RUSH: I told you yesterday, Snerdley, I told you yesterday that my comments on Trump and the NFL were gonna be purposefully taken out of context. I told all of you they would be taken out of context. I told all of you I knew exactly what would happen. I mean, Snerdley walks in here before everybody had left yesterday and said it’s already happening. He showed me a story from TheHill.com where they left out a very crucial aspect of what I said because the Drive-Bys are eager to report that a staunch Trumpist like me might be breaking from Trump.
I’m not breaking from Trump. I didn’t indicate that I’m breaking from Trump, but they’re so desperate to report it. They’re so excited they even went out and found some Republican strategists on TV to confirm it, to tell me how brilliant I was as a means of trying to encourage me to keep breaking from Trump.
RUSH: So yesterday on the program, I admitted that something was making me nervous about the entire NFL situation. And remember when I finished it, Mr. Snerdley, I came back from a break, or maybe it was during the break, I asked you, “Did I make this clear?” ‘Cause I wasn’t sure that I had. And you said, “Perfectly crystal clear to me.” And when I went to RushLimbaugh.com, my website — I’m rarely misquoted on my own site, but it’s happened. Just kidding. I’m remembering where Charles Barkley said he was misquoted in his autobiography. Even the editors at The Limbaugh Letter got it right, at RushLimbaugh.com, got it right in terms of what I had said yesterday.
And the headline at the piece at the website was: “It’s NFL Owners’ Job — Not the President’s — to Control Their Employees.” That’s the point that I made yesterday. Now, my choice of words in the process, I admitted that there was an aspect of this that was beginning to make me nervous. And I don’t think I was clear enough about it, or maybe I was and people just had a knee-jerk and thought they heard something they didn’t hear, but they wanted to hear it, so they ran with what they wanted to hear, which was I was breaking from Trump on the NFL. (interruption) Well, you think that’s the word? Snerdley thinks it’s ’cause I used the word “dictatorial” when explaining all this. Maybe.
Let me try this again. The way this was being presented in the news — and that’s always what I react to, in addition to reacting to what’s really happened, I react to both phases of the story, because there are no two phases every story, what’s really happening, and there’s what’s reported to be happening. And the way it was reporting was — being reported was that Trump was going to force the players to no longer kneel, and Trump was going to force the players to stand.
Now, I know full well that there are people who are not as attentive to the news media and the way it works, and they see it or they read it, especially if they read it, and they think it’s true. Everybody does that. Everybody made that mistake. It’s almost human nature, you see it written, wherever, it could be written on some smut site on the website, but ’cause it’s written, you believe it. And if that’s is the way people were perceiving this to happen, that does make me nervous.
My point all along in this has been the NFL is the one botching this. The NFL doesn’t know what’s happening. The NFL misreads its audience. The NFL should have gotten hold of this way back during Kaepernick. The NFL, they’re the owners. They are the employers. They are the equity holders. They’re the people who own this business. Therefore, it’s their responsibility to have their employees behave in a way they choose, not the president’s.
I don’t want the president of the United States, whoever he is, to ever have the power to determine, particularly that any person is going to show allegiance to whatever the president demands. And I admitted yesterday that this makes me nervous. But it’s being reported “Trump thinks players should stand. Trump thinks players shouldn’t kneel, Trump thinks, Trump thinks.” The news reports are Trump thinks, Trump demands, Trump this, and if there is a result where the players no longer kneel, then I could see where people think, “Look what Trump did.”
Trump is pressuring the owners, as he should be, and he’s perfectly entitled to do that, and that doesn’t bother me. But he doesn’t have the power to make anybody do what he wants to do. All he can do is suggest. He can get close to demanding and he can threaten, but the actual bit about demanding it, being able to get away with it, we don’t want that on the part of any president or any elected leader. And that’s what I was being made nervous about was the way people were maybe perceiving this.
Now, it’s been written up that I am distancing myself from Trump as he pressures a business, and I’m not. If Trump wants to pressure the owners to do what he thinks is the right thing, that’s one thing. But if Trump has the power or the ability to make them, well, that’s another. And that’s not what’s going on here. The power of persuasion is much different than the power to dictate. Trump is using the power of persuasion, and he is very effective at it, and it doesn’t hurt that a vast majority of Americans agree with him.
There’s a story here from The Daily Caller: “Trump Voters Hate The NFL More Than Clinton Voters Hate Fox News.” Did you see this? “A New York Times analysis Wednesday of daily polling shows that Donald Trump voters view the National Football League more unfavorably than Hillary Clinton voters feel about Fox News. The NFL has a negative 24 percent net favorability among Trump voters, while Fox News has a negative 14 percent net favorability among Clinton voters.”
Now, there’s another story in this Stack here. This kind of surprised me a little bit too. The NFL — and this, again, is from the New York Times. It’s part of that same research. “The NFL Is Now One of the Most Divisive Brands in the U.S. — About three weeks ago — before President Trump said that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem –” He never required them to. He never demanded that they do. He said that they should fire them.
“– Democrats and Republicans held relatively similar views about the league. About 60 percent said they viewed it favorably, while about 20 percent said they viewed it unfavorably, according to daily online surveys conducted by Morning Consult, a polling, media and technology company. Since Mr. Trump’s remarks, though, many of his supporters have changed their attitudes.
“Trump voters are now much more likely to say that they view the NFL negatively, reflecting a sharp change around Sept. 23, when Mr. Trump criticized the players at a speech in Alabama. The views of Hillary Clinton voters have not changed appreciably over the last few weeks.”
But moving on to this polarization business, I have here the top 15 most polarizing brands and companies measured by Morning Consult net favorability. Net favorability is you ask somebody, favorable or unfavorable? New York Times. And they get their numbers. And the net favorability is what’s the majority that are in favor of this business or what’s the net infavorability, as it turns out.
The most polarizing brands and companies as measured by Morning Consult — and this is survey research — Trump hotels. Clinton voters, 52% disapprove. Trump voters, 48% approve. The difference is plus 99 Republicans, percent. CNN is the second most polarizing brand. Fifty-four percent Clinton voters like it. Twenty-eight percent — here we go with charts again. Forget the numbers here because numbers on radio are just confusing and they’re confusing to me anyway in charts.
The bottom line is that CNN is the second most polarizing brand and company in America. Now, this is a news network that purports even today to be unbiased and right down the middle and they don’t taint the news. I mean, you hear them talk. They blanch at any suggestion that they’re biased. But they’re not fooling anybody. This is not good. If you’re a news business, you don’t want to be polarizing.
NBC News is number three, third most polarizing brand and company. Number four, the New York Times. Number five, MSNBC. Number six, Fox News. Number seven, the NFL. Number eight, Chick-fil-A. Number 12, the Fox Business Network. Number 13, the Breitbart website. Number 15 is NBC Sports. I don’t know what 14 is. Maybe there’s a tie in there. Yeah, there’s a couple of ties.
Some of the other brands are not known. But other than Trump, four out of the top five most polarizing brands in America are left-wing oriented news organizations: CNN, NBC, New York Times, MSNBC. Fox News number six, and then the NFL. Which means the NFL is now among the nation’s most divisive brands. They don’t want to be anywhere near this. The NFL doesn’t want to be a polarizing outfit. Polarizing means — in certain businesses like mine, polarization’s great, ’cause I stake positions.
The Rush Limbaugh program is said to have perfect polarization in terms of marketing. Perfect polarization means nobody is ambivalent. You either love this program, you really love it, you love it more than anything, or you like it. And then over here is two or three percent that hate it. But nobody says, “Eh, I don’t know. I don’t care.” Nobody says that about this program. That’s called perfect polarization.
Now, everybody wants to be loved by everybody. That’s human nature. Nobody sets out to be hated. Nobody is raised to be hated. Everybody’s raised to be loved. Everybody’s raised to be loved by everybody. Everybody is raised to make sure everybody likes you. And yet a lot of people end up being polarizing figures. So they have to learn to adjust psychologically to being hated and despised. It took me four years to learn to take all that as a sign of success. It’s a very odd thing to have to learn to do.
The NFL doesn’t want to be anywhere near this. NFL doesn’t want to be polarizing. This is what I mean about them not understanding their audience. The players are creating the polarization. The people that play the game are the ones causing the problems. And the people that own the business seemingly don’t have the balls to tell ’em to stop it, that they are hurting the business. They seem more interested in making sure everybody knows that we feel our players had the right to freedom of speech and self-expression and to express their grievances.
Fine, but don’t let ’em do it on a stage you own because you’re only hurting your business. You’re allowing them to hurt the business. And this is what Trump has said. Nobody else was saying it until Trump started. People were just tuning it out. You could make an argument Trump is actually trying to save this business by getting this line of criticism going. I don’t know if he was actually trying to do that. I’m just saying you could say that based on what’s happening now. But if you give Commissioner Goodell or any of these other people a chance, they wouldn’t want to be offending any. They’d want everybody to love the NFL. They don’t want to the NFL to be associated with polarization. Neither does Kellogg’s. Neither does General Motors.
Anybody who sells anything to anybody does not want to limit the market by polarizing it. And yet the news networks are leading the league in polarization. If they could wave a magic wand and put themselves on this list or not on it, they wouldn’t be anywhere near it. And they could do better. CNN could, but they won’t make the change necessary. The NFL could get themselves off this list. This is the whole point. But they apparently aren’t willing to do it.
So Trump comes along, says what he says, focuses attention on it, the commissioner and the owners get their backing arched, “You can’t tell us what to do.” In defiance they continue to let the players harm the business. And it keeps on, and it keeps on, and it gets worse, and finally now commissioner has sent a memo to the league saying, “Hey, could you do what you could to make sure everybody stands up?” This is an because Trump has mandated it. It’s not because Trump has dictated it. It is because Trump has raised consciousness and awareness about it to where the commissioner and the owners realize they have to do something about this, and if they don’t, it’s gonna continue to get worse.
In the midst of all this there are numerous stories and now sound bites of how I am splitting with Trump because I don’t like dictators, when Trump hasn’t dictated anything. But look, I understand why they’re saying it, because I’m not comfortable with the idea that people think Trump was going to be able to get players fired or make them behave the way he wanted to for whatever reasons. But if Trump can pressure the people that run that business to do what’s right, that’s a whole different thing. But if he can mandate they do it, no way.
All I was saying was that I was getting nervous about the possibility that people were perceiving it this way and might end up supporting it. This is the kind of stuff we opposed throughout the Clinton years and the Obama years, with all of his executive orders and all of these waivers on Obamacare, for example, for his donors and so, the way he had these giant spending bills calls stimuluses, which didn’t stimulate anything, it was just money sent out to his union buddies. A growing, expansive power of the federal government, I don’t care what happens, I’m never gonna be in favor of that, because no good comes from it.
RUSH: I’ve got the sound bites where all these people in the Drive-Bys — including Neil Cavuto now — are claiming that I am breaking with Trump on this. Cavuto! Here. Before we get… Paul, hang on. He’s in Cape Coral, Florida. Grab sound bite 26. This just this afternoon on the Fox Business Network.
CAVUTO: It isn’t skewing exactly to political lines. Rush Limbaugh — I think a pretty conservative fellow — is uncomfortable with the president inserting himself in what NFL owners should be doing or saying.
RUSH: No, I’m not.
CAVUTO: If I got the gist of that right, but that this is going too far.
RUSH: (big sigh)
CAVUTO: So what is the happy medium here? I know Commissioner Goodell is meeting with all the owners, I believe, next week.
RUSH: I… (sigh) See, none of this is right. I knew that I had not made myself clear yesterday. I knew it! I knew the minute I finished that it was gonna be too easy for somebody to distort it. I was speaking in the generic sense about something that is specific, and they took my generic comments and attached it to something specific, which distorts my meaning. All I said was I’m getting nervous at some of the ways this is reported, the way it’s perceived, the way it’s going. But I did not say that I was uncomfortable with the president inserting himself “with the owners.” I did not say I thought the president was going too far with the owners.
RUSH: Bob in Hamilton, Virginia. Great that you called. Welcome to the program, sir.
CALLER: I’m a 10-year listener.
CALLER: I think you’re one of the smartest guys ever. And your comments bother me. This is the first time I’ve heard you overreach in your opinions in that Donald Trump’s comments could be construed as the government coming down on private business and influencing private business, and you’re worried about that. Am I correct?
RUSH: I just didn’t say this correctly. It’s abundantly clear here that I tried to mix a generic policy philosophy I have with a specific event, and they don’t go together. What I was trying to say was — and I did not make this clear yesterday — the way all of this is being reported is that Trump is dictating to the players and the league that the days of kneeling and squatting or whatever during the anthem are over and they’re gonna start standing up. And people started reacting to it. And I just, in a philosophical, overarching, generic sense, it makes me nervous if people support and think a president should have that amount of detailed power —
RUSH: — over people’s behavior. Trump has not told the players they must stand or else. He has tried to pressure the officials in the league and the owners to man up and do the right thing. He has not mandated that they do it. He has strongly suggested it, and in the process, created overwhelming public support for his position here, which, it’s working. That’s why Goodell sent the memo yesterday.
CALLER: Yes. I agree with you. What you originally said, which prompted my call, is that you were worried that Trump’s comments were the government trying to dictate the behavior of private business.
RUSH: I was thinking private individuals, ’cause I’ve got no problem with Trump pressuring, not dictating. I’ve got no problem with Trump telling Goodell what he thinks he’s doing wrong.
CALLER: But you used the term “the government dictating.”
RUSH: Yes, “dictate” is the term I used to because I don’t want it to get to that. Look, I just obviously — I knew when I finished, I asked Snerdley if I was clear on this, and Snerdley, in pure supportive fashion, said yes. But I just knew.
RUSH: Let me just make it as simple as I can: I do not think Trump is acting as a dictator. I don’t care what the Drive-Bys distorting what I tried to say yesterday are saying — you feel free to respond on social media that people saying that are full of it and to go to hell. In no way, shape, manner, or form. Jeez.