RUSH: Here is Regina in Lake City, Florida. Hi, Regina. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I’m a huge, huge fan. Finally got through after all these years of trying. My mother told me years ago how liberal the media was and I looked at her like she had two heads, and I’m calling to say that I am thrilled that Rand Paul came out swinging. However, he should have come out swinging with both fists.
CALLER: No. I’m talking about yesterday, when we heard him up in that conference call when he was out… Um… I’m sorry, I’m nervous. (laughing) You know when he was going on and on about how he was gonna change the world; he needs to take America back.
RUSH: Yeah. You mean his announcement?
CALLER: His announcement. Thank you. He should have come out swinging with both fists. Because I don’t understand, Rush, why they continue to lie about us, call us homophobes, women haters, racists. Why, why, why doesn’t one of our candidates address this and say, “Obviously you have the need to say this. You know it’s not true; it’s a lie. But if you have to say it, well, go ahead and say it. But in the meantime, now let’s move on to the truth and some real issues.” You know, it seems like they — “they” meaning the militant liberals — can say anything they want about us, and we just cower in the corner, and we never come back and refute this with what I feel is a strong counter.
RUSH: Well, give me an example of what you would do. Okay, I’ll pretend to be a liberal. All right?
RUSH: And you’ve called me, you’ve called me, and you’re telling me various things, and I say, “Ma’am, I don’t even know why I took your call. You’re a racist, you’re a bigot, you’re a sexist! You hate! You’re an extremist, and everybody you vote for is, too, and I don’t have any idea why you even called me.” Okay, so tell me, what would you say?
CALLER: First of all, I would say, “Why do you think we are all of the things you just named?”
RUSH: And at that point… At that point you have just lost.
CALLER: Okay. Why is that?
RUSH: Because I don’t have to answer. The very fact that you’re asking me to explain it gives another shot at you. “Why are you a racist? Because look what you did in Ferguson and look what you did in Indiana and look at the people you nominate! Ted Cruz hates people, and Sarah Palin hates people. Why do I think you’re a racist? Why do I think that? I don’t think it; I know it. I know it you’re a racist, sexist pig.”
CALLER: Okay, Rush. Okay, then what I would do is I would just come out and address it and say, “We are not homophobes, we aren’t women haters, we are not racists, but obviously you have the need to say this, so…”
RUSH: Look, I understand your frustration. People have been trying to figure this out for a long time, and I understand your frustration. The point is, the truth is you can’t change their minds with anything you would say to them. You can’t. You could give every dollar you have to GLAAD and the NAACP, and you know what they would say? “You’re phony. You’re doing that because you know you’re guilty.
“You’re doing that because you know you’re anti-gay and you know you’re a racist, and you’re just trying to cover it up!” Like after David Koch gave $25 million to the NAALCP, and there were a bunch of people who came out and said, “Give it back! Give it back! He doesn’t mean it. He’s actually a racist and just trying to cover up for it.” When he gave another $25 million to a cancer hospital in St. Louis, the nurses and some of the doctors at the place said, “Give it back! Give it back! He doesn’t mean it.
“He’s trying to buy love and affection. He’s really trying to cover up what he really is.” These people are irrational. You want to approach them rationally. You can’t. They have to be defeated. Now, I know what you want. I understand; I want the same thing. You turn on the news, and you listen to everything you believe in trashed. You hear and see everybody that you believe in trashed, and you want somebody to fire back and tell ’em what is and stand up and say, “You’re wrong!”
People have been doing that since the beginning of time, but it’s not gonna change their opinion. They may not even really think it. It’s just what they have been led to believe. Maybe they do really believe it but they’re mostly just spouting it, because they are incapable of dealing with you in the arena ideas. They’re incapable of debating ideas with you. They don’t even think they should have to because you’re such a reprobate. So that is why I’ve always said these people are not to be negotiated with.
I finally learned… I was thinking just, I don’t know what spurred this, but it was earlier this morning, you was prowling around the hallways here at the EIB Southern Command, something made me think of Barbara Walters. Oh, I know what it was. Drudge has a post, Liz Smith, the ancient gossip columnist, just turned 92, and the post on the Drudge page is, Liz Smith says that Barbara Walters stopped being her friend when she lost her column, and they were buddies.
I remember I went to a Christmas party those two hosted once. This is my point, in a roundabout way. I didn’t realize until the night was almost over that I was invited only for one reason, and that was to entertain them. I was this new conservative, strange animal beast in town. I was the circus act. They didn’t really want me there like they wanted everybody else there because they were genuinely friends.
I was this new whatever, and they didn’t understand it.
It was garnering a lot of attention, my program was, so they just wanted to find out what’s what. You should have seen what they did. You should have heard the conversations. I can’t repeat them because some of these people are still alive, but they were trying to taunt me. They were trying to just… I can tell now they were trying to get me all worked up. They wanted me to walk out and leave in a fit of shock and anger.
I just sat there and smiled at ’em, and then when I professed not to care about the Menendez trial? (snorts) You should have seen ’em thinking, “Well, you’re not serious about anything!” I was seated next to Cynthia McFadden who at the time was working for Court TV, and I didn’t watch Court TV and all I knew about the Menendez trial was that the jury was a bunch of idiots. So I was not able to do converse about it on a regular basis, and that was a big thing to them.
The fact that I didn’t know, they were just aghast. They were just shocked. It’s like if you’re a Christian and never heard of Christ, that kind of reaction. But, anyway, I was thinking back to all of the early interviews I did shortly after getting to New York. I don’t know why this crossed my mind, but I was thinking, there were people… Not a lot. I’ll cut to the chase. Nobody adequately prepared me for what I was doing and how to deal with it, and nobody even warned me about it.
So it was a fly-blind circumstance with every one of these early interviews, and I had to learn by doing — which is fine — and I did. The point is, I don’t do them now. But remember my first mistake was assuming they actually were interested in me and that’s why they invited me to be profiled or to appear, that they really were interested, that they really were interested in what I had to say.
I really believed that they were all this objective, uninvolved, uninvested people. It was genuinely naive stuff. I approached it that way, and it didn’t take long for me to figure out that I was dead wrong about this. There were some people at the time who could have told me these things but didn’t for whatever reasons, and I had to learn it on my own. And the formulas that take place. Like every time I watch a profile, I can tell you what’s coming next.
There’s the sitdown with different angles, and then at some point the host and the guest are gonna go walking down the hallway or walking in the park. You’re not gonna hear it. It’s B-roll. The picture is of the host getting even more acquainted with the guest, and the guest loving being with the host and all this. It’s all image-making by virtue of pictures that is supposed to send its own message. But the formula I didn’t even know.
Now I realize what all these things — when you’re a conservative, anyway — are all about. As such, I don’t even subject myself to them anymore. There’s no point, which is the roundabout way of what I’m trying to tell you. You want there to be push-back. You want there to be these people to be straightened out. They can’t be. They don’t want to be straightened out. They don’t want to think anything else of you, other than what they do.
RUSH: Let me try to simplify. I was engaging in a little verbal diarrhea in the last segment of the previous hour in responding to the woman who expresses every frustration we all have. You’re watching TV and you watch yourself lied about. The TV people go out and find these madcap leftist extremists that are just absurdly insane, and they’re presented as normal, they’re presented as the backbone of America, and they believe all this cockamamie crap that isn’t true. It’s all defamatory. It’s all incendiary. They spout it left and right, and the media amplifies it.
You’re sitting there watching it and you’re getting ticked off. And you’re wondering, why doesn’t somebody stand up and correct ’em? And that’s where you go off path because nobody wants to be corrected. It’s their identity. It’s how they get through the day. It’s how they deal with their own inadequacies. It’s how they deal with the fact that they know they’re a bunch of oddballs one way or the other. It’s how they deal with the fact that they’re really not in the mainstream, is to impugn, make fun of, defame everything that is.
Then they have to try to wipe out that which threatens them. That’s what this is all about. This is not about the expansion of civil rights or human rights. This is about a direct attack on a clear majority in this country via intimidation and threats and designed to get you to shut up and leave ’em alone and basically surrender in the face of this pressure. They want you to basically take no action to defend yourself or the group that you happen to be in, the fellow members of the majority. They want you to say, “Okay, you know what? I’ll just deal with this myself and let everybody else fend for themselves.” Nobody stands up, defends anything, and that’s made to order for them.
Now, how to deal with this. This which I just described happens to define much of the American media today. So that is going to determine what you’re exposed to. The way I have done it, personally and professionally, is to have two theories. One is that they have to be defeated. Their representatives have to be defeated, and that’s why, to me, I have done everything I can to educate and inform as many people to look at all of this ideologically. It isn’t Democrat versus Republican anymore. It’s liberal extremist, progressive, fascist, whatever, versus the rest of us.
And it’s in that context that we have to do, I think, a better job of helping people that don’t spend their days absorbed in this stuff like you and I do. Nevertheless, being able to learn to identify it and to not be taken in by it, and certainly not be put on the defensive constantly by it. I’ve shared with you many ways this manifests itself. And I’ll remind you of the first one that comes to my mind, is the dinner party at my own home that I walked out off because a couple people there were ready to throw Sarah Palin overboard simply because the media had destroyed her.
I was aghast. I said, “Are you really telling me that you are that content and that docile, that if our candidate can’t pass muster with the media, then you’re content with them being destroyed?”
And they pretty much agreed, “Yeah, that’s the lay of the land Rush. If we have people that can’t score with the media, if the media is able to destroy our people, it’s not worth it defending them.”
I said, “So you’re content to let the Democrats choose our candidates every year.” They didn’t look at it that way. And even after I’d positioned it that way, they didn’t see it that way. But it’s that kind of acquiescence and that kind of surrender that, to me, just is that, it’s surrender. So you defeat them or you support people trying to defeat them, which, does that not express your anger at the modern-day Republicans? You don’t think they’re trying to defeat them. You see them trying to get along with them.
So that double frustrates you. They tell you during a campaign they’re gonna defeat ’em. They tell you during the campaign they’re gonna stand up to ’em. Then, after they win, get to Washington, it’s kumbaya and can’t say anything critical, the independents might not like it or blah, blah, blah, whatever it is. So get doubly frustrated over that.
So what I do, folks, I just ignore it. Even when it’s personal, I just ignore it. And I’ve had people say to me, “Just so you know, Rush, are you not aware of what’s said about you? I mean, you don’t follow Twitter, and you don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook. Are you aware of the defamatory stuff?”
I said, “Well, in general, yeah, not specifically.”
“Well, how do you not do anything about it?”
I’ve learned that every time I engage it, it gets worse. The provocateurs claim victory, and they get even more enthused and more energetic. The way I deal with it every day on the radio, I be who I am. I’m very proud and happy to let myself speak for me. And I’ve had to learn — this is the toughest thing — I’ve had to learn to take stuff like that as a measure of success. That was really hard, because nobody’s raised, nobody’s parents say, “Now, Son, if half our neighborhood hates you, that is your ticket. That’s what you need to aim for, Son, 30, 40% of the people in the neighborhood to hate you.”
You want everybody in the neighborhood to love you. You want everybody in the town to love you. That’s not true in my case. I never thought that anyway, never thought that was realistic. Now, that’s why I don’t go on very many media outlets. Fox now and then. You have no idea what we turn down here. I don’t bother to tell you, but it’s every day, and sometimes when they get the hint it’s every other day, and it’s every week. But there’s nothing in it. There’s no point.
I know absolutely for a fact that my desired presence on these programs is not because anybody’s really interested in what I have to say. They want to be able to take shots and bring up things from 25, 30 years ago that have no relevance. And since I am one of the few people that doesn’t live and die to be on TV, it’s very easy to say “no.” I’ve learned to ignore ’em, and I’m surrounded by it. I’ve not walled myself off from it, but I’ve learned to ignore it, and I’ve learned to take some of it as a measure of success.
Now, I don’t think I was really as clear as I wanted to be when I was describing the formulas that exist in TV interviews and so forth. What I meant — and I wasn’t being critical of anybody, but when I started in 1988 going forward, all of these things that I just finished telling, it took me 10 years of experience to learn and figure this stuff out. And my only point was, there weren’t very many people, and for the first five years there was nobody, nobody had ever experienced it, that I was working with, so there was nobody that could advise me on how to deal with it.
So I was asking everybody, you know, kind of an offshoot of the people who say, “Rush, are you aware of what they’re saying about you?” Back in the old days, some AP story or something would accuse me of racism or sexism. I’d have people say, “You can’t let that stand. You have got to fire back. You can’t let them say that.” So, inexperienced, I’d listen to all this, “Okay, I’ll try firing back.” So I’d go on the radio and I’d point to the piece, I’d read it, say, “Do you realize this is a crock, this isn’t true.” And all that happened was another story was generated in which Limbaugh claims and moans and whines that he’s been unfairly characterized.
Then they’d give more of their so-called quotable examples of how I’m wrong. So they just double down on it. Other people said, “Ignore it. The more you respond to it, the more you elevate it.” And that certainly became true as this program got bigger and bigger. I mean, why respond to a newspaper story in a single city and thereby tell the whole country — this before the Internet — tell the whole country about it instead of ignoring it and letting it fester there in that little city.
I wrote about this in my first book, and maybe some of you remember hearing this, but it was within the first five years. I was an invited guest at a dinner at the 21 Club — yeah, ’cause my first book was out, so this had to have been 1992 or 1993, and I was invited to dinner at the 21 Club, and my host said, “Please bring a copy of your book, because the restroom attendant is one of your biggest fans.” I said, “Oh, cool, fine and dandy.”
So I arrived, and after being there awhile I’m escorted to the restroom. The guy in there is indeed a huge fan. His nickname was The Rev, he’s African-American, and he was a minister. He moonlighted at 21. The minute he saw me he just started babbling. I didn’t get a word in. He started telling me how much he enjoyed me, how much he listened, he started quoting things I said. And he said, “You know, it’s just like Mr. Reagan.” Now, at this point in time I’m in the midst of trying to figure out how to deal with all of this, because four years ago nobody hated me. Nobody who knew me thought I hated anybody. After six months on the radio I am filled with all this hate and bigotry and so forth, I’m trying to figure it all out. Why is this happening? Don’t these people know me?
That’s what I mean. They didn’t care to get to know me. They didn’t want to know me. I was conservative and therefore I had to be whatever they claimed as a means of rendering me ineffective. And this guy said to me, “You know, Mr. Reagan, Mr. Reagan, he just laughed at ’em.” I hadn’t said a word. I had not said a word, and this guy says to me, he’s a reverend, “Mr. Reagan just laughed at ’em.” And I thought, this is divine intervention here. I gotta rev from up in Westchester County in the bathroom at 21 telling me how Reagan dealt with it.
This guy had no way of knowing that I was going through an internal struggle of how to deal with this. He just threw it out there. He was smiling and laughing, so I figure, “Okay, that’s how to deal with it, laugh at ’em.” But on this interview stuff, the thing about not having mentors, there weren’t any until I started meeting people in TV. They were able to give me some advice, but there wasn’t much. It was thought, you know, let the kid learn it on his own. Go out and trip up with Barbara Walters. Go out and say something stupid, whatever.
Here’s my point, folks. Nobody, not a single person, told me what I have now learned about the media. Every bit of what I know about the media has been learned from firsthand experience and study. None of it is the result of prejudice. None of it is the result of somebody telling me, “This is gonna happen. This is what they think of you. Don’t fall for this trick, try this trick on ’em.” I got none of that.
And I was thinking, I was wandering the halls here at the Southern Command earlier, I was thinking, if there was ever a circumstance where there was some young host back where I was 26 years ago who was about to go through the same things, I would take him aside and I wouldn’t let three or four years of wasting time gaining experience. I’d say, “Here’s what you’re up against. You’re conservative and you’re gonna go on X, here’s what gonna happen. Here’s exactly how they’re gonna treat you. This is what they think of you.”
It’s what I told the House freshmen when I did the orientation speech after the Republicans won the House in 1994. We had an excerpt, a sound bite of the speech I gave in that year. And I told ’em, you know, you’re used to watching the news come outta Washington. You think the media sidles up to the winners. You think the media loves the winners, and they treat ’em like good buds and friends. I said, no, you are not gonna be treated as the winners. You’re the interlopers. The media in this town is not gonna like you. They’re not gonna be happy you’re here. They really hate the fact that you now run the House of Representatives. They’re gonna do everything they can to make you look like the boobs and idiots they think you are.
Oh, they may bat their eyelashes and ask you to dinner or lunch or whatever, but make no mistake, the only thing they want is to get you back out of town. They’re never gonna treat you the way they treat Ted Kennedy. They’re never gonna treat you the way they treat Bill Clinton. You’re never gonna be one of their buddies, unless you turn traitorous and start ripping your own caucus, and then they’ll love you.
I remember saying all this to them. Nobody taught me. I had to figure that out myself. The reason I’m pointing this out is, when that woman called here and asked me for advice, the only advice I can give you is what I’ve learned and what I’ve lived through. And the biggest piece of advice that I could give anybody — and now it’s time for me to give a tribute to you, actually. For all of you who have wanted to call me and warn me about all those things that you’re seeing about me in all of these various pockets of the Internet, “Rush, you see what they’re saying about you?”
I’m aware of it.
Have you ever wondered, ever asked yourself why they haven’t really succeeded? I mean, why am I still here in the face of all of this? Twenty-six years of this stuff. You are aware of every high-energy, concerted effort they have made. I don’t have to name them. You know what they all are. By the way, I’ve given ’em ammo. Not all of it’s been unfair. I have given ’em ammo. The reason it hasn’t worked — and this is the overriding philosophy that I also evolved — the media cannot destroy you if they’re not the ones who make you. But if the media makes you, in other words, let’s say you have a TV show and it’s actually number 10 in the market but the media loves you and they write about it all the time, and they talk about it all the time, and they promote it, and they make everybody think it’s number one.
The day comes when they don’t like you, they can take you out. Because you never have been what they say you are. If they build you up and it’s unreal and untrue, they can take you out. Well, the media had nothing to do with making me. They tried to prevent me from making it from the first moment they discovered what was going on. You made me. And, as such, you’re the only ones that can take me out. They can’t. And that is an overriding philosophy that I, whenever I’m asked by anybody in this business or in an ancillary way, do not go the PR route, do not try to have buzz and PR define your success. Make it real.
Make your success real and dependent on real people making you a success, not some media buzz, because that is fleeting. They can take that away from you and you’re a nobody. But they can’t take away from you what they haven’t built.
RUSH: Here. Here’s this one little excerpt of the speech I delivered to the Republican freshman class. They made me an honorary member in 1994. The Heritage Foundation put this thing on. It was at Camden Yards in Baltimore. This is just about a minute, but it’s the point that I was making mere moments ago.
RUSH ARCHIVE: We all are susceptible to human nature, and we all want to be liked, we all want to be loved, and you all want to live in surroundings which are not hostile. But inside the Beltway, for people like us, this is not possible. And so sometimes to avoid the hostility we say things and then begin to do things designed to gain the approval of those who are hostile toward us. I want to warn you against it. I want to warn you, you will never, ever be their friends. They don’t want to be your friends. Some female reporter will come up to one of you and start batting her eyes and ask you to go to lunch, and you’ll think, “Wow, I’m only a freshman. Cokie Roberts wants to take me to lunch. I’ve really made it.” (laughter) Seriously, don’t fall for this. This is not the time to get moderate. This is not the time to start trying to be liked. This is not the time to start gaining the approval of the people you’ve just defeated. (applause)
RUSH: Well, that class listened to it, but it was shortly forgotten. By the way, it wasn’t long after that that Cokie Roberts called and invited me to lunch. (chuckling) She was laughing when she called, by the way. But it’s still the case today. It was true then, and it still is the case today. But it’s a very unnatural thing. People don’t want to be in conflict all the time. See, that’s the thing the left is. Life to them is confrontation. Life is conflict.
They are incapable of being content. They cannot simple take a day off and enjoy things as they are. Psychologically, I don’t know what it is. The realization they’re oddballs and kooks? I don’t know, but they just don’t. You’re just the opposite. You just want to live. You’ve only got one life, and want to enjoy it. You don’t want to be in constant battle and conflict, but that’s all they want to do — and they are, every day. It never, ever stops. To deal with it, you have to engage it and defeat it. You’re never gonna change their minds. It’s a futile thing to try.