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RUSH: This is October 5th, 2003. This is the Sunday after I resigned the ESPN pregame show. I don’t want to waste time resetting the table on that. I said something the previous Sunday that nobody even reacted to until two days later on Tuesday, and it was local Philadelphia media that reacted to it.

But the studio hosts, my cohosts on the Sunday morning pregame show the next Sunday, every damn one of them, “Rush promised he would never bring politics to our set, he did! (crying) Rush promised he would never bring cultural stuff, and Rush lied to us, and we should have never hired Rush!” That was the tack they all took. And Tommy Jackson, who would not take a phone call from me — I probably shouldn’t get into this. Tommy Jackson had this to say. Now, I want you to measure what you hear in this sound bite from 2003 to the way ESPN is now when you turn it on.

JACKSON: Let me just say that it was not our decision to have Rush Limbaugh on this show. Rush told us that the social commentary for which he is so well known would not cross over to our show, and instead he would represent the viewpoint of the intelligent, passionate fan. Rush Limbaugh was not a fit for NFL Countdown.

RUSH: None of that’s true. I never promised anybody. I never talked to those guys when I was hired. I was hired by executives, Mark Shapiro being one, and I forget the other two names, but I never promised these guys anything. They were just scared to death because all kinds of negative attention was being attached now to the pregame show. “Rush lied to us. Rush was not a fit.” And when the incident happened, none of these guys thought a thing of it. Steve Young even agreed with me! It wasn’t until everybody went nuts two days later. Anyway, I don’t want to rehash that. Here’s Keyshawn Johnson Sunday morning, NFL Countdown.

JOHNSON: Being a kid at whatever age it was, seven years old, six years old, I didn’t have any knowledge to know that it was wrong to abuse a kid with a switch, to the point at times where my parents would even ask me to go out and pick a branch off the tree of your choice, big, small, whatever the case may be, to use it. But if that didn’t happen to me along the way, I wouldn’t be here with you today. It taught me a lot of learning lessons. I have an 18 down to two, and I have a little four-year-old girl and a two-year-old son, and I never, ever have put my hands on them.

RUSH: That is the Sunday morning pregame show on Sunday NFL Countdown where social commentary would never cross over to their show, and anybody who engaged in it was not a fit for NFL Countdown. And yet now look what’s happened. Look at what all of these pregame shows have become. They’ve all become political. Once again, folks, as has been the case, the pioneers — in this case, me — always take the arrows.


RUSH: We got a guy coming up on the phone that has a brilliant observation, really astute observation. This is Scott, Manhattan Beach, California. Great to have you on the program, sir. Hello.

CALLER: Thank you, Rush. I was looking at the failure of left-wing talk radio and the failure of left-wing media, which includes MSNBC, CNN, and the New York Times. And what I’ve discovered here is that left-wing media has taken over sports talk and sports talk radio.

RUSH: Yeah, that’s exactly right. I think you are on to something profound there.

CALLER: And, unfortunately, the people that listen to it are kind of unaware.

RUSH: Oh, they don’t think it’s politics. It’s sports. You’re exactly right. That’s it in a nutshell. They don’t think it’s possible. It’s like low-information don’t think Democrats are politics. The Republicans are politics. They’re the bad guys. They’re the ones standing in the way of progress.

CALLER: Right. And they’ve got everything, they’ve got it all covered: global warming, the anti-gun group, the gay BLT group. You got the women’s rights, then race. And the next thing they’re gonna be trying to get rid of is the petroleum-based plastic helmets, and the next thing that’s gonna happen is they’re gonna find out that there’s a pigskin, and the pigskin is gonna be pig related and it’s gonna be offensive to Muslims and they’re gonna have to change the football, and it’s all left-wing agenda.

RUSH: Folks, he may be exaggerating a bit there to make a point, but Scott is on to the way this is playing out. See, the secret in this is that the sports talk audience thinks that they are, “I don’t like talk radio. I don’t like politics.” And they are hip deep in left-wing politics. And it’s not just sports talk radio anymore. It’s television. It’s television sports. I’ve been trying to tell people as long as I’ve been aware of it that the sports Drive-Bys, if it’s possible, are more liberal than their news Drive-By brothers and sisters. It is a stunning reality when you run up against some of them, when they’re guests on CNN or when they’re guests on MSNBC, it’s stunning.

CALLER: Didn’t Keith Olbermann come directly from MSNBC and he’s ended up on ESPN?

RUSH: Well, he started at ESPN back when they weren’t political, then he went to MSNBC, then Fox — I think Fox. Maybe not. He was at MSNBC twice. Current TV. But yeah, good example. But he’s not by no means the only one.

CALLER: Right. And it’s even more dangerous in a sense because the people that come on there, because they’re talking sports, they’re free to meander in conversation and get their talking points in when you’re not prepared for it. You know, you’re talking about someone crossing the 50 yard line, before you know it it’s global warming. And it’s just sinking in little by little and they’re getting all their points, because we’re not talking politics, we’re talking sports.

RUSH: And culture and entertainment and celebrity and all the things pop culture are made from.

CALLER: Exactly.

RUSH: That’s it. It’s an excellent, excellent point. Folks, I could give you names of people, but it’s the same old philosophy. I don’t want to elevate ’em beyond where they are. But some of them are really so far gone on liberalism. One of the things that animates a lot of them is race. Some of these guys, slavery still exists, it’s big, and everybody is a racist. Yeah, it’s a good point. It’s actually it’s a great, great point. I’m glad you called, Scott. Thank you so much.

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