RUSH: Jim Rutenberg in the New York Times: ‘The next liberal Limbaugh is actually three black guys. When you add up their audience, it equals 20 million,’ says Rutenberg. What’s the black population in the country, Snerdley, 13% of 280 million people? Take the kids out of that. These three guys are going to have to pretty much have sewn up every black person in the country listening to them. Maybe some of those that aren’t black enough might be tuning in as well, the less-than-authentic. What’s interesting about that is this story from the Washington Post by Alec MacGillis and Jennifer Agiesta. ”For Obama, Hurdles in Expanding Black Vote’ — New voters are a key to his strategy but return on investment is uncertain.’ This is the second such story that we have seen about Obama being unable to close the deal with the black vote.
One story was he’s not expanding race relations. He’s not improving. There’s no improvement here. And this story is that he’s gotta go out and work hard to register a lot of blacks to vote for him, that a lot of black people are not signed up. There are a whole lot of blacks and they’re just not signed up to vote and are really not on the Obama bandwagon yet; this is the point of the Washington Post story and yet Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times says that these three black guys are the new Limbaugh. Let’s go back. When I spoke to the program class, US House of Representatives, 1994, Camden Yards in Baltimore. This is December 10th. The Heritage Foundation put this thing on, and after I spoke I got some questions, Q&A, one of the questions was, ‘Rush, the Clinton White House wants a liberal talk show host. Who are your top five nominees? What do you think?’
RUSH ARCHIVE: Well, there’s only one. Mario Cuomo. (laugh) I think Mario Cuomo. I think he’d be the perfect guy. He’s supposedly the greatest communicator the world has ever known, a person who lived off one speech longer than anybody in American politics. (laughter) I think that Cuomo would be the ideal guy to show them just how easy it is. The truth of the matter is that there are more liberal talk show hosts than there are conservative. I think there are plenty of them out there. They just have — you know why? It’s real simple. What do liberals do? Liberals wring their hands and look for things about America they don’t like and they criticize it all the time. And they end up criticizing the traditions and the institutions that made the country great, and people are just going to get weary of it. Liberals can’t look out and laugh at anything because while one person is enjoying himself with all this misery, nobody should be enjoying themselves. There’s an assault on achievement; there’s an assault on enjoyment; there’s an assault on people who are enjoying themselves and having a good time because it’s just not morally right that this should happen when there’s so much suffering in the world! And therefore you put somebody on the air who’s going to wring his hands every day about that, and he’s not going to acquire a large audience. I do not feel threatened by liberal talk show hosts in America.
RUSH: That’s December 10th, 1994, 14 years ago. January 6, 2003, MSNBC. Remember the Donahue show? Donahue and Vladimir, what was his name, Vladimir Posner. And Governor Cuomo was a guest, Donahue said, ‘Governor, what were you saying about Rush?’
CUOMO: Rush Limbaugh tells one side of the story. He exaggerates. He hyperboles it. He’s a master entertainer. That’s no question about it. He’s very bright, probably a very good fellow, too. He does not discuss the issues. He does not debate the issues. He doesn’t want to give you a full view of the issues. We believe in subtlety. We believe in telling the whole truth. We don’t want to exaggerate! We say, ‘Look, they write their message with crayons; we use fine-point quills.’
RUSH: (laughing) That’s what I mean, going back and listening to some of these things, here is professor Dershowitz. Now, this is from CNBC when Geraldo Rivera had his show over there, and Geraldo is saying, ‘In Boston the equally brilliant Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, who appears to live well despite the fact that Rush Limbaugh read a letter on his program the other day that Alan , [Charles] Grodin and I would all have, and I quote, ‘live, simultaneous strokes which leave them without the gift of speech for the rest of their lives.” Somebody had sent me a letter, and I had read that. Here’s Dershowitz’s reply.
DERSHOWITZ: This is the man who Ronald Reagan said was the, uh, voice of conservatism and who William Bennett said was one of the great men in America. He has dragged talk show America down to such horrible depths — and he is the guru! He’s the standard by which these dregs of talk show radio are judged. I wish him no ill in his personal health, but I hope Americans start turning off his radio show.
RUSH: The exact opposite has happened. That’s Professor Dershowitz. That’s March 2, 1999. April 26, 2004, Mark Walsh, CEO of Air America, Air America asked Walsh, ‘Will your talk network change minds?’
WALSH: Will we change minds? Some of the numbers you see out of the right wing, are massive. Yes, Rush Limbaugh gets 15 to 20 million listeners per week, about a million and a half a day. Yes, the number of stations he is on is staggering. Yes, the number of hours available per day for the right wing to shove their vitriol and bile down the throats of unsuspecting listeners continues to grow. But let me suggest to you that entertainment that is successful will overtake this wave that we missed the timing on.
RUSH: That was Air America, which has undergone three ownership changes since then. (interruption) That’s a good question. I don’t know if they’re still around. I don’t know. Anyway, we’ve gotta break, my friends. Sit tight. We’ll have to check and see. It’s a good question.
RUSH: As I go back and I relive these sound bites from Cuomo and Dershowitz, I’m struck about something, ladies and gentlemen. These guys articulated their hatred masterfully. They really did. When they veered into their hatred, they articulated it and spoke it very well. Now what do we have? Code Pink, MoveOn.org. That ilk could barely put six words together in a sentence. The left-wing hate business has lost a lot of its intellectual vitality, as I go back and listen to some of these audio sound bites. One more. This is September 12th, 2006, it’s the Today Show, Matt Lauer interviewing Jane Fonda, who was on to promote her new women talk radio network, Greenstone Network, and Matt Lauer said, ‘You started the women’s radio network and a statistic that I found kind of startling, women between 25 to 54 listen to 10% less radio today than they did just seven years ago. Why is that?’
FONDA: Women have left radio because radio has left women. Ninety-five percent of radio programmers are men. Um, 85% of general managers of radio, uh, are men. In order to know how to program for your audience, you have to look like your audience, you have to live like your audience, you have to empathize with your audience, and men just don’t know how to do it.
RUSH: The Greenstone Network lasted about six months and is now history. Gloria Steinem was part of the network, Jane Fonda. They’re gone. We’re going to be doing this during the course of the week, ladies and gentlemen, revisiting a lot of moments from the past 20 years here at the Excellence in Broadcasting Network.