Limbaugh on Media Matters: "[Y]ou're going to have to learn not to be baited when I'm baiting you"

››› ››› ADAM SERWER

On the April 25 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, host Rush Limbaugh again claimed that the "Media Matters people fell for it, and the drive-by media fell for it, and this is a perfect illustration of what I was talking about on that day," referring to his recent statement that Cho Seung-Hui, the Virginia Tech gunman, "had to be a liberal." Media Matters documented both Limbaugh's April 19 statement that Cho "had to be a liberal" and his subsequent observation that "[n]ow the drive-bys will read on a website that I'm attacking liberalism by comparing this guy to them" (Limbaugh regularly refers to mainstream media outlets as "the drive-by media"). On April 23, Limbaugh similarly claimed that "Media Matters fell for it hook, line, and sinker. They had it up all over the place," adding: "I was making a joke. ... Although I do believe that it was liberalism that got a hold of this guy and made him hate things, professors and this sort of thing."

During the April 25 broadcast, Limbaugh directly addressed "you people at Media Matters," and advised: "[Y]ou're going to have to learn not to be baited when I'm baiting you, because you end up illustrating and proving exactly what I'm saying." Limbaugh later made reference to "these little nerdlings out there that are monitoring their radios in the post-Imus era. And they're looking for any -- any shred of evidence that could make me the next to get his butt kicked off of major American airwaves." Referring to his April 16 comments, Limbaugh declared "the people that are raising all this hell don't listen. They get it second- and third-hand, out of context, and they're out there as an army trying to create this stink," before adding, "It's just funny to chronicle it all. Particularly the supposed controversy over my calling the guy at Virginia Tech a liberal. What controversy? Everybody that listens to this show agrees with me, so how can you possibly have controversy there?" Limbaugh has repeatedly accused Media Matters of taking him out of context. In fact, when highlighting Limbaugh's on-air statements, Media Matters provides transcript and audio of his statements.

Further, in reaction to news that ABC's The View co-host Rosie O'Donnell was leaving the show after contract disagreements with the network, Limbaugh stated: "I'm telling you, the deal was about the dog biscuits that they gave her on the floor in the dressing room were just the wrong flavor. They couldn't come to an agreement on the flavor of the Ken-L Ration that she eats," before presumably attempting to predict the content of a Media Matters post on the subject: "Rush Limbaugh today inspired controversy by referring to Rosie O'Donnell as a woman who eats dog food. Why would that be?"

In addition, Limbaugh repeated false claims about Media Matters, stating "these watchdog websites that are bought and paid for by the Democrat [sic] Party and the Clinton machine, in the case of Media Matters." Media Matters is a progressive nonprofit organization unaffiliated with any political party or campaign.

From the April 25 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: They did not get to the actual demonstration that was foisted upon me unwittingly. Now, do you remember back Thursday, April the 19th? We're talking about the massacre at Virginia Tech. And -- well, here's what I said. We'll go back to the audio sound bites. We'll just play this, because I want to tell you, it worked. The Media Matters people fell for it, and the drive-by media fell for it, and this is a perfect illustration of what I was talking about on that day. And what this illustration was about -- the critics of this program do not listen to it. They go to these watchdog websites that are bought and paid for by the Democrat [sic] Party and the Clinton machine, in the case of Media Matters. And that's where they get what I said. And then they take it and they run with it as though some giant controversy has arisen when there is no controversy. There was no controversy when I said what I said. Here is the first part of this illustration.

[begin audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: If this Virginia Tech shooter had an ideology, what do you think it was? This guy had to be a liberal. You start railing against the rich, and all -- this guy's a liberal. He was turned into a liberal somewhere along the line. So it's a liberal that committed this act.

Now, the drive-bys will read on a website that I'm attacking liberalism by comparing this guy to them. That's exactly what they do every day, ladies and gentlemen. I'm just pointing out a fact. I am making no extrapolation. I'm just pointing it out. They try to -- whenever -- I can tell you from the history of this program starting way back in the early '90s, when there was any kind of an incident -- crime or what-have-you -- that attracted national attention, in the early days of this program, the drive-by media went out and they tried to connect the perpetrator to this program. They did everything they could -- in fact, it went so far as Bill Clinton blaming me for influencing Timothy McVeigh to blow up the Bureau Building [sic: Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City]. These are the people sponsoring lies and distortion for the purposes of dividing this country and creating hatred.

There's just double standards all over the place, folks. I'm telling you, I'm fed up with listening to who it is that's supposedly coarsening the culture when I watch it on television every day, and I read it on obscure websites every day. These are the people that write books about how to assassinate George W. Bush.

[end audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: Sure enough! Sure enough, folks, the drive-by media -- national and local -- across the fruited plain, running with the story "Limbaugh calls Cho a liberal."

[begin audio clip]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Political pundit Rush Limbaugh's under fire for this remark, claiming Cho's envy of wealthy students means he was a liberal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rush Limbaugh stirring up controversy about the Virginia Tech massacre. Limbaugh said it had to be a liberal who committed such an act.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rush Limbaugh appeared to blame liberals for the shooting, claiming that the assailant just must have been one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is controversy this morning over comments talk show host Rush Limbaugh made about the Virginia Tech shootings.

LIMBAUGH: [interjecting] No, there wasn't!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Limbaugh was pondering what the shooter's ideology must have been and said that he, quote, "had to be a liberal."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After Don Imus, I think -- what radio commentator should want to do that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not this one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rush Limbaugh now created a lot of controversy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rush Limbaugh just said that this guy who killed all those kids at Virginia Tech was a liberal!

[end audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: Is this not the greatest thing?! They fell for it, hook, line and sinker! This illustrates exactly what I was talking about last Thursday about the way all this stuff happens. The point is, there was no controversy. There was no controversy on this program. There was no eruption on this program Thursday or Friday -- not until yesterday when the drive-bys heard about it, three or four days after the fact, and then they dreamed -- the only controversy is with them, because they think I called them out. I mean -- you people at Media Matters, you're going to have to learn not to be baited when I'm baiting you, because you end up illustrating and proving exactly what I'm saying.

[...]

LIMBAUGH: But what it all means, folks, is that there are these little nerdlings out there that are monitoring their radios in the post-Imus era. And they're looking for any -- any shred of evidence that could make me the next to get his butt kicked off of major American airwaves. But it isn't going to happen, because everything here has a political point. It bounces off something -- somebody else, especially our parodies and so forth. But it's -- it's illustrative of what I mentioned to you when we first started talking about this. And that is that the people that are raising all this hell don't listen. They get it second- and third-hand, out of context, and they're out there as an army trying to create this stink. But it won't work. It's just funny to chronicle it all, particularly the supposed controversy over my calling the guy at Virginia Tech a liberal. What controversy? Everybody that listens to this show agrees with me, so how can you possibly have controversy there?

[...]

LIMBAUGH: You know, the problem for ABC was that the ratings on that program had improved, and so that became the question. That became their dilemma. But no, this -- the contract issue is -- and you'll be hearing that. That Rosie -- we couldn't come to a deal. I'm telling you, the deal was about the dog biscuits that they gave her on the floor in the dressing room were just the wrong flavor. They couldn't come to an agreement on the flavor of the Ken-L Ration that she eats. So -- Rush, you're just tempting them, aren't you? You're just -- "Rush Limbaugh today inspired controversy by referring to Rosie O'Donnell as a woman who eats dog food. Why would that be?"

Network/Outlet
Premiere Radio Networks
Person
Rush Limbaugh
Show/Publication
The Rush Limbaugh Show
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Media Matters, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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