RUSH: It’s Michael from Westfield, New York. Welcome, sir. We’re eager to hear this. How are you?
CALLER: Hey, Rush. It is a great thrill to talk to you again, and the last time I spoke you were kind enough to dedicate a lot of time in answering my questions, and you provided me with a bunch of great content, and I thank you again for that. And the reason I’m calling is in regards to the project and how it ties into low-information voter outreach. And, first of all, the content you provided me the last time we spoke helped me to receive a 100 on my nearly 18-page term paper, but this paper was one part of a two-part project. The other part consisted of presenting the topic of my paper to the class. And so my presentation to my classmates was very much an example of low-information voter outreach; therefore, I wanted to give you a report from the field.
RUSH: You have at it.
CALLER: Okay. The format of the presentation, it was a PowerPoint slide show format, so when it was my turn to present I walked to the in front of the room and pulled up the first slide. I had a couple pictures of you accompanied by a text which read, “The Rush Limbaugh Show: Rhetorical Reasons for Success.” Well, as you can imagine, as soon as I pulled up that slide, many of my fellow students immediately assumed scowls and threw sort of vicious glares my way. I mean, this is low-information voter outreach in a state college, Rush, which is hostile territory.
RUSH: Now, you called originally back in April, and —
RUSH: — I just want to refresh people’s memory. You were doing this report on me, and you pretty much understood, I mean, I was amazed at how much you got about the program, but you still had some questions for me about my philosophy of success here in radio, success outside of radio, the combination of the two. And I remember it like it was yesterday. So I just want people to remember what you were doing is presenting your findings to the class, and you throw that first slide up there that has a picture of me and they immediately scowl, as you expected they would.
CALLER: Yes. Yes. But that didn’t really bother me, though. I’ve always enjoyed prevailing in those sorts of hostile environments. I think that’s the most important place to try to sort of get the word out and to change people’s minds potentially. And so an interesting thing happened, Rush. As I went through the slides on the presentation, explaining the nature of your show and playing various clips from both your radio show and your TV show, the faces began to soften across the room, as people were exposed to you in a way which they had never been before. Just as a quick example, one of the clips I played from your TV show, I played Bill Clinton fake crying at Ron Brown’s funeral, and that was just something to kind of show my classmates about your sense of humor, which is something I don’t think a lot of them had been exposed to. And to make a long story short, I think I was able to change people’s minds about you due to the simple fact that many of my fellow students had never been exposed to you in a fair way and therefore my main point is this: When people — even the low-information bunch — are fairly exposed to you, they like you. And I think this lends credence not only to your method of low-information voter outreach specifically, but also maybe even to those of us who feel it may be time for another address to the nation, perhaps.
RUSH: A-ha. I knew that you were heading somewhere where it was for me to do even more work. (laughing)
CALLER: Well —
RUSH: Look, no, I gotta take a break. Michael, hang on. Don’t go anywhere.
RUSH: I want to return to Michael in Westfield, New York. Michael, if my memory serves right, your class was Rhetoric and Criticism. Is that the name of your class, do I remember that right?
RUSH: We have a little bit more time here. Would you review for people, when you called the program to originally tell me about this back in April, you already were up to speed. I mean, you were clearly a person who got me and got this program, yet you still had some questions. Just what were a couple of questions that you asked me?
CALLER: Well, my main thing was I wanted to run by you if you thought what I had assessed about your show was correct. I told you I thought that the success of your show, in terms of content, a lot of it had to do with the fact that you brought high energy top 40 radio to politics, and also the fact that even still now among conservative radio talk show hosts, your satirical humor really set you apart and it brings a lot of people to the program and a lot of people —
RUSH: I’ll tell you what intrigued me about you. It’s very few people — including, Michael, in the radio business — very few people who understand why this program is a success. I eschewed all of the so-called trails that you’re supposed to follow. I didn’t network. I didn’t get to know people. I didn’t know who the powers that be were in ownership or management. I didn’t do any of that. All I wanted to do was be on the radio and do a show the way I always wanted to do it. I’d never really been allowed to do that up until 1984 when I went to Sacramento, California. And what you got was that there were inherent requirements for the broadcasting business, in addition to the content, that were necessity for success.
I can’t tell you how perceptive you are because most of the people — consultants, management — in the radio business still don’t understand it. They chalk it up to the conservative content or they chalk it up to playing music during breaks, bumpers going into the commercial. But the actual skill set — every business has one that’s unique to it. And broadcasting has its own skill set. And you picked up on that you observed that I brought the characteristics of top 40 radio to the talk format, which are discipline in any number of areas. I really was amazed by that.
So, anyway, now back to you. I wanted to bring the audience back up to speed as to who you are and what you’re doing. So you put together your term paper on me. Now it’s time to present it to the class. You have a PowerPoint presentation. You show up. You get a 100-plus from your professor on the paper itself, but the second half of it is the presentation to class. You’re doing that, you start out with your PowerPoint presentation much like the PRISM slides were, and you start getting reactions from the students. Would you detail, if you could, their transformation from scowls to smiles.
CALLER: Well, the transformation tied in with the progress of my PowerPoint and, simply put, the more that they were exposed to you in a fair way and in a way that I don’t think really any of them had been before, and through talking about your show, and during my presentation, I even played a long clip from the last time I talked to you, and you were talking about the business requirements of radio, and you were being very straightforward and honest about that, and that really resonated with my classmates as well. And so, again, when I pulled up the very first slide, there were many hostile faces around the room, but as my presentation continued, their faces softened, and you could tell that a lot of them were intrigued by you.
I talked about your story and how you overcame numerous firings and setbacks, and I think a lot of them were inspired and impressed by your resilience. And the fact that really you rebel against the establishment, not only politically, but, as you said, the conventional way of conducting a radio program. And also your humor was a big hit as well, but, again, the thing I find interesting is that, you know, it’s thought that rebels are always a hit with young people, but the way the media, and even a lot of politicians, portray you, you’re kind of this rebel who points out the fallacies of their arguments politically, and you have a good time, you use humor, and, really, a lot of my classmates did not know that. They just thought you were some evil, mean guy, and they just had this caricatured idea of you.
RUSH: How could you blame ’em if they had never taken the time to listen?
CALLER: Right. And that’s why my presentation was low-information outreach directly, and it was successful.
RUSH: So you ended up getting a hundred on both sides of it?
CALLER: Yeah. I got a 100 on the paper, and I got an A as well on the presentation.
RUSH: Well, congratulations.
CALLER: Well, thank you. It was due in no small part to all the help you gave me.
RUSH: Well, obviously. But you started out ahead of the game. You were amazingly perceptive when you called here in what you already understood. All I did was give you examples of what you instinctively already understood. That was pleasing. Well, how many people were in the class?
CALLER: Oh, it had to be roughly 30, I would say no less than 30. And the other thing, Rush, is there were a lot of women in that classroom. They’re not 24-year-old women, ’cause it’s undergrad, but I would say 20 to 21 was the age range of this class.
RUSH: And you even turned them?
RUSH: Stunning. Absolutely stunning.
RUSH: So where do you go from here?
CALLER: Well, I am a political science and public relations double major, and I’m working this summer, but this next year my plan it is to do two internships, one in TV and one in radio, and in fact the place I’m trying to do my radio internship, the one host there happens to be a big fan of yours, and I was gonna give him the transcript of my previous conversation with you.
RUSH: Well, I don’t see how you can lose. I don’t see how you can lose doing that. Well, Michael, thank you again for the whole experience. I’m really flattered that you endeavored to do this. You have engaged in the marketing of this program in ways that we haven’t undertaken, and you’ve demonstrated how to do it, that it can succeed.
CALLER: Well, thanks. I’ve been a 24/7 member since my junior year in high school, and I just want to say, if I get audited because of this call or put into some enemy database, it was totally worth it.
RUSH: Speaking of which, we have an executive from a telephone company, telecommunications industry executive on the phone waiting to detail for us how exactly Obama can detect and learn all kinds of stuff about us with the programs that are in place. Anyway, Michael, again, thanks much. I appreciate it. All the best and stay in touch, will you?
CALLER: I will. Thank you so much again.
RUSH: You bet. That’s Michael in Westfield, New York.