Memphis Media Misinforms on the School Dinner Story
Nov 14, 2011
RUSH: I knew this was gonna happen. We had this story out of Memphis, and when I made mention of the fact — they talked about this 11-year-old kid at two o’clock in the afternoon, big sob story, the kid, “A snack just won’t do, a snack won’t hold him over, the kid’s got to have dinner,” and the Memphis schools and the federal government right in there with dinner for the kids. And I did say that the reporterette who wrote the story for the Memphis Commercial Appeal didn’t go out and find anybody who thought this was a bad idea, didn’t find one contrary or contrarian opinion.
I mean, I guess the pretense in journalism is now off. It used to be that you’d at least pay lip service to people who disagree with the primary premise of your story. Now to hell with it. If you’re gonna have dinner at the Memphis schools, everybody loves it, don’t even try to find somebody who disagrees with it because it’s not worth the time. So I made mention of this and lo and behold, WMC-TV Action Eyeball News 5.
RUSH: Here’s that Memphis sound bite. This is WMC-TV Action Eyeball News 5. This is a montage of a report about the Memphis City Schools Student Supper Program, and the anchor that you hear here is Ursula Madden, and then there’s a correspondent Anna Marie Hartman, and of course what would the bite be without me as part of it?
MADDEN: We’re hearing radio personality Rush Limbaugh’s rant against Memphis City Schools. He’s upset over the school supper program.
HARTMAN: A story in the Commercial Appeal about the federally funded program caught the attention of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. The article spotlighted an 11-year-old student at Shelby Oaks Elementary who expressed his gratitude for an additional meal at the end of the day.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Why does this kid need supper at school?
HARTMAN: Using Memphis as his whipping post Limbaugh criticized the federal government’s Healthy Hunger-Free Kids legislation passed last year, adding dinner in lunchrooms across the country for the nation’s poorest students.
RUSH ARCHIVE: The sperm meets the egg, the kid’s born and off to school he goes and you might see him on weekends, but you’re not gonna be expected to feed him.
HARTMAN: A Memphis City schools spokesperson told me they weren’t going to dignify Limbaugh’s comments by making a statement. I tried to reach Limbaugh for a one-on-one. As you can imagine, he’s a tough guy to get a hold of, and the phone number, the media relations line for the EIB Network on which he appears has either been busy or just rings and rings with no voice mail since early this morning.
RUSH: It’s a dummy number. It always just rings and rings and rings. There is no voice mail. It never answers. Anybody that calls that number, we’re sorta clued in to who’s calling when that number rings, and occasionally we do pick it up for the fun of it. And the person who does answer it is under orders just to say no, again and again and again. Of course I’m the bad guy here. That makes three female reporters who have no idea what the story is really all about. It’s in their own town and they don’t even know what the story is. Federal taxpayers, we’re not paying enough taxes, now we gotta start paying to feed people at night. Where are the parents? So this is two stories now where they have not gone, as is a principle of journalism and found an opposing point of view. Rush Limbaugh, doubled down. (laughing) Doubled down, 11-year-old boy, hungry again, can’t make it with just a snack. Anyway, that’s what happened.
RUSH: By the way, for you in Memphis, if you’re only hearing about the Memphis school supper story for the first time today, let me just tell you that your local media is not really reporting who’s really behind this. There’s nothing called “compassion” behind this. This is the Service Employees International Union, which is behind taxpayer money being used to feed the kids dinner — and it’s not just relocated to poor kids. They want the schools to be serving dinner because the SEIU runs the cafeterias. There would be more SEIU union people hired, kitchens would be open longer, and there would be more dues collected from these employees, which would end up back at the Democrat part. I know you can’t count on your local media in Memphis to tell you the truth about this story.
They will mislead you into thinking there’s an act of great compassion behind this, that somehow children in Memphis are going hungry, not eating dinner. Somehow their parents have just punted — and we never get a story about that, either, do we? Why? Where are the parents? Is it no longer the parents responsibility to feed dinner to their kids? We know it’s no longer their responsibility to feed them breakfast. The school will do that. Ditto lunch. Why now is it not the parents’ responsibility (or lack of responsibility) to feed them dinner? So your local media will make you think that it’s all just compassion and warmheartedness and all that. It’s really just a labor movement angling for more jobs and more dues, more benefits, paid for by you: The taxpayers. You are going to be buying all these so-called starving kids dinner if this actually happens in Memphis — and not just in Memphis. It’s a pilot program. If it works, it will start popping up all over the place.
RUSH: You know, I don’t mean to harp on things in Memphis, but I just have one more question for you in Memphis. We’re being told that your kids are starving and that you need to pay for them to be served dinner at school. Why are we giving 48% of the people food stamps? Why are we going to feed them dinner if they already get food stamps, or one or the other, but why both?
RUSH: I really don’t mean to harp on Memphis here, ladies and gentlemen, but if you’re in Memphis your local media is not telling you the truth about this serve dinner to kids at school story. ‘Cause now I’m holding here my formerly nicotine-stained fingers Men’s Health: Memphis is the fifth fattest city in the country. Right here it is. Fattest cities in America, Memphis is number five. Corpus Christi, Texas, number one; Charleston, West Virginia, number two; El Paso number three; Dallas number four; Memphis number five. Where we are is number 69. Right. “To arrive at our rankings, we calculated the percentage of people who are overweight, the percentage with type 2 diabetes, the percentage who haven’t left the couch in a month (CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System); the money spent on junk food (Bureau of Labor Statistics); and finally, the number of people who ate fast food nine or more times in a month (Mediamark Research).”So Memphis is the fifth fattest city in the country, and they’re going to start serving the kids dinner at school. Again, I don’t mean to harp on this, but your local media is giving you less than the complete picture, less than the full story. It’s a union incentive, more SEIU employees, more dues, which will be collected and then paid, rerouted to the Democrat Party.BREAK TRANSCRIPT
RUSH: Danny in Memphis. Ohhhh. Welcome EIB Network, Danny, great to have you here. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, how you doing?
RUSH: Very good, sir. Thank you.
CALLER: I was listening to your story about the free meals to our kids here in Memphis, and something you don’t understand.
RUSH: Oh. Okay.
CALLER: We’re the second most obese state in the nation.
RUSH: No, fifth. Well, Memphis —
CALLER: Only second to our neighbor down there in Mississippi.
RUSH: Well, no, wait a minute. Men’s Health magazine has Memphis as the fifth fattest city. You’re saying Tennessee is the second fattest state?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
CALLER: We’re only second to our neighbors in Mississippi.
RUSH: So you want to become number one?
CALLER: Yes, sir. We’re gonna take that honor from Mississippi if we gotta feed these kids six free meals a day.
RUSH: I gotcha. Okay. That makes sense now. So you’re in a competition with Mississippi to become the fattest state and that’s why you’re in support of school dinner?
CALLER: If we gotta feed ’em we gonna feed ’em, yes, sir.
RUSH: You know, I hadn’t looked at it that way, folks, that’s why it’s always important for the local populace to weigh in on these things independent of the media. Who woulda thought of this? Bragging rights, I woulda never thought of that. I didn’t see the state figures, I only saw the city figures. So Memphis is the fifth fattest city, but you gotta chance to be the number one in fattest state.
CALLER: We’re working on it, we’re working on it.
CALLER: Gotta fatten ’em up, fatten ’em up. We already giving ’em everything else for free, might as well give ’em dinner free, too.
RUSH: (laughing) Yeah, Danny, I feel for you.
CALLER: I wouldn’t be so skinny if they’d had that program when I was in school, but we had to get out of school and then —
RUSH: Yeah, you’re right, you’re right, things change and we all have to evolve. We have to evolve and accept the circumstances of the times in which we live. Much needed perspective. Again, I’m happy for Danny’s input here. I wouldn’t have ever considered that perspective at all.