RUSH: Tom in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Great to have you on the program, sir. Hello.
CALLER: How you doing, Rush?
RUSH: Very well. Thank you.
CALLER: Thank you for all the service you’ve done for this country.
RUSH: Appreciate that, sir. Thank you very much.
CALLER: I listened to you since you came on the scene in New York. In fact, I didn’t listen to you; I listened to people talking about you, and I said, “Well, I gotta listen to this guy myself.” And, from that point on, I was pretty damn impressed with what you had done. Even Clinton single-handedly attacking you as if you created the Murrah bombing. And I said, “Holy cow, something’s skewed in our society,” and yet you lived through that. My question to you is how do you deal with the animus towards you that you encounter? I don’t understand it. I never did understand it.
RUSH: How do I deal with it?
CALLER: You have a point of view, okay, that’s fine. But why engender this kind of animus? I don’t get it.
RUSH: There’s a good reason for the media hating me. And once I came to grips with that fact, that there’s a reason they should hate me, then it makes sense. One of the toughest things I had to do was learn to psychologically accept the fact that being hated was a sign of success. Most people aren’t raised to be hated. We’re all raised to be loved. We want to be loved. We’re told to do things to be loved and appreciated and liked. We’re raised, don’t offend anybody, be nice. Everybody wants total acceptance. Everybody wants respect. Everybody wants to be loved, and so when you learn that what you do is going to engender hatred you have to learn to accept that as a sign of success. That was a tough psychological thing for me.
I didn’t understand it at first because nobody who knows me has ever thought I was a racist, bigot, all of this stuff. All of a sudden I’m on the radio and I become one, if you listen to liberal critics. I’m a racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe. I’m a hater and all of this stuff. I’m none of those things and never have been. It’s all because of my political views. As far as the media is concerned, they ought to hate me, Tom. Before I came along, they had a monopoly. Before I came along, nationally all there was, was the three networks, the big newspapers, and CNN. When I started in ’88, that was it. And now look. That monopoly they had is gone. Now there is Fox News, from 1996. That was nine years after I started. You got all kinds of conservative talk radio out there now. And that’s done nothing but grow. I have not lost a single listener because of all the other shows. We’ve grown the pie, so to speak.
So the conservative media, which did not exist except in magazines, that’s basically where it was, and maybe the Washington Times, nationally, that was it. But now it’s all different. And the media has lost its monopoly. They have lost the opportunity they had to define what’s news and what isn’t news, as Bozell just wrote about. They have lost the monopoly on telling people what to think, as in commentary and this kind of thing. And in the process of this program’s evolution, the media have been frequent targets of mine and pointing out how they run their businesses and the stories they are ignoring. So it makes total sense that they would not like me, both personally and professionally.
Now, dealing with it, I don’t know. When I first started, I have tell you, I didn’t understand it, and there was nobody that I knew who could tell me how to deal with it. I had nobody around me that could advise. For example, a TV report would come out that I’m something I’m not, racist, sexist, whatever, and I would have people say, “You can’t let that stand. You’ve gotta respond to that.” So I would respond to it, and all it did was make the accusers happy ’cause I had reacted to it. “Oh, we musta hit a sore spot. Limbaugh must be defensive about this.” So they piled on even more. Other people said, “Ignore it. If you acknowledge it you’re just gonna make their day, you just have to ignore it.” And people said, “If you ignore it, then you’re letting it stand. You’re letting all these accusations stand.” And nobody was around to tell me what the right way to deal with this stuff is. And even to this day, most people in public life don’t know, either, how to deal with it.
We do not, on our side of the aisle, attempt to rid the world of our enemies by personally impugning them or destroying them or shutting them down. Like I was saying on Monday, if we don’t like a radio or TV show, we turn it off. If they don’t like it, they try to shut it down. If we don’t want to eat vegetables, we don’t eat ’em. If they want to eat vegetables, they want everybody else to do what they do and not do what they don’t do. And so a lot of people on our side have no idea how to deal with this. But I’ll tell you one thing that happened. I was at dinner one night at a restaurant in New York, 21. And my host said, “The restroom attendant is a huge fan of yours and has a copy of your book. Would you go in and sign it?” And I said, “I’d be happy to.” So I went in there, the restroom attendant was a guy named Rev. He was a reverend from Westchester County. And when I walked in he saw me and I didn’t say a word, didn’t have a chance. He started talking about how much he admired my program, would I sign his book.
And he said to me, “This is the second biggest day of my life. The first was when I met President Reagan.” And he looked at me, and he said, “You know what, Mr. Limbaugh? He just laughed at ’em. All he did was just laugh at ’em.” All this came out of the blue; I had not said a word. So I said, “Well, here’s some divine intervention.” I’ve got a reverend at 21 just out of the blue telling me, “Ronald Reagan just laughed at ’em.” So that’s what I started doing. I just laugh at ’em. And coming up on 24 years, you can argue pro or con whether or not their attacks and assaults on me all these years have hurt and have been harmful. You could probably make a case for the fact that it has. And then, on the other hand, I’m still here, and I’m still prospering, and larger than ever, so you can say it hasn’t. So who knows.
All I know is the one thing I was told in all this was that success is the sweetest revenge. When they try to wipe you out, when they try to shut you down, just like this last time they tried to. They thought they had me. It was nirvana. They thought the day had finally come, and they are now so discombobulated that they failed, that they don’t understand it. Their days were ruined. And of course I take satisfaction in that. Another way I deal with it. “Well, I chose to do this. I chose to be public about what I believe and who I am.” And statistically when you say something, half the people who hear it are gonna disagree with you. So another thing I tell myself is, “This is the league I play in,” and this is just the way it is for conservatives versus liberals. And once you realize that’s the way it is and you can’t change it, you have to live with it, everything’s fine.
RUSH: Hey, folks, look, I don’t want to minimize this. I mean, I don’t want to try to appear too cavalier about this. I mean it’s tough. I’m not gonna lie to you. It can get really tough to deal with sometimes. I’m a very, very sensitive guy. A lot of people don’t know that about me, but I am, and you have to put yourself in my shoes. How can a sensitive human being like me, for example, handle seven women showing up to protest you? That actually happened to me last week. Seven women showed up in Washington, DC. It can get tough sometimes. I don’t know how many people could bear up under this. Seven women showing up. That was the NAGs, and they planned that for like a month. Can you imagine if they had some real time to organize that protest?
I don’t know how many of you could bear up under seven women wanting you gone. But you have to do it. Somebody has to. But I’ll tell you, for me, the honest to God truth, it doesn’t bother me at all anymore, but it does my family. It eats them pretty good. Not all the time, but some of stuff really does. And that’s why when I was inducted in the Missouri Hall of Famous Missourians, that’s why I spent so much time thanking my family, because they didn’t ask for any of this. I do. I ask for it every day. They don’t. And not once has anybody in the family put pressure on me to stop what I’m doing so it would make it easier on them, not one time. And that kind of loyalty and support you just cannot buy. I love them for it. I appreciate them, ’cause they really, they didn’t ask and they don’t ask for any of this, and I do. And I get it. He-he-he-he-he. Yes siree.