Media Matters for America today launched an aggressive television ad campaign spotlighting highly controversial comments on the torture of Iraqi prisoners made by Rush Limbaugh, the political commentator with the largest radio listenership in the U.S. The 30-second ad contrasts the Bush Administration's denunciation of Iraqi prisoner torture with Limbaugh's May 4th statements comparing the torture to a college fraternity prank and people 'having a good time.'
VOICEOVER: 'SECRETARY RUMSFELD CALLED THE TORTURE OF IRAQIS SADISTIC...CRUEL...'
RUMSFELD: 'FUNDAMENTALLY UN-AMERICAN.'
VOICEOVER: 'BUT HERE'S WHAT RUSH LIMBAUGH SAID:'
LIMBAUGH: 'THIS IS NO DIFFERENT THAN WHAT HAPPENS AT THE SKULL & BONES INITIATION...I'M TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE HAVING A GOOD TIME. THESE PEOPLE -- YOU EVER HEARD OF EMOTIONAL RELEASE? YOU EVER HEARD OF NEEDING TO BLOW SOME STEAM OFF?'
VOICEOVER: 'THIS IS THE MOST LISTENED-TO POLITICAL COMMENTATOR IN AMERICA?'
'We first posted reports of Limbaugh's comments to our website, www.mediamatters.org,' said David Brock, president and CEO of Media Matters for America. 'His radio show reaches 20 million Americans each week, with many of these listeners considering him a legitimate news source. We are running the ad to spotlight whether Rush Limbaugh is a credible source of information.'
Media Matters for America's ad will run for four days in the Washington, DC area on major cable networks including CNBC, CNN, ESPN, FOX News and MSNBC.
May 3, 2004 - Limbaugh likens the photos to 'anything you'd see Madonna, or Britney Spears do on stage.'
May 5, 2004 - Limbaugh claims 'the reaction to the stupid torture is an example of the feminization of this country.'
May 6, 2004 - Limbaugh calls the torture a 'brilliant maneuver' and the photos 'good old American pornography.'
May 10, 2004 - Limbaugh mimics barking in describing a photo of a nude Iraqi prisoner terrorized by vicious guard dogs [later announces that he was incorrect in asserting that the prisoner had not actually been attacked].
May 11, 2004 - Limbaugh equates brutal sodomizing of Iraqi prisoners to the 'cigar in the Oval Office.'