RUSH: Albert, San Francisco, thank you for calling, sir. You’re on Open Line Friday, and it’s great to have you here.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I had a question for you. It’s a two-part question, really. It’s basically the same question. Last Friday you read from the op-ed from the Journal, the Wall Street Journal about how talk radio was a big reason why immigration failed this time.
RUSH: It was an editorial. It wasn’t actually an op-ed. It was an unsigned —
CALLER: Yeah, the one that Paul Gigot wrote. In any case, and then you had a caller, I think it was the last caller of your show last Friday. You asked him a question, he didn’t answer it. You were talking about O’Reilly’s interview with President Obama, and you asked him why does he think that O’Reilly was bashing conservative media, talk radio. So my question to you is, it’s related to both of those, why is it that the so-called conservative media like the Journal and so-called Bill O’Reilly, conservative, always bash basically you, since you are, you know, talk radio? That’s my question.
RUSH: Okay. That’s pretty much what I thought you were gonna say. So my two lines of summary, based on what you wanted to ask me are accurate. And I’ll tell, you have put me in sort of a challenging position here to answer this, Albert, because, A, it’s inside baseball, and I don’t know how interesting that is to people. Secondly, you’re asking me to explain why I think others view me the way they do. And I don’t know that you can ever win doing that.
This is not what you’re asking me, but just to give you an example. Let’s say I knew somebody that you know and they’re being very critical of you, and I said, “Albert, why do they hate you?” You might know, and you might be dead-on right, but when you start explaining it, it’s a little bit uncomfortable. But I’ll do my best here to explain to you, ’cause I think the fundamental question you’re asking — correct me if I’m wrong, ’cause I want to answer what you’re asking — you’re basically saying, okay, we have a conservative media here, but then there’s branches of it, and some branches don’t like talk radio, which is me, Rush Limbaugh, but yet they’re conservative. Why? Why do some of these conservatives not like Limbaugh, be it about immigration or whatever else? And you’re probably looking at this as all conservatives on the same team, and you don’t understand it. Am I close?
CALLER: Yeah, exactly, yes.
RUSH: Well, there are solid answers to this. But I don’t know if it serves any purpose here in answering them. Let me take a break, Albert. Don’t go away. You stay on hold out there and I will ponder the best way to deal with this. I mean, the Journal immigration thing will be easy. But some of the other aspects of this, it gets into marketing and positioning and professional career calculations more than it has to do with issues in answering the second half or phase of your question.
It also has to do with talk radio, slash, conservatism, slash, me. What’s the image in the Drive-By Media? It’s “Racist, sexist, bigot,” and there are a lot of people don’t want to be thought of anywhere close to that, and the safest, fastest way to distance yourself from being thought of as one of those is to criticize me. So it’s an effort to insulate themselves.
RUSH: Back to Albert in San Francisco. Albert, there’s an overall answer to your question here — be it the Wall Street Journal or some of these other people you asked about — and it is this. A lot of conservatives make a huge mistake and set themselves up by assuming other people are conservative because they occasionally say things that sound conservative. But when the pedal hits the metal, they’re not really conservative.
A lot of people think if you’re on Fox, you’re conservative, and that’s not necessarily the case. So I think the root of understanding it is to understand really who is conservative and who isn’t. There are a lot of people who try to pass themselves off now and then as conservative, but if they’re challenged on it, they’ll deny it cause they don’t want to take the heat of being one. They’ll say things like, “Well, I’m not one of those right wingers. I’m not a reactionary. I don’t make up my mind in advance,” blah, blah, blah.
But there are professional considerations, too. I mean, if you are in the media and you want to be Mr. Conservative? “Sorry, the job’s taken. It’s filled. You gotta go somewhere else.” So maybe you can you can be Mr. Moderate. Maybe you can be Mr. Reasonable Right-Winger. You find a niche for yourself, because the Mr. Conservative Leadership is taken. I’m it. So where are you gonna put yourself, then, in the professional media structure? There’s all kinds of explanations like that.
The Wall Street Journal rips into talk radio. They resent us. They really think that we are the only reason they haven’t had amnesty passed. You ask, why is the Journal attacking me. To me, the real question is, I can’t figure out why the Wall Street Journal thinks amnesty is the way to go. That befuddles me. I don’t know how you call yourself a conservative and you are in favor of amnesty.
It’s just the two don’t go together, to me. California is the future of this country and the Republican Party if we do amnesty, and that is plain as day for anybody to see — and if somebody can look at that and not recognize it, I am really puzzled. I don’t know how you not see that. But then again who is it, Albert, that runs advertising in the Wall Street Journal? You are still there, are you not, Albert?
CALLER: Yes. Yes. Yes.
RUSH: All right, who runs advertising? Who’s buying advertising in the Wall Street Journal?
CALLER: Different corporations, like corporations who want amnesty, low-skilled labor.
RUSH: Big and small.
RUSH: Big and small. So the Journal, just like any other business, they’ve got their clients. And if you look at the Journal editorial position over the years, it’s always going to fall in line. Sometimes they’re right on the money. I mean, Gigot and his buddies have written some of their best editorials lately in defending Apple against the attempt by the federal government to put a monitor in there 24/7 to guard against them violating anti-trust law.
I mean, the Journal editorials that they have written against Judge Denise Cote against this is the most amazing. This judge has assigned one of her friends, who has no experience in anti-trust law, to be the monitor for Apple in anti-trust violations. He’s charging $1,100 an hour and is not qualified. He’s had to go hire another lawyer, who is an expert in anti-trust, at another $1,000 an hour. Apple got a bill of 150 grand for 10 days. They have to pay it.
The judge appoints somebody, just a friend of hers, and the Journal has been exceptional in informing their readers about that circumstance. But when it comes to amnesty, when it comes to immigration, the Chamber of Commerce and whoever is running American business and the Republican establishment is calling the shots there, Albert. The Republican Party establishment, Chamber of Commerce, don’t look at this as a political issue at all, or not very much of one. They’re not looking at it ideologically.
This is pure cheap labor. I mean, Tom Donohue, the Chamber of Commerce guy, is out again today or yesterday and he’s saying, “The American people, American workers are either unqualified for the work we have, or they just refuse to do it, and that’s why we’ve got to pass amnesty.” I mean, it’s pure selfishness. The impact on the country apparently doesn’t matter to them. So it’s not even… You know, the people that are pushing this, they’re not doing it because that’s what conservatism is or because they’re conservatives.
This is strictly their own personal policy preference. It’s being plugged into a conservative framework, and they’re attempting to benefit from that when it really is isn’t. Talk radio has a direct connection with the American people, Albert. More than any other media, we have a direct connection, a bond of connection with our audience. The Journal does not have this bond with their readers. Nobody else does.
Talk radio is unique in the bond that it creates with its audience, and I could explain why in five minutes if you care. But because of this bond and because of the trust, when we tell them — when I tell them — what amnesty’s going to mean, they believe me, and they agree with it, and they let their members of Congress know they don’t want any part of it. And so the answer is: There is just too much democracy going on for people. They’re not happy with that. Don’t go away, Albert.
Back to the phones to Albert in San Francisco. Okay, now, I gave you a long-winded answer. Did I get anywhere close to what you hoped to hear?
CALLER: Yes. Yes. Thanks a lot, Rush.
RUSH: Anything else?
CALLER: No. No. Well, yeah. Well, I guess O’Reilly, why O’Reilly bashes you, but —
RUSH: Well, why do you think?
CALLER: Well, that’s the question you asked the caller last week, and he didn’t answer. I think I’d probably say what you said earlier, just to show that he’s not homophobic, racist, whatever the case may be. That’s what I think, but, you know, I’m not real sure.
RUSH: Look, this is… I was hoping you would get the right answer, ’cause I can’t say it.
CALLER: I wish you could say it.
RUSH: Well… (laughing). If you know what it is, you say it.
CALLER: I don’t know.
RUSH: Oh, you don’t? Okay.
CALLER: Unfortunately, I don’t.
RUSH: Look, here’s the thing. A lot of people in media are obsessed with their own image, and they do everything they can to create one, and I don’t. I do not care about my image because of what I was talking about mere moments ago. The bond of connection that I have with you people in the audience. You know. I don’t need an image for you to know who I am. You listen here every day. You know exactly who I am. You know what I am and what I’m not.
You know when there’s BS about me in the media, and I know you know, and that’s enough for me. I’m not obsessed with media campaign, PR image campaigns and that kind of thing. My only concern’s you, the audience. Other people are really obsessed with that. Look, whenever you hear somebody who you think is a conservative say, “Look, I’m not one of those right wingers. I’m the one these extremists,” the reason they’re saying that is ’cause they don’t want to be lumped in with the everyday criticism the media makes of conservatives.
I take that, by the way, as a badge of honor. I’m not troubled by it at all. Then there’s professional jealousy, there’s any number of things here to explain it, but it’s largely professional calculation. It has nothing to do with image. I would just caution a lot of people that whenever you’re watching somebody in the media you think is conservative, many times they’re not, really. Anyway, Albert, I appreciate it the call.
RUSH: Those of you who are not new and even those of you who have been around here for 25 years, you may have forgotten a lot of things. But in this discussion of amnesty and immigration, we had a caller an hour ago who wanted to know, “Look, the Journal’s conservative; you’re conservative. Why they ragging on you?
“Why does Bill O’Reilly rag on you? Why do all these other so-called conservatives rag on you?” I’m trying to answer this in a dignified way without… It’s tough, because there are really short, truthful answers here that I’m not the one to say. But let me just, on this amnesty business, give you something that’s really basic. Snerdley just pointed it out to me. I would venture to say, on our side of the aisle, there are a lot of people opposed to this who will not say so.
The reason is, they are scared to death of somebody calling them anti-Hispanic. And so they will not tell you what they really believe about immigration reform or amnesty, and in fact what they’ll do is tell you what they don’t believe in order to gain the approval of everybody or somebody or the media or what you have. That, I don’t care about. I don’t care if they call me anti-Hispanic because I know that you know that I’m not, and that’s plenty for me.
I don’t care what other people say about me. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, I try to express my gratitude and appreciation for all of you and what you’ve meant to my life and my family, you’ll never know. And part of it is, I don’t care what is being said about me elsewhere. I know that all know who I am and you know the truth and you know when there’s BS out there about me, and that’s all that matters.
So if I oppose whatever immigration reform is being proposed, if I oppose it ’cause I genuinely oppose it ’cause I think it’s harmful and wrong and business address for the country, the fact that somebody might call me anti-Hispanic is not gonna stop me from saying it. The fact that somebody might call me a racist is not gonna stop me from telling you what I really think about it, but it will stop most others.
Not only will it stop them, it will cause them to say things they really don’t believe in order to not be criticized — and, sadly, that describes way too many of our elected officials. But it also describes some of the people on supposed our side of the media. And you can extrapolate that to any other issue, beyond abortion, social issues, immigration reform, Obama, you name it. There are just a lot of people that will not speak up.
I can’t tell you the abject fear people have of media criticism, public criticism, even people that are in media and have a chance to answer it or refute it. It’s just, for a lot of people a path of least resistance is just easiest to calculate every issue. “Okay, what can I say here that will make me sound different than the people they’re gonna hate, and what’ll make me sound reasonable, and what will make me sound unoffensive, and what will make me appreciated by whatever group — in this case, Hispanics?”
I don’t make those calculations. It’s not a factor. The only thing that matters to me, when I’m doing this program, is what I believe. ‘Cause I figure if I lose that connection with you, then this is over. There is no more of this. I’m not gonna ever throw that away or put that at risk, and those of you who’ve been here for 25 years, there’s something you know. I have not one time, other than when I fake endorsed Clinton, I have not one time changed my opinion on anything fundamental, crucial, serious, ideologically political.
Some radio programmers would say, “Rush, you gotta mix it up. You gotta, you know, change it, come out for something just to keep the audience off guard.” I said, “Nope, I’m not gonna do that, not gonna do it.” You wouldn’t believe “the pressures,” as I call ’em. They’re not really. The attempts to say, “Rush, you know, we might be able to get a this or that if you will just…” and I won’t do it. In 1995, TIME Magazine — this is after the House elections where the Republicans took the House for the first time in 40 years.
So TIME Magazine does a story, and they put me on it, and they had a picture of me, but they added things. They Photoshopped or whatever was used in 1995. They made my face scowl, and they had a plume of cigar smoke coming out of my mouth. I looked really mean, and the headline was: Is Rush Limbaugh good for America? And I read the cover story, and I’m not mentioned. It was just on the cover.
The story was, there’s too much democracy, that there are too many people that are now involved in politics who don’t know what they’re doing. It was classic elitism. It was everything, in a nutshell. It was ruling class versus country class, it was establishment versus citizen, and elites versus common folk, you and me. And there was a line in the story: “Talk radio is only the beginning. Electronic populism threatens to short-circuit representative democracy.”
So in the minds of those at TIME, which were the same as in the minds of the Democrat Party hierarchy and probably the Republican Party hierarchy, there’s too many people voting. There are too many people who don’t know what they’re voting on. They’re just following this Limbaugh guy, and he’s getting ’em to vote. That’s what they all thought, and that’s why there was too much democracy going on. There was too much participation, and that’s why the cover story: “Is Rush Limbaugh good for America?”
Here’s something else from that article. E-mail and other tech talk may be the third, fourth or nth wave of the future, but old-fashioned radio is true hyperdemocracy. Very hyper. Like the backyard savants, barroom agitators and soapbox spellbinders of an earlier era, Limbaugh & Co. bring intimacy and urgency to an impersonal age. … What’s new is that today the radio rightists are wired into the political process.
“In 1994 the scream rose to the top. These fervent spiels, in which we heard America slinging, stinging, cajoling, annoying, persuading, finally transformed the social dialogue,” and the article ends like this (again, this is January of ’95: “Will the mood of radio listeners change? Can the hot-talk hosts continue to squirt scalding water on the body politic without one group or the other crying ‘Enough!’?”
See, that’s the media bias Larry King claims he’s never seen — and, folks, that 1995 story could have been rewritten again, verbatim, after the 2010 midterms. Except after the 2010 midterms, it wasn’t talk radio, it was the Tea Party. There was too much Tea Party. And now it’s the same thing. The Tea Party, too many people dumb and stupid who don’t know what they’re doing, led by other idiots like Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin. This is the traditional elitist rant. Now, some people in our media would like to be considered elitists. They want to be in that group. They want to be thought of as the special and anointed — and the fastest way you do that is to attack me or others on talk radio.
That’s how you join that club. But I just want to stress here that while the focal point may change: ’95 it was the Republicans winning Congress; 2010 it was the Tea Party sweeping the Democrats out of power in the 2010 midterms. 2014 is shaping up to be the same way, I think. By the way, they disagree with me on that at Fox. But it’s all gonna boil down to the same thing. You’ve got this group of elites who are not even trying to gain your trust, folks. They just want to be able to wield power. They’re not even trying to gain your trust. They’re not trying to relate.
If anything, they’re trying to fool you, and some of them are in the media. They’re trying to make you think they’re something they’re not. They’re trying to relate to you with this segment or that segment. But the last thing they want is to be written about like TIME Magazine was writing about talk radio and so forth. And me, I don’t care. No amount of criticism, particularly phony and wrong criticism, is gonna make me change my core belief. To me, I’m not the one who has the explaining to do. I’m not the one who has to justify myself. I happen to think the people that have to explain themselves today are the people in Washington who are making this mess, not people like me and you commenting on it and living in it and having to deal with it.
We’re not making the mess. We’re not spending money we don’t have. We’re not running the country into debt. We are not violating the Constitution. We are not forcing things on people that they don’t want. We are not making people do things they don’t want. We’re not governing other people against their will. All of that is happening to us, and when we speak up and oppose, we become the problem. I don’t look at it that way. They’re not ones that have to justify what they’re doing. The ones spending us into oblivion, the ones writing laws that are destroying the private sector. They’re the ones that have to explain themselves. Not us.
I look at you and me the same way I look at the country and the world. I think the United States is the solution to the problems in the world. And I think you, the people who make this country work, are the solution to what’s wrong with the country. The solution is gonna have to be implemented in Washington, sadly, or state legislatures, but the solution to the problem here is gonna have to involve people who are making this mess somehow not in a position to do so anymore. But we’re not the problem, folks. They want us to think we are, and they want to create as many other opinions as they can that we’re the problem.
The Tea Party’s not the problem in this country. The Tea Party doesn’t threaten anybody. Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, they’re not threatening anybody. All they want to do is improve things. But you know how they’re portrayed. Palin is great example, by the way. How much media piling on was there on Palin once that die was cast? And how many people stood up and defended her? You can count on one hand. I’m talking about Republicans in and out of the media, you can count on one hand the number of people who defended her. And you can’t count the people that piled on. There are too many. And it is my contention that, in our media, conservative media, and Republicans, slash, conservative politics, many of the people dumping on Palin were just doing it to be seen dumping on her. ‘Cause it was the safe play.