Rush Limbaugh

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RUSH: Last week I neglected — I was just overwhelmed with so much news, quote, unquote, given my length of number of days gone here — former guest host on this program, the hilarious and brilliant economist from George Mason University, Walter Williams, passed away. They think that it was a heart attack. I was informed by my old buddy from the UC Davis economics group in Sacramento — well, Davis, California, the Sacramento market — Professor Hazlett, who was a good friend of Walter Williams. He sent me a note informing me. It was a letdown.

He was a funny guy. He was fearless. He was born at a perfect time for him to be alive, given what he believed, and he was a seminal figure in the advancement of Reaganomics, the central premise of free market economics. He was invaluable. And we were very fortunate to be able to get him as a guest host on this program. He was one of the few who made it, who was not a broadcaster. You understand how tough that is to do?

And, by the way, I have to tell you, one of my big bugaboos about all of broadcasting — and I’m gonna date myself here — is how the increasing number of people hired have no experience in broadcasting at all. I mean, it’s true in cable TV. It’s true in cable news. It’s true in radio. And there’s no stopping it now because there are so many networks and stations and outlets that you gotta get the people from somewhere. And so people have found their way, in some cases, to the highest levels of broadcasting never having done it before.

And then you have people like me who sweated and slaved for 40 years in little trash markets — I’m sorry. Not trash — tiny markets. You know, you go out there, and you sweat and slave, and you work two shows a day, and you do all this stuff, and even then you haven’t proven yourself to ’em. And after doing all that, here come people who’ve never done it before, and they got hired and some of them work out and some of them don’t. But look. I’ve rid myself of that point of view, because it’s impossible to maintain it now.

You know, Howard Cosell had a name for this in sports. He called it the jockocracy, meaning people that have never been behind a microphone get hired to do commentary, analysis on game broadcasts. He was really talking about ex-players hired in the ABC Monday Night Football booth, really bugged the hell out of him, and I understood why. You know, people in broadcasting sweat and slave and they put in all kinds of hours, and they just work incredibly difficult conditions, like anybody else that’s an apprentice and moving up. And it overtook Cosell and his position in the business and it overtook me.

I have modernized. And that’s why Walter Williams — you don’t know how tough it was for me to sign off on this. They said, “We think Walter Williams would be good.”

I said, “On what basis?”

“Well, he’s got some really great economic ideas that pretty much parallel yours.”

I said, “That’s not how we hire guest hosts.”

“Well, we think he’d be really good.”

I said, “Okay. I’ll go along for a test.” And Walter Williams passed the test. It was a sad thing to hear of his passing, and I meant to mention it on Friday.

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