RUSH: Greetings, my friends, and welcome to the Rush Limbaugh program. And I have to tell you, you are among the most intelligent consumers of media in the country today. You have to be, ’cause I’m your host. And as I look at the media landscape which followed this program yesterday, man, is it stunning. Anyway, great to have you here. The telephone number if you want to be on the program’s 800-282-2882, and the e-mail address, ElRushbo@eibnet.com.
Let me review here for just a second. I’m in a quandary here. I mean, I’ve got the audio sound bite roster today and I am it. And as you know, that makes me profoundly uncomfortable. I am not one of these people that wants to make everything about me. I really am not, and you people know that.
But I spent, for those of you who were here yesterday, just to remind you, for those of you who weren’t, I spent arguably yesterday’s entire program pouring out my soul to you people and explaining to you how I arrive at the places I get to and how sometimes it’s very challenging because over the years I’ve gotten to know all of the people that are the news makers in the recent spate of news stories related to the Republican presidential campaign.
Some of them I count among my best friends, and I’ve known them for over 30 years, 25, 30 years, and yet here I am thrust into a position — not complaining about it — where I have to be able to put all that aside and get right down to what I think about it, whatever it is from issue to issue, because it’s all about you, being truthful to what your expectations of this program are and of me. So I — particularly the first hour yesterday, I spent the first 90 minutes, the first hour and a half of this program I spent a lot of time and concentrated, focused on just trying to explain all of the elements.
I did not come down on one side or the other. I just tried to analyze and explain it, and then to watch what happens with that in the rest of the media is stunning. The lack of depth — and I mean this — the lack of ability to understand nuance. And yesterday it wasn’t that nuanced. It was pretty cut-and-dried. You didn’t have to read between the lines of what I was saying. That’s why I went to such lengths to be as perfectly clear as I could, and yet the rest of the Drive-By Media, which follows the program, can’t get past the horse race.
You know, yesterday’s program held particularly deep meaning for me, and last night, throughout the night, watching cable news or hearing about it — I actually didn’t watch it — it’s amazing how the Drive-By Media just reduces everything to the horse race. And the conclusion, what they apparently picked up from our three-hour program yesterday, was that I was siding with Donald Trump over Fox News, over the Republican candidates, that’s how they analyzed it.
I didn’t side with anybody. I haven’t sided with anybody. During primaries, I never do side with anybody. There’s nothing unusual about what’s going on here. What I endeavor to do is analyze and explain it. And the whole point of yesterday’s program was to try to explain to people how in the world somebody like Trump, busting convention, doing everything everybody says you’re not sure supposed to do , how can he be, according to the polls, running away with this? How can a guy who’s not gonna show up on TV, dominate TV? How can a guy who announced he’s not going to participate, own it?
I endeavored to explain this yesterday. And I made it very clear that what Trump is doing is breaking every political formula that exists. He’s busting all the convention, and nobody can figure it out. Everybody follows the formula. Everybody plays the game. The rules of the gave them have been set by tradition and experience. And it’s expected that you are to follow those rules. The elites, in any organization, are exclusionary, and their job is to keep newbies out, particularly newbies that are violating the rules. They’re not only not to get in the club, they are not to win if they sneak into the club. All of that’s being violated. I attempted to explain it, and I thought I did rather well. But it was reduced to Limbaugh taking sides with Trump. CNN, other cable networks and so forth.
So now I’m in a quandary here, I got all these audio sound bites, and they all talk about me and what I said. They play the clips of what I said and still don’t get it. I guess it could be fun reviewing that, but it makes me uncomfortable being the focus of everything here. But really the takeaway here is — and I think all of you in this audience get it. You understand the mainstream media. They want you to believe that they are the smartest, the brightest, the most experienced, the greatest analysts. Only they have the experience, the knowledge, the contacts to be able to analyze, dig deep and explain things to you that you otherwise wouldn’t know.
And that is a joke, because they can’t get past the horse race aspect of everything, mixed in with their own personal biases. Like I kind of jumped on Fox a little bit yesterday. I don’t consider it jumping on Fox; I just expressed I was surprised. Okay, so here’s a candidate running for president, Trump. He says, “You know what? I’m not gonna do your debate.”
“Okay, fine, you’re not gonna do our debate, fine, we won’t miss you. Go ahead and do what you want to do. Go to Canada, have a debate with Cruz, whatever you said you’re gonna do, but we are gonna do the debate, and here’s the rest of the news,” and let it be done with, instead of turning the whole rest of the night over to how you’ve been jilted.
Well, CNN came out last night and violated every other rule. They turned over their whole night to Fox News. I have never understood. Why in the world would you spend four years talking about your competitor? Even if you think you’re criticizing, even if you think you’re bringing people on who you think are criticizing them, you don’t talk about them. You don’t help ’em out that way. You talk about violating rules. But they are so eager.
You know Fox is the king of the hill. Fox is just three, four, five times bigger than their nearest competitor, and so they will take any opportunity they think they’ve got to whittle Fox down to size using other people to do it, because they haven’t figured out how to do it on their own with their own programming. So I guess CNN figures that their audience wants to tune in and watch Fox get beat up. What kind of audience do you have if you’re a cable news network and you think your audience wants to hear Fox News get beat up?
This stuff has gotten so inside baseball, it’s become so personal that there’s degrees of malpractice going on out there regarding journalism. Nothing new, I understand. I’m just further analyzing this for you as I see it. What do you think, Snerdley? Should I play some of these sound bites? (interruption) Yeah, see, you never say “no” to that. You’re just all-in there because you think this all… Let’s start and give some examples. What do we have first on here? CBS Evening News. Major Garrett, formally of Fox News, was on CBS Evening News last night.
Here is… What is this? It’s a portion of his report, and this one, they’re trying to figure out what side I’m on. See, I have to be on a side. I have to have chosen a side here. “I mean, that’s just the way it works because Rush is talk radio. Talk radio is not a team. Talk radio’s just a bunch of idiots. So Rush has to have taken a side. What side did Rush take?” Anyway, here’s Major Garrett and how it started…
GARRETT: Trump did get some support from influential conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.
RUSH ARCHIVE: I got news for you: He is controlling the media, and it’s his objective. He is controlling the media. He controls the media when he’s not on it. He controls the media when he is on it. He controls the media when he’s asleep.
GARRETT: By Fox’s count, Trump has appeared on the network 132 times during the campaign, far more than inform his Republican rivals. Trump is now challenging the network’s well-defined role in the Republican nomination conversation.
RUSH: Right. So Trump got support from me? I wasn’t supporting Trump; I wasn’t criticizing Trump. I was simply explaining how all this, in my opinion, is happening. There are a lot of people, starting with the Republican establishment, who can’t figure this out. And a lot of other people as well. And they’re out there saying, “You can’t control him. You can’t tell the media what to do,” and he is. My point is, he is controlling the media wherever he goes and where he doesn’t go. No matter whether he’s awake or asleep. So now that ends up as, “Rush Limbaugh took Donald Trump’s side today on talk radio.”
Here’s MSNBC, the Today show today, correspondent Peter Alexander and his report on all this.
ALEXANDER: Rushing to Trump’s defense? Rush Limbaugh.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Donald Trump knows that by not showing up, he’s owning the entire event.
ALEXANDER: Our new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll just out says Trump has now catapulted back into being first place ahead of Ted Cruz in Iowa by seven points. His lead in New Hampshire is even wider, closer to 20 points. And remember that no non-incumbent Republican candidate has ever won both Iowa and New Hampshire.
RUSH: How is it…? All right. All right. How is it that stating the obvious has become partisan? All that was, was a statement of what’s obvious: Trump is controlling the media. By not showing up, he’s owning the entire event. That was reported as me rushing to Trump’s defense. Rushing to Trump’s defense? I’m simply repeating the obvious! And in addition to that, I was reacting to what some other people were out there saying. “You can’t control the media! Who does he think he is?” Hey, wake up, gang. He is controlling the media. That’s all it was.
“That’s not all it was, Rush. You’re taking Trump’s side. Everybody can hear it.”
Only a small mind who can’t get past horse-race thinking would even have that occur to him. Now, here’s John Heilemann. He and Mark Halperin, another couple here that are credited with some of the greatest brains in American political reporting. These are the guys that write books during the campaign. They learn all kinds of stuff that might affect people’s votes, but they don’t release any of it until after the election so that they can personally profit from it by selling their book. Fine. That’s how they do it. They are considered to be some of the sharpest minds in American political analysis.
So we start with Heilemann, who has to suggest here that what they’re doing is investigating what was said from “the far-right precincts of talk radio land.”
HEILEMANN: Speaking from the far right precincts of talk radio land, Rush Limbaugh said, quote, “In this business, one of the games is that when the media calls, you answer, and when the media wants you, you go. That’s the game. Trump is so far outside this game, he’s so far outside the rules. He’s never been a player in this game. He’s always been an outsider.”
RUSH: And I further said that it’s so far outside the game that people inside the game haven’t the slightest idea what he’s doing. They don’t know how he’s doing it, and it’s got them scared to death, because it’s so outside the formula. They don’t know how to deal with it. They’ve toyed with changing debate rules. They’ve toyed with changing the convention rules. They’ve toyed with trying to take Trump out during debates. They don’t know how to deal with it, because he’s so outside the game, the way this is always done.
Have you ever worked in a place, you’re new on the job, and somebody tells you to do something that seems crazy? “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Well, that’s American political party structure: “That’s the way we’ve always done it, and that’s the way we’re always gonna do it.” Because the power people, the elites, determine the way it’s always been done, the way it’s gonna continue to be done. Somebody comes along and challenges that? “Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah! You’re not welcome. We’re not even gonna like you.
“We’re not even gonna let you in the club.” The guy storms in the club then wins everything, makes it look like the guys running club, don’t have the slightest idea what they’re doing? It’s Panic City. Not one word of that is in support of Trump. I’m just telling you what’s going on. These guys, Halperin and Heilemann, are doing their own version of analysis. Here’s what Halperin says following Heilemann’s venture into “the far-right precincts of talk radio land.”
HALPERIN: My initial impulse was, it’s good for him: A moment of strength. He doesn’t need the debate. That means a lot of the debate will be about beating up Ted Cruz, and Trump does best, like most candidates, when he’s acting from his heart and his gut, and he was insulted by Fox News and doesn’t want to be part of they’re debate. Since then I’ve heard people — I was talking to one of the smartest people I know who covers politics, and he said, “This could be a big mistake.” I’m not convinced that this is a mistake. Iowans I think might under other circumstances mind.
RUSH: Did you hear that? Mark Halperin came out transporting Trump. Did you hear that? Let it ring across the country: Mark Halperin just sided with Donald Trump. An independent journalist who makes up his mind never, doesn’t announce, just endorsed Trump. (See? That’s how it works.) Now back to John Heilemann following that latest comment.
HEILEMANN: I think, by and large, the same thing that you think, which is that one day later — which has not happened — the world has not gonna come crashing down on his head. He’s being praised for being strong, and it is looking like Limbaugh said — I hate to find myself agreeing with Rush, but — he looks like he’s bigger than Fox News.
RUSH: They just can’t stand it. They just… (laughing) The arrogance. Only they… See, these guys have their own club, and I’m not welcome. Only they are allowed to do analysis. Only they are allowed to pontificate. Only they are allowed to be taken seriously. Here I come from “the far-right precincts of talk radio land.” (impression) “We can’t have that! This guy, Limbaugh, he’s an intruder. He’s not paid his dues. He didn’t go to college. He hasn’t written any stories, hasn’t written at any think tanks, hasn’t done a ham sandwich. He comes in and thinks he’s an expert? We’re not allowing that!”
That’s how I know this stuff works, folks.
RUSH: Anyway, there are I don’t know how many more sound bites like that from CNN and any number of places. Folks, it makes me uncomfortable to sit here and play these sound bites. These people are talking about what I’ve said when I’ve already said it, and you heard it yesterday. To sit here and have to come and correct them again when they’re never gonna get it right, it just all seemed like a waste of time to me, and it makes me nervous. (interruption) Yes? (interruption)
Now, see, Snerdley’s lobbying me. “You gotta keep going ’cause there’s a lot of new people tuning in. They hear your name talked about on CNN, they wonder what’s going on, and you gotta take advantage.” I understand that, but it is a quandary. I’m telling you — maybe a dilemma. But it is. To sit here and… We know they get things wrong. What’s obvious is they’re incapable of getting it right, is the thing. It’s a waste of time. Because they have their narrow vision in which they look at every political event.
When we’re talking about these people, it’s all about: Can they save Hillary Clinton? Whatever is happening on the Republican side, and wherever there are advocates for the Republican side — meaning anybody supports Trump, anybody supports Cruz, the so-called conservative media — these people out there in the so-called Drive-Bys or mainstream media are focused on one thing, and that is ultimately getting Hillary Clinton elected.
So when they endeavor to discuss people who are conservatives in politics, conservatives in media, there’s never an effort to get it right. There’s always an air of condescension and arrogance that is… It’s more and more obvious each and every day, and they’re very worried right now because Hillary seems to be falling apart.
Bernie Sanders is just skyrocketing now, and now Susan Sarandon has come out for Bernie. They can’t find any women in Hollywood for Hillary. The FBI thing is lurking out there, and there are a lot of people getting really, really nervous, particularly in the mainstream media and Democrat Party side as well, ’cause nothing’s going the way it was supposed to go there.
RUSH: All right, I polled the staff. The staff says, “We love it when the sound bites are about you.” Okay. Snerdley said, “You gotta! You gotta! You gotta! You gotta! There’s all kinds of new people tuning in. You don’t realize what’s happening out there, Rush. I mean, you are the sole focus. You gotta! You gotta!” Okay, okay. I get it. So we left off with John Heilemann after he had explained how uncomfortable it was to delve into the “far-right precincts of talk radio land,” and then ended up agreeing with what he heard me say — even though it pained him to realize that was happening.
We now go to CNN and Erin Burnett OutFront. Here is a portion of a report from Jim Acosta, and it’s along the same lines as everything you’ve heard up to now.
ACOSTA: It’s worth pointing out Donald Trump is finding an ally in Rush Limbaugh who said on his radio show today that Fox News is acting like it’s been jilted at the altar, and once again Trump has found a new way to dominate the coverage in this race for the GOP nomination. And talking to people in this conservative crowd, Erin, it is clear many here will be watching Trump tomorrow night, not Fox News.
RUSH: Look, don’t… Folks, I’m not hypersensitive about this being accused of finding — and I should know this well enough now not to be disappointed by it. As I say, I really dug deep yesterday in a serious effort to analyze and explain this. Because, as I said, everybody about whom I was going to speak yesterday is a friend to one degree or another. And it’s very, very hard to speak about people who are friends. It’s easier when you don’t know the people you’re talking about. But I can’t.
If I’m to meet the expectations you have here every day, I can’t let all of that cloud or dilute what I think or say. So everything that yesterday occurred under those auspices, if you will. And to hear it reduced… This is… Folks, you know, I told you yesterday why I don’t like doing TV; this is one of the reasons why. I spent… Now, I know that these clowns are not gonna listen for an hour or even 30 minutes, much less an hour and a half. I know they’re not gonna listen, period. I know that some producer is gonna find some 10-second clip and play it for them. “Oh, yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! Limbaugh is taking Trump’s side!”
That’s then gonna form and shape the entire evening’s coverage. I understand that. But I want to point this out because these are the people who claim to be in-depth analyzers, analysts with an in-depth understanding this stuff that you’re not capable of knowing ’cause you’re not close enough. And it’s clear that they’re not able to get beyond their narrow blinders here of the story is written before they even do it. They come up with what they want the story to be, they find the elements that they want to include in it to prove their contention.
If they have to cherry-pick, they do. All of this is known. None of it’s a surprise. But in itself, this is another bit of analysis and exposition of how these people do it. This is Acosta up next, a Little Brian Stelter, also at CNN. He’s their “media expert.” Brian Stelter is the media expert that tells everybody else how to understand what the media is doing. Not just CNN’s media, but every media. So Erin Burnett and Brian Stelter go back and forth about what it all meant yesterday…
STELTER: People are now choosing sides, with influential conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh siding with Trump, saying Fox is acting jilted.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Donald Trump knows that by not showing up he’s owning the entire event. Some guy not even present will end up owning the entire event.
STELTER: So who knows who more, Fox or Trump? Thursday’s ratings might start to answer that key question.
RUSH: “People are now choosing sides. Influential conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh siding with Trump, saying Fox is acting jilted.” Let me explain that again, for the newbies that Mr. Snerdley has referred to. And there are. We are getting tune-in factor to this program like you can’t believe. We’re growing here geometric proportions. And my point about being jilted was, Fox is gonna televise the debate, and it’s gonna be tonight, and one of the participants, one of the candidates says, “You know what? I’m not gonna debate. I’m not showing up.
“I don’t like one of your moderators. Your moderator is unfair to me.” Whatever reason he gives, he’s not showing up. And Fox acted like it was the end of the world, and they spent a lot of time that night analyzing what it all meant for them and why it was happening and so forth. And my only point was that… Well, I don’t know. This is tough, folks. It’s really tough. It’s easy for me to say. I’m not there. I don’t… There’s stuff going on other places of business that I’m not privy to and don’t know, obviously.
But if Donald Trump were scheduled to be here as a guest — which we don’t do. But if Trump were gonna be here as a guest and called and canceled, I wouldn’t devote the following three hours to, “Gee, I wish he was here! Why did he cancel? What does it mean for me and for this program?” I’d just go and do something else. Trump cancels, I say, “He said he was gonna be here, but he’s not.” Bam. Done it. Move on. But to devote all this time?
And I understand. There’s a new media today, and that is, “Make it about you, rather than what you’re covering in the news.” That just makes me nervous, as all of this is making me nervous. So that’s Little Brian. There’s more from Little Brian, we get to the next page. They happen to stick together. Ah, Erin Burnett herself. This is… You know, just play it. I don’t even know what it is before I air it, so here it is.
BURNETT: Rush Limbaugh had this to say about Trump’s decision today.
RUSH ARCHIVE: I got news for you: He is controlling the media, and it’s his objective. He is controlling the media. He controls the media when he’s not on it. He controls the media when he is on it. He controls the media when he’s asleep.
RUSH: That’s about the fourth time I’ve heard that clip. Obviously, this bugs ’em. Okay, so in all these… That’s the fourth time they have played that clip about how Trump owns the media. That scares all of them in the media, by the way, folks. That’s not supposed to happen. Nobody they cover (except the Kennedys) is supposed to be bigger than the media. They allowed the Kennedys to be bigger than the media, and some communists who they love. They loved Gorbachev. Gorbachev could do no wrong, for example.
But somebody like Trump is not supposed to control or own the media. They’re probably not happy that I was pointing it out, either. Here’s David “Rodham” Gergen. David “Rodham” Gergen also on CNN, same show, Erin Burnett. This is the guy you’d probably say does define whatever conventional wisdom in Washington is. If you want to know what the elites, the powerbrokers, the majority of the powerful in Washington think at a given moment, go ask David Gergen what’s on his mind, and you will find out.
GERGEN: I think that what Americans are looking for now — who are scared and anxious about the future — is somebody who is strong and decisive, and somebody who is willing to stand up to vested interests in this country and say, “Sometimes you get it wrong. And, you know, if you want to insult me, I’m not gonna walk into some setup on your debate.” This statement that they issued, the extraordinary statement that they issued, signaled that he was gonna be walking — very likely walking — into a setup. And why should he go timidly into that? Why shouldn’t he say, “Hey, wait a minute! If you go over the line, I’m not playing.”
RUSH: Well, David “Rodham” Gergen is using my exact line of thinking. I chose different words. I said, “In Trump’s mind, why should he give them the gun and the bullet and then go stand still as a target?” He’s got experience. He’s got intelligence. He knows what happened the last time.
Why put himself in front of it again? That’s all I was suggesting was the explanation for this. It’s not that he’s afraid of Megyn Kelly. It’s not that he’s afraid of anybody. It’s that, why should you put yourself in a circumstance where previously somebody tried to harm you? Why do it again? “Well, the rules say that you have to show up. You have to be bigger than the media. You have to take those assaults in the media.”
That’s the game. The media: if you’re gonna run for president you have to be able to take questions no matter what the question is. You are to respect it and you are to answer it, because if you can’t deal with the media, how can we trust you to deal with X, like Putin, or the ayatollah or Mao Tse-tung or the Castros or whoever you fill in the blank with. That’s always the way they do this. What, are you afraid of the media? You can’t handle a question from Megyn Kelly? You can’t handle a question from Sam Donaldson? Well, how you gonna deal with Mikhail Gorbachev? I’ve never thought that was a sensible way of looking at things.
The sensible way of looking at it is, why, whether you’re running for president, or whether you’re a CEO, or whether you’re just any average, ordinary, run-of-the-mill news maker from day to day, what is the sense in openly making yourself available to be ridiculed, impugned? If they’re going to do it anyway, and you show up in a format where you are, by definition of the rules, limited in how you can respond to it, why go there and be made to stand like a sitting duck? And because of the rules you have to play nice and be polite. They have all the cards. The media holds all the cards. They can say, do whatever they want, ask you any question, and the rules say you’re supposed to sit there and take it.
And all I’m pointing out is that Donald Trump is saying, “No, I am not gonna do that. That’s not smart. Read my book, The Art of the Deal. This is not how you get what you want.”