What They Did to Newt
LIMBAUGH: “Look what they did to Newt. Newt didn’t even say it. But people called my radio show today thinking Newt Gingrich predicted a stock market crash by December 15. That’s because of the way the press is reporting it…. This is the best example I can give you to show you the unfairness, the bias and the disparity that exists in reporting the truth with the mainstream press coming out of Washington.” (TV, 12/5/95)
REALITY: This is Limbaugh’s “best example”? An extensive search of online databases found no stories reporting that House Speaker Gingrich had predicted a stock market crash by December 15. Instead, several reported what Gingrich had said: that if the budget was not balanced, “you will see interest rates skyrocket and the stock market crash.” (New York Daily News, 12/6/95) Limbaugh offered no evidence that any news outlet had misreported the story, but that didn’t stop him from proclaiming, “Lo and behold, as usual I’m right,” before airing a videotape that showed Gingrich not predicting a Dec. 15 crash.
LIMBAUGH: Comparing spending on entitlements to military spending: “Social Security alone would make three military budgets.” (radio, 12/13/95)
REALITY: In 1995, according to the Office for Management and Budget, the U.S. spent $291 billion on the military. Three times $291 billion is $873 billion. Social Security in 1995, according to OMB, cost $362 billion.
When He Was a Boy…
LIMBAUGH: Limbaugh enumerated some of the changes the world has seen since the birth of his 104-year-old grandfather: “When he was born–I mean, we look at things that have happened since he was born. Electricity’s been invented, the automobile was invented, the mule as a means of plowing the field vanished.” (TV, 12/27/95)
REALITY: Limbaugh was combining two of his worst subjects: science and history. The first commercial use of electricity, the telegraph, began in 1843–almost 50 years before Limbaugh’s grandfather was born in 1891. Edison invented his electric light bulb in 1879, and 1881 saw the first practical electric railway (Electrical Construction & Maintenance, 5/91). The first steam- powered automobile was invented in 1769, while gasoline-powered models were introduced in 1885 (Automotive Engineering, 6/90).
A “Stupid, Worthless, Little Book” I’ve Never Heard of
LIMBAUGH: Appearing on WABC radio (12/6/95) with Bob Grant, Lynn Samuels and other hosts from that station, Limbaugh participated in this exchange:
Lynn Samuels: Very good, Rush!
Bob Grant: This is the same guy that calls and hammers away on the same theme, wants to know when you’re going to have Steve Rendall of FAIR….
Limbaugh: I’ve never heard of him.
Samuels: Or that book, right?
Limbaugh: I’ve not heard of this guy. I’m vaguely aware that there are some people who are attacking my credibility, and if–I notice that none of them are attacking my credibility on my stance on the substance of the issues–and this, I just take this as a testament to my effectiveness and also an attempt like so many others to hop on my back to sell their stupid, worthless little book on the benefit of my name.
VERSUS LIMBAUGH:Limbaugh is “vaguely aware that there are some people who are attacking my credibility”? Limbaugh put out a 37-page diatribe called “Limbaugh Responds to FAIR.” He has repeatedly attacked FAIR on his radio show, and showed a copy of one of our advertisements on his TV program (7/6/94). Maybe he was trying to use FAIR’s name to sell his talkshows.