Sep 1 1994

More Inaccuracy and Irrationality From Rush Limbaugh

If You Remember the 60’s…You’re Not Rush Limbaugh

LIMBAUGH: “The liberals sit out there and suggest, as Vic Fazio did, that it is the radical right that’s acting in a stealth manner. And the Christians and the religious right are about to take over America. Note that Mr. Fazio probably had no trouble with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King when he entered the political fray. The Democrats had no trouble with the Berrigan brothers during the Vietnam War era, and they were priests. The Democrats had no trouble with Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman entering the political fray and running the Students for a Democratic Society. In short, Democrats have never had any problem with liberal religious people being involved in politics.” (Radio, 7/11/1994)

REALITY: Where to begin? Rep. Vic Fazio probably didn’t have any trouble with Martin Luther King’s entering the political fray–he was 12 at the time of the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott that brought King to national prominence. But Democrats certainly had a problem with King: He was wiretapped by President John Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Federal harassment of King intensified under Democratic President Lyndon Johnson.

“The Democrats had no trouble with the Berrigan brothers”? In fact, the brothers gained national attention through highly publicized protests against Johnson’s Vietnam policies.

Neither Jerry Rubin nor Abbie Hoffman were religious leaders. They ran the Yippies, which was not connected to SDS. And no serious observer of the 1960s could claim that “the Democrats had no trouble” with the Yippies, who were most famous for their demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

“This Kind of Thing Goes on All the Time

LIMBAUGH: Responding to comments by AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland following the passage of NAFTA: “Lane Kirkland was asked, ‘You mean you’re going to take action to help the [opposition]?’ ‘Oh no no no. I’m not going to do that. But you can do damage by not doing anything.’ That’s vote suppression. Isn’t it?… I mean, they’re trying to nail Republicans and Ed Rollins to the wall, and they’re trying to decertify Christie Whitman’selection, and here’s Lane Kirkland, brilliant man, chairman [sic] of the AFL-CIO, talking about how, ‘Well, we just won’t do anything,’ and ‘Hey, that hurts too.’ So there you have it, a tantamount admission to vote suppression and an indication that this kind of thing goes on all the time.” (TV, 1/28/94)

REALITY: Limbaugh is comparing Kirkland’s threat–that the AFL-CIO would not work for candidates who voted for NAFTA–to Ed Rollins’ claim that he had paid black religious leaders to not get out the vote in the 1993 New Jersey election. One is politics; the other, if Rollins hadn’t retracted his claim, would be a crime.

Man of the People

LIMBAUGH: “All of these rich guys–like the Kennedy family and Perot–pretending to live just like we do and pretending to understand our trials and tribulations and pretending to represent us, and they get away with this.” (TV, 1/28/1994)

REALITY: Limbaugh biographer Paul Colford estimates that Limbaugh’s earnings in 1994 will top $18 million (Newsday, 8/4/94).

Lyin’ King

LIMBAUGH: “On April 23, 1994, a woman named Barbara Schoener, 40 years old, was killed by an 82-pound mountain lion in El Dorado County, California…. She has two kids and a husband. The collection fund had been started for a trust fund for the kids and their education, but at the same time a companion fund had been started by a bunch of animal rights activists for the orphaned lion cubs…. As of May 23, the orphaned mountain lion had received $21,000 in donations and Barbara Schoener’s two kids had received around $9,000.” (TV, 7/5/94)

REALITY: Long after this story got debunked, Limbaugh continued to repeat it. On May 31, Folsom City Zoo offical Terry Jenkins sent a letter to Limbaugh correcting an earlier broadcast: “There has never been a ‘trust fund for the kitten’ as you reported, nor any other fundraising efforts by the zoo or anyone else (with the exception of $36 raised by the coffee store across the street). There certainly have not been any ‘animal rights people’ deciding to set one up as you claim they have.” ABC‘s 20/20 debunked the story on June 4, with Barbara Walters concluding: “Unsolicited public donations have come in for the cub, but so far they total less than $3,000, so people do care more about children than cubs.” Yet more than a month later, Limbaugh was still sticking with his distorted version.