RUSH: There’s a guy out there — I have often praised this guy on this program. He’s an author. His name is Brian Rosenwald, and he wrote a book, Talk Radio’s America. And I have to tell you, his book came the closest of all the books that have been written by somebody other than me, his book came the closest to understanding how this show began, why it began, what its purpose was, how we define success, why it’s successful, how it succeeded. He came the closest. And I said so.
Well, he’s losing ground. Unfortunately he’s losing ground. He appeared on CNN, Michael Smerconish had the guy on as a guest over the weekend. I got two sound bites here. The question to Brian Rosenwald, “If Donald Trump were able to do talk radio –” they’re all obsessed now that Trump said he wanted to do a talk radio show but he wouldn’t because of me.
You know what I think that was, honestly, can I be quite honest with you folks? People don’t know Donald Trump the way I do. And Donald Trump’s not afraid of competing with anybody, folks. He’s not afraid of competition. He didn’t decide not to do a talk radio show because of any fear of competing with me. He calls me once a week just to check how I’m feeling.
I think it was — if I may be so bold — I’ve not talked to him about it other than to tell him here, “Come on anytime. We’d be glad to have you. You want one hour, two hours, you want to guest host the whole day, come on.” I’m gonna call him, tell him we need to do a town hall. He needs to come on this program and not televise it. It’s gonna be a town hall with you, not a bunch of experts on stage. It’s gonna be you calling this program asking him questions and him answering them. And we’ll tightly screen it.
But that’s my idea. I think it’d be great, and it’s radio only. We’ll have a Dittocam, but even that, the logistics of this, we’d probably have to go to the White House. He’s not gonna come here, particularly now, just to appear on this program. There’s no reason to come to Florida anyway ’cause he’s closing Mar-a-Lago for the season. It closes I think either the day after Easter, or the day after Mother’s Day. Either way, we’d have to do a remote link where he’s on an equalized line at the White House and I’m here.
But it would be radio only. That would be the magic of it. No television camera. No simulcast on cable news. We may videotape it for later broadcast, but the live broadcast would be radio only. It would be one hour or two, whatever he has time for, and it would be strictly a town hall with me moderating and you having a chance to ask him questions about the coronavirus or anything else.
But I actually think that Trump saying that he wanted to do a talk radio show but then rejected it because of fear of competing, I think it was just a tribute, folks. He calls me once a week to check on me, to see how I’m doing, and I know he’s not afraid of anything, number one. He’s not afraid of reporters and tough questions.
He’s not afraid of competing, why would he be? He’s run for the presidency and won. He beat 16 Republicans. He beat Hillary Clinton. He’s not afraid of anything. I think he was just being a class guy, a class act, which is why I responded in humor by saying we’d be happy to give him an audition. Everybody knows he doesn’t need an audition. He has passed the media test over and over again.
Anyway, back to this Brian Rosenwald. Everybody’s fascinated with Trump saying he was gonna do radio but decided not to. So Smerconish says, “Look, if Trump were to do talk radio, it would complete the story, bring full the circle the whole tale of how he was elected, ’cause, as you know, Trump dipped his toe in the water back in ’88, didn’t run in ’88, ’92, ’96. But the timing was right in 2016 largely because, you argue in your book, the table had been set by a politicization of the media?”
ROSENWALD: That’s absolutely right, Michael. If you don’t get Rush Limbaugh, if you don’t get talk radio, I don’t think you get Donald Trump. Because the political norms in 1988 were such that you couldn’t have Donald Trump. You know, all the comments where he gets himself in trouble every single day — the liberate tweets yesterday, things like that — that was no-go in 1988. Now it fits the style of talk radio, of cable news, of being entertaining, of being incendiary, of voicing the sentiments that his base feels but don’t feel like they can say. That’s what Donald Trump does so well, and that’s what talk radio does so well.
RUSH: Okay. So that answer is not too bad. Rosenwald, he understands what happens on the program, why it happens. It’s his view that, without this show, Trump wouldn’t have been able to become president. A lot of people in the media think that. Uh… (chuckles) I don’t know. I never go there. These people can think that if they want, but Trump ran for office.
Did he run for office because of the success of talk radio, or did he run for office because he thought he could win in 2016? Did he think he could win because of talk radio? I don’t think it was a factor in his mind. But who will know? The idea that his voters were set up to accept somebody like that? That could be a relevant point. Now, let’s see.
Just one more. Smerconish says, “So the people are clear, your book is really an analysis of the growth of this industry, the influence that it had. It’s not a hit job on Rush. You speak glowingly of his entertainment chops, but you do acknowledge and argue that it’s had a destructive influence on America’s dialogue.”
ROSENWALD: Part of what’s gone on with Rush Limbaugh, with talk radio is, first of all, the running down the mainstream media and the running down of experts. A moment when maybe more than any other in my life, we need people to trust the Dr. Birxes and the Dr. Faucis, and we need them to trust the experts and stay home, there is a doubt. People doubt them and they doubt the mainstream media, and they’re wary that people are just out to destroy Donald Trump. So that’s toxic!
RUSH: We’re not worried about it. We know it! It’s not something we’re worried about. It’s not something we’re suspicious about. We know it. We don’t deny history! The last four years have been devoted to destroying Donald Trump. I just addressed my whole attitude on expertise from the Democrat political wing in Washington. In fact, I think the source of expertise obviously has come from Harvard and Yale, the Ivy League academia.
And I think it’s been uncompetitive and unchallenged. I think they’re turning out idiots left and right. They’re turning out cookie cutters. They’re turning out people that do not dress differently, do not think differently. They’re turning out people who behave and think identically. They’re turning out people who are not curious. They’re turning out conformists.
They’re turning out people who want to be part of the club saying and doing whatever it is that you have to be. So you have somebody like me who comes along who challenges them. I think if there’s anything I have been validated in, it is challenging and questioning the honesty, the objectivity that the media claims they have. I don’t think there’s any question.
The idea that we should just sit back and accept whatever they say for whatever conformity reasons? Balderdash. Balderdash. We didn’t… Whatever the experts say? Why should we do this, just unquestioningly sitting around and believing and accepting what the authorities say? Somehow this undermines…? I think it’s the exact opposite.