Limbaugh claimed media's inquiries about Robertson controversy are a "trap" to "condemn the entire conservative movement"


Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh claimed that the media have peppered him with inquiries about Pat Robertson's August 22 call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to "trap" him into "condemn[ing] the entire conservative movement." On the August 23 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh asserted that a "network" contacted him "no less than three times asking me when I'm going to talk about it [the Robertson controversy] so they can record it." In response, while claiming that he was "not weighing in," Limbaugh said that he was "tweaking the mainstream press" by making a statement and then seeing if it ends up being reported as Limbaugh weighing in on the Pat Robertson controversy. The statement: "[A]nd so what I would say, what we were toying around with here: Well, Pat, why did you not include Castro?"

From the August 23 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: There is a network today that is obsessed with Pat Robertson. This network has called me no less than three times asking me when I'm going to talk about it so they can record it. This network hasn't cared one whit about any of the outrageous assassination threats that George Bush gets from members of the left. They don't care. It's so patently obvious. I knew they're going to be listening, that's why I keep saying, "The mainstream media does not set the agenda of this show!"

If you want to find out what I think, report what I think, not what you care about what I think on your interest, but if you want to report on this program, actually report what happens here. But don't think you can call here and set up a premise where I'm going to fall into your trap to help you try to condemn the entire conservative movement. The jig's up! It ain't going to happen anymore -- and if I did say something about it, it would just be to tweak them, where they wouldn't understand it, and they'd report it, and it would be cast as the absolute worst thing in the world that had ever been said.

In fact, I'll tell you what it is in this context. I was talking to guys around here, and I was telling everybody, three different inquiries, and they all want to know what I was going to say about Pat Robertson. I said, "You know what it is?" In fact, before this even happened I got an e-mail from friend today who said, "This Robertson stuff is just unfortunate because you know the mainstream press is going to try to link you with it." I'm not kidding -- five minutes after I get his e-mail is when I get the first inquiry about this! So, H.R. down here today and Snerdley in there, and I said, "You know what would be fun to say?"

They said, "Don't say it! Don't say it! Even if you put it in total context, it will be misreported, and they won't report your context, and they'll report as though you actually said it." I said, "Well, I will have actually said it but in the guise of tweaking them." You think I should say it or not? Snerdley thinks ... Now you think I should? OK, here's what I was toying with, because I knew -- and it still may happen. Let's see if it happens. Let's see if what I'm about to say to you ends up being reported as, "And Rush Limbaugh weighed in on the Pat Robertson controversy yesterday by saying," blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. OK, let me say at the outset, I am not weighing in on the Pat Robertson controversy. That's not what this is about. I am tweaking the mainstream press, desperately hoping I criticize Robertson so that they can lump me with him and all of us with him to try to discredit the whole of the conservative movement, and so what I would say, what we were toying around with here: Well, Pat, why did you not include Castro?

Religion, Pat Robertson on Chavez, Religious Broadcasting
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