RUSH: Okay. So let me see if I get this straight. The same journalists and the same pundits who are happy to see Brian Williams suspended six months without pay for making up the news, for making up stories, are now shedding tears about Jon Stewart, who made up news and did fake news, leaving Comedy Central.
These people have got to be twisted and flaked and formed into such pretzel positions as to not know which day it is or which direction is up or down. What kind of confusion must these people — they’re wringing their hands, oh, my God, it’s media implosion, liberal media implosion out there. And I could make the case that that is exactly what’s happening, and maybe I’ll give it a shot.
Anyway, greetings and great to have you. Rush Limbaugh back at it, off and running. Another exciting excursion into broadcast excellence. 800-282-2882. The e-mail address, ElRushbo@eibnet.com.
I remember when this program first started, and for the first two years intensely, but even the first four or five, Drive-By journalists would want to interview me. They’d say, “We never heard a program like this.” David Brinkley interviewed me for This Week. He said, “There’s nobody like you. What is it you’re doing?” All that was happening on this program was something that was not present everywhere. And I told everybody, I mean, the Drive-Bys that are trying to figure it out, and everybody.
What this program was and is — this is how it started — combined two elements that were not combined anywhere else in the media: satire and parodic humor, along with a serious discussion of issues, with the host, being me, maintaining credibility no matter what. Credibility telling jokes, doing satire, doing humor, credibility during serious discussion. I said, “You never know what’s gonna happen because both those elements are mixed.” And I said, “They’ve never been combined in major media before.”
And they said, “What do you mean?”
And I said, “Well, let me give you an example. If you turn on The Tonight Show tonight –” Johnny Carson was still on “– if you turn on The Tonight Show and Johnny Carson comes out and instead of a monologue he gives you a serious commentary, you’re gonna get a little uncomfortable and say, ‘I’m not watching this for that. I’m here to be entertained. I want to hear jokes.’ By the same token, if Ted Koppel, who was hosting Nightline, if Ted Koppel opened Nightline with a 10-minute joke routine, you’d say, ‘Wow, that is not what I’m here for, Ted Koppel. I’m here for serious interviews and so forth.'”
But this program combined both, and it’s what led to so much confusion and head-scratching on the part of the left and the media trying to pigeonhole it and figure it out. Plus the fact that there weren’t any guests. I mean, that didn’t compute. They couldn’t figure that out. And as I listen to all of these pundits and all these Drive-Bys wring their hands over what’s going on in their precious media — you know, I read my little technical blogs, it’s my hobby, keeping up with the latest in gadgets and gizmos. There are a couple of these tech blogs that actually delve deep, blog posts here and there, into our culture. I find it fascinating as a study because they’re Millennials for the most part, and one line that I saw last night almost made me want to just — well, not cry, but I guess I’ll admit it was a little bit frustrating because these are otherwise smart people.
This guy said — I don’t know who it was, doesn’t matter. I don’t even remember the blog. Anyway, the last line of this guy’s little tear-filled post was, “I don’t know, but the powers that be had better figure out real fast that the fake news and the satire news was often more real to us than the real news.” And I said, “That’s it.” The satire news and the fake news was often more real. Oh, and more accurate. The satire news was more accurate than the real news. And of course all of this fascinates me because media is how people end up being informed in this country, and this program’s purpose is to create as large a bloc of informed, participating people who also like to be entertained at the same time. That’s the objective.
I study how it is people consume media and how it is they see it, and I’m always fascinated by it. You people have spoiled me. I’m gonna be very up front and honest. This is not pandering, and this is not sucking up because I don’t have to. But I’ve always, from day one of the program, I have always treated the audience, you, yes, you’re a group, but to me I’m talking to you as one individual to another. And I’ve always, always assumed you are all really smart. I have never felt the need to go first grade on you and explain the most basic concepts before I delve deeper into a subject.
I’ve always assumed the intelligence of people in this audience because it’s valid. I have never pandered to it, and I’ve always respected it. This is another thing that I think distances this program and others like it from others in the Drive-By Media. The Drive-By Media does not look at their audience that way. The Drive-By Media, no matter whether telling jokes or whether doing serious commentary, the Drive-By Media, the entertainment media looks down on their audience. They don’t think their audience is all that bright. They think they can use them, manipulate them, and in some cases have outright contempt for them.
You ever called a television station or a newspaper to complain about something in the news, and they’ll tell you basically, “Well, you know, you don’t understand what we do here. That’s not bias. We’re not liberally bias. You just don’t understand what we do.” The news business is the only business I know of where the customer is always wrong, by definition. But not here. And I say you all have spoiled me because I treat this audience as just as smart as any group of people in this country that I could encounter, and in many cases, smarter. I deal with you and I treat you that way.
And, believe me, folks, it’s a blessing to have what I consider to be an intelligent audience and not have to sit here and pretend — not pretend, not to sit here and talk to people in a kindergarten or grade school level. You do not know what a blessing that is for me.
RUSH: Literally make the point that the liberal media is imploding. Some of the best evidence of this is NBC News. When you get right down to it, NBC, I don’t think, is a news organization anymore. And I wonder if it ever will be again. It hasn’t been a news organization for a long time, and it’s not going to be one in the foreseeable future.
Brian Williams is not the problem. And you’re gonna read and hear all kinds of things about Brian Williams from people that knew him, that didn’t know him, from serious hand-wringing pundits and analysts to people that thought he was the greatest guy in the world and just had one too many whoppers you but by golly, by gosh, we hope he comes back from it.
But I’ll tell you, he isn’t the problem. Brian Williams is a symptom. Brian Williams may have some complex problems about being insufficient as a human being and needs to constantly exaggerate, but the fact that he felt he could get away with this on the NBC Nightly News, he felt he could get away with it and continue to do it, says something about NBC.
RUSH: Any supposed, so-called news organization that seriously considered hiring an admitted satirist, who made his bones with fake news, Jon Stewart, any network seriously considering hiring him to moderate Meet the Press isn’t what it claims to be. NBC is not a news organization anymore, and I don’t know if they’re going to be in the foreseeable future.
Not only was there a serious effort made to hire a comedian, satirist, whatever, to moderate the venerable Meet the Press, there is also even as we speak serious discussion in the news business, serious discussion among journalist professionals, serious discussion among pundits that the satirist and the comedian would be ideal to replace Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News. Fine, whatever floats your boat, but don’t call it news if you’re gonna put a comedian in. It isn’t news, and it certainly isn’t journalism.
NBC’s free to do what they want and they can try to convince people that what they’re doing is news. They’re free to use any marketing PR jazz they want. They’re free to try to fool as many people as they want, but people need to be aware that when they tune in to NBC, it isn’t about journalism, and it isn’t about the news. Brian Williams isn’t the problem. The fact that Brian Williams was allowed to stay in that anchor chair while executives at NBC were fully aware of his embellishments and lies and made-up events tells you all you need to know. Brian Williams knew that they knew.
Now, we’re told that people took him aside and said, “Brian, you need to dial this back a little bit, buddy.” Nothing happened to him as he didn’t dial it back. And had it not been for some military personnel who finally heard one too many versions of something blowing the whistle on it, he’d still be there, with the full knowledge of the news professionals and the news executives at NBC News.
So it’s fine for them to act all outraged now, these executives, and it’s fine for them to act as though they are desperately concerned about the damage done to their credible news organization. But they sat there for years and put the guy on the air every night knowing full well not only what he had done and kept doing, but was capable of continuing to do. So you can’t blame him per se. The signal was sent that he was okay. He should have been suspended or fired the moment they first heard about this. That didn’t happen.
In a way it’s somewhat analogous to the Republicans telling Obama that they’re not gonna impeach him, they’re not gonna do anything to stop him. They pretty much signaled that, as far as Obama’s concerned, he doesn’t have to obey the Constitution because the Republicans are not going to enforce it. The Republicans have said over and over again that they’re not going to even consider articles of impeachment. Well, that’s the only way you can stop an out-of-control president, built right into the Constitution. The only means — well, maybe a couple of others, but it’s the big one. And if the opposition party tells the man who is ignoring the Constitution every day that they’re gonna do nothing to stop him, why should he stop?
Well, by the same token, there might have been some elbows in the room say, “Brian, you gotta dial it back, man, can’t keep doing that.” But he was not punished for it until the suits became embarrassed. And that only happened when the military people finally piped up, “Hey, you know what? This didn’t happen.” Then the hotel manager in New Orleans piped up, “You know what? I think he misremembered this dead body floating down the street. That didn’t happen.”
So now everybody’s wringing their hands all righteously offended and worried and concerned when all of this was going on with their full knowledge every night. They had a ticking time bomb on the air for a half hour every night, not sure where he was gonna go or what he was gonna make up or what he was gonna lie about, and as long as the numbers stayed at the top, they rolled the dice.
NBC also has bought totally into crony socialism, crony capitalism, almost a varying degree of fascism, if you will. But they clearly are not news. When you go out and hire Chelsea Clinton, who has never been in the news business, Chelsea Clinton, whose only experience with a news camera was being hidden away from them. Chelsea Clinton, the closest she ever got to a journalist was if she snuck out of the White House and happened to walk past one trying to get away from the Secret Service, because her mom and dad shielded her and protected her and told the news people to leave her alone, and they dutifully obeyed.
Then out of the blue one day we’re told that NBC hires Chelsea Clinton. She’s never had a second’s worth of experience. There are people in the news business and in journalism slaving away in small towns and medium-size towns all over the country, and they’re sweating and they’re working hard and they’re doing everything they can to climb the ladder of broadcast journalism. And out of the blue, here comes a former president and potentially future president’s daughter being hired to do some interviews of people on magazine type shows at NBC News.
Plus, this woman, Chelsea Clinton, who’d had not a second’s worth of experience in the business, was paid $600,000. The mistake everybody made in analyzing that was, Chelsea Clinton was not hired. NBC News was buying access. NBC News was buying an insurance policy. If Mrs. Clinton became president, fine, NBC’s hired their daughter, so they’re gonna get preferential treatment maybe, maybe access, and if we have a very powerful government that wants to come down on the news media someday, maybe they’ll leave NBC alone because NBC gave their daughter a chance.
Same thing with Al Sharpton. There’s no reason Al Sharpton has a television show except for the fact that NBC bought access, and in this case, they were actually paying protection money. Al Sharpton owes the IRS four and a half million dollars. IRS has got a trail of bad debt all over this country. Al Sharpton is Al Sharpton. Al Sharpton perpetrates frauds. Al Sharpton perpetrates hoaxes. There he is every night on MSNBC, part of the NBC umbrella, and he’s got his own show, and he’s able to take that show to every hot spot in the country, be it Ferguson, Missouri, or to New York City.
Wherever there is any racial strife that needs to be profited from, Al Sharpton takes his NBC show right to it. Well, I don’t know what it is, but it isn’t news, it isn’t journalism. NBC was paying Al Sharpton protection money, the way he and his Justice Brother, the Reverend Jackson, have secured protection money for decades. You don’t want us to organize protests against your business, fine, pay up. You don’t want us to organize boycotts of your business? Fine, pay up. Paying up in this case was giving the Reverend Sharpton a show and then letting him take that show wherever he wanted and letting Al Sharpton conduct business under the rubric of NBC News. Well, I don’t know what it is, but it isn’t journalism, and it isn’t news.
Let me ask you what’s worse. You plug Brian Williams into all this and ask, what’s worse here? Embellishing an anchor’s experience, tolerating an anchor making things up, tolerating an anchor lying, placing himself in events he wasn’t, what’s worse, letting an anchor insert himself into news story after news story and let him get away with it, or virtually ignoring every Obama scandal since day one? What’s worse, sit idly by and let your anchor make it up, let your anchor insert himself into whatever story he wants to insert himself. Or is it worse to totally ignore, say, what happened in Benghazi, to totally ignore the details and facts of Fast and Furious, to totally ignore the Obama administration using the IRS to harass and intimidate and scare, dare I say abuse, American citizens?
NBC ignored that story. They still don’t get excited about it. You may not, if you watch NBC News, you may not have even heard the name Lois Lerner. If you watch NBC News, you may not know what’s gone on in Benghazi. If you watch NBC News, you may not know about Fast and Furious, except that maybe a bunch of conservative wackos think it’s a big deal, but you laugh about it. What’s worse, letting an anchor go on the air every night and make it up, invent things, place himself in stories that he wasn’t a part of, or sitting there and cheerleading this fraudulent government program called Obamacare and all of the ongoing corruption involved in that? Not reporting all of the times the president of the United States has violated the Constitution and has utilized authority that he does not have, you ignore all that, what’s worse?
What’s NBC so profoundly embarrassed about today? What are they quaking in fear over, their credibility? They’ve got an anchor out of control. That’s what bothers them more than totally ignoring all the real news and all the real scandals that have played a serious role in the destruction and damage done to the culture and the society of our country. The problem with NBC News is the problem with journalism. But whatever they are, a news organization they are not.