it turns out rather than reporting the news as it is. We went back. H.R. found some interesting stuff from the January 10th, 2005, Newsweek. “It was just a little after seven p.m. on election night 2004. The network exit polls showed John Kerry leading George Bush in both Florida and Ohio by three points. Kerry’s aides were confident that the Democratic candidate would carry these key swing states. Bush had not broken 48% in Kerry’s recent tracking polls. The aides were a little hesitant to interrupt Kerry as he was fielding satellite TV interviews in a last get-out-the-vote push. Still the seven o’clock exit polls were considered to be reasonably reliable. Time to tell the candidate the good news. Kerry had slept only two hours the night before. He was sitting in a small hotel room at the Westin Copley, in a small irony of history next door to the hotel where his grandfather, a boom-and-bust businessman, shot himself some 80 years ago. Bob Shrum, Kerry’s friend and close advisor couldn’t resist the moment. ‘May I be the first to say “Mr. President,”‘ said Shrum.”
Well, we came to learn later that the libs had stacked their own exit polls! The libs had sent people out there to participate in exit polls, and they stacked them, and they did this for the express purpose of demoralizing people who hadn’t yet voted and they wanted the reporting of these early exit polls starting at two o’clock and then the updates at four, 4:30, to depress Bush vote turnout, and then when the actual returns, when the actual votes started being counted and the exit polls showed no relevance, the media was beside itself. They were stunned. Not just the Democrats, but in a clear-cut example of reporting the news they hoped would be, they forgot that votes are what’s counted; not exit poll tallies. Then after that, if you remember, some Democrats demanded an investigation of the real vote because of the disparity in the exit polling results. That was the first conspiracy they seized on. “Well, this has to be something wrong with the actual vote count. We know Republicans steal elections,” and don’t forget the psychological disorder of projection: Democrats accuse us primarily of things they do themselves. They’re out there alleging and charging vote fraud, and it was, absurd. It was patently absurd.
The media picked it up and ran with it. “Yes, this is a reasonable story. We’re going to run with this; we’re going to explore this. The great disparity between the exit polls and the actual votes is so great that we must examine the actual votes,” and the exit polls, anybody can come out and tell you anything they want to. They can lie to you. You know, lying to exit pollsters is a fun thing to encourage people to do. Just to screw these people up. The real vote is what counts. But, no, since it didn’t show Kerry winning, they had to find some reason to find fault with the real vote and assume the exit polling was accurate. All right, let me go back to the audio sound bites. We have two more bites here. Both are from CNN, and we shared with you the first two. The first reports about 11:50 last night, CNN — and they all did it. We just have audio from CNN. I’m not picking on just one here. Miners are alive! Miners are alive! People are running through the streets, ‘Miners are alive!'” It gets reported, bammo. Then a friend comes up to Anderson Cooper, “Yeah, yeah! They just came out of the mines. We’ve got twelve alive.”
“There you have it: the miners are alive! Happy New Year, da-da-da-da-da. Let’s all sing Amazing Grace.”
Now it’s 2:47 this morning, Anderson Cooper live from West Virginia, speaking to an unidentified woman, and she had this exchange with him.
WOMAN: There’s only one. There’s only one made it out alive.
COOPER: What? Wuh? What?
WOMAN: I think the name was Randall Ware. The governor is in there. This big in charge CEO of the mine is apologizing, and it’s all — they did nothing but — I don’t know how this information had come out.
COOPER: Where..? Where…? Where?
WOMAN: There’s one person alive and he’s en route to the hospital.
RUSH: So this morning a West Virginian decided to lecture the media on what they did. This is a woman who doesn’t live in the media bubble like I was talking about yesterday. Just like they did in Hurricane Katrina, big media, totally out of control here. What happened to their editors, where were all these filters that we’ve been lectured about and told that we don’t have? We’re not responsible. We can’t be trusted. We don’t have editors. We don’t have filters. We don’t have people making sure that rumors are not true. We don’t have people checking our sources. Where is all that these days in the mainstream media? Why didn’t they need two or three sources on this last night?
WOMAN: What doesn’t seem fair is, sure, there might have been this miscommunication error, but why did it get broadcasted all over the world, why didn’t somebody stop it? When we came in they were sing Amazing Grace right here in front of the church and I’ll Fly Away. You know, for three hours. Put everything through this. It’s unbelievable how — I mean, where’s the compassion in that? That went on for three hours. Children — young children, obviously —
WOMAN: — young children, just — you know. It’s a small — it’s a small community. How could nobody have compassion to say, “Just hold on for a minute.” Something — there’s — there’s an error and the survivors or something. It’s unbelievable.
RUSH: No, madam, it’s not unbelievable. It’s commonplace. This is the exact kind of thing that happened in Hurricane Katrina, the aftermath there. Same exact kind of thing, same exact kind of thing we get in too many stories these days. I think it’s symptomatic of the lack of professionalism and attention to detail. This is a business which is failing its consumers, and of course now the excuse today? What is the excuse today? Well, the story is what, Mr. Snerdley? That somebody, the original error is somebody overheard someone? A foreman of a mine overheard a conversation and called a family member in a church, and that started this whole snowball. So a foreman overheard a phone call between a family member and somebody, spread the word in the church over what he thought he had heard, and that became the source, the genesis of this story that the miners were alive and that 12 of the 13 had survived and had been rescued.
Now, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet. You may be more informed than I. Are you sure some mine executive is not being blamed. (interruption) Oh, this guy, the foreman (interruption). A foreman was in the command center, and he heard a company executive? (interruption) Ah, okay. So you got a guy listening in on a conversation, one side of a conversation. He’s not on the phone himself, because he’s overhearing a phone conversation, one guy. One guy. Yeah. (interruption) Overheard. Okay. All right. Figures. I mean, that’s how news ends up being reported these days. You might say, “Well, Rush, what actually is wrong with this?” because everybody wants these people to be alive. Yeah, no question about it, but (sigh). You might just say, “Okay, we’ve heard what we want to hear. Let’s run with it.” But it clearly wasn’t verified. That’s the bottom line.