Rush Limbaugh is under fire for engaging in misogyny and sexism, but in addition to that his show has been used as a venue to mock human suffering, including victims of natural disasters and those stricken with various maladies.
On March 15, 2011, Limbaugh mocked Japan's environmental policies, insinuating that it hadn't protected them from the earthquake and tsunami that killed over 15,000 people. Responding a caller who asked “If these are the people that invented the Prius, have mastered public transportation, recycling, why did Mother Earth, Gaia if you will, hit them with this disaster?” Limbaugh said:
The Japanese have done so much to save the planet. He's right. They've given us the Prius. Even now, refugees are still recycling their garbage. And yet, Gaia levels them; just wipes them out. Wipes out their nuclear plants, all kinds of radiation. What kind of payback is this? That is an excellent question. They invented the Prius.
In fact, where Gaia blew up is right where they make all these electric cars. That's where the tsunami hit. All those brand new electric cars sitting there on the lot. I like the way this guy was thinking. It's like -- it's like Gaia hit the Prius in [inaudible]. It's like they were in the crosshairs -- if we can use that word. It does. What is Gaia trying to tell us here? What is the mother of environmentalism trying to say with this hit? Great observation out there, Chris.
On January 13, 2010, Limbaugh said Haiti produces “zilch, zero, nada” while discussing the earthquake that killed over 300,000 people.
That place, Haiti, has been run by dictators and communists, and how long is it going to be -- how long is it going to be before we hear Obama and the left in this country say that what we really need to do is reinstate the communist Aristide to the leadership position down there to coordinate putting the country back together? The Haitian economy is entirely dependent on foreign aid. They produce nothing -- zilch, zero, nada. And it's been that way for the longest time.
Also on January 13, 2010, Limbaugh questioned donating relief funds for the Haitian earthquake, explaining that “the U.S. income tax” was already “donated” to Haiti.
We've already donated to Haiti. It's called the U.S. income tax.
On February 3, 2011, Limbaugh asked, “Do we feel kind of like going like, 'neh-neh-neh-neh'?” over news that New York Times journalists were being detained by the Egyptian government and said that he doesn't “feel any outrage over it”:
Ladies and gentlemen, it is being breathlessly reported that the Egyptian army ... is rounding up foreign journalists. I mean, even two New York Times reporters were detained. Now, this is supposed to make us feel what, exactly? How we supposed to feel? Are we supposed to feel outrage over it? I don't feel any outrage over it. Are we supposed to feel anger? I don't feel any anger over this. Do we feel happy?
Well, do we feel kind of going like, “neh-neh-neh-neh”? I'm sure that your emotions are running the gamut when you hear that two New York Times reporters have been detained along with other journalists in Egypt. Remember now, we're supporting the people who are doing this.
On June 16, 2010, Limbaugh belittled children who rely on free school meals and suggested that during the summer they “dumpster dive and survive until school kicks back up in August”:
You know, one of the benefits of school being out, in addition to your kids losing weight because they're starving to death out there because there's no school meal being provided, one of the benefits of school being out, college campi being vacant this time of year, is that our audience levels go up. I think, you know what we're going to do here, we're going to start a feature on this program: “Where to find food.” For young demographics, where to find food. Now that school is out, where to find food. We can have a daily feature on this. And this will take us all the way through the summer. Where to find food. And, of course, the first will be: “Try your house.” It's a thing called the refrigerator. You probably already know about it. Try looking there. There are also things in what's called the kitchen of your house called cupboards. And in those cupboards, most likely you're going to find Ding-Dongs, Twinkies, Lays ridgy potato chips, all kinds of dips and maybe a can of corn that you don't want, but it will be there. If that doesn't work, try a Happy Meal at McDonald's. You know where McDonald's is. There's the Dollar Menu at McDonald's and if they don't have Chicken McNuggets, dial 911 and ask for Obama.
There's another place if none of these options work to find food; there's always the neighborhood dumpster. Now, you might find competition with homeless people there, but there are videos that have been produced to show you how to healthfully dine and how to dumpster dive and survive until school kicks back up in August. Can you imagine the benefit we would provide people?
On January 4, 2005, Limbaugh expressed skepticism about reports of the death toll from the South Asian tsunami that killed over 230,000 people because “we do have a tendency to blow these things up”:
I'm just gonna wait to have this proven to me -- is that there are conflicting stories about how many of these places -- the damage was only along the beach and a mile inward. That's not nearly all of these countries. This is not to suggest the disaster is not real. Please don't put words in my mouth and don't -- don't do to me what I think is being done to the rest of us. Don't interpret me saying things I'm not saying here. I'm not suggesting it's not a true, devastating disaster and so forth. But you know, we do have a tendency to blow these things up. We have a tendency to rally around disaster; it makes us feel better to contribute to it.
On October 23, 2006, Limbaugh accused actor Michael J. Fox of “exaggerating” the symptoms of his Parkinson's disease in a commercial for then-Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill. Fox endorsed McCaskill because she supported federally funded embryonic stem cell research.
Now, this is Michael J. Fox. He's got Parkinson's disease. And in this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it's purely an act. This is the only time I have ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has. I know he's got it and he's raising money for it, but when I've seen him in public, I've never seen him betray any of the symptoms.
Limbaugh subsequently “apologize[d]” for being “wrong” in “speculat[ing]” that Fox “didn't take his medication or he was acting.” But then he immediately returned to attacking Fox by baselessly accusing him of intentionally taking “too much medication” to induce the tremors visible in the ad.
On February 25, 2010, Limbaugh reacted to a story from Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) about a woman forced to wear her dead sister's dentures because she couldn't afford a set by asking “so what?” and “what's applesauce for?”
You know I'm getting so many people -- this Louise Slaughter comment on the dentures? I'm getting so many people -- this is big. I mean, that gets a one-time mention for a laugh, but there are people out there that think this is huge because it's so stupid. I mean, for example, well, what's wrong with using a dead person's teeth? Aren't the Democrats big into recycling? Save the planet? And so what? So if you don't have any teeth, so what? What's applesauce for? Isn't that why they make applesauce?
On March 25, 2009, Limbaugh called reports that one in 50 American children experiences homelessness “bogus” and asked, "[w]ould somebody tell me the last time you saw a kid sleeping under a bridge?":
This guy asked the strangest question. This bogus statistic that one out of 50 American children are homeless. And what do you -- what are you gonna do about that.
I want to see the facts on that. Just like how we have the “2-3 million people homeless” during the late '80s and early '90s, Mitch Snyder and his bogus homeless numbers. I mean that was obviously huge. A bogus discussion about homeless children, just after Obama got animated about cutting charitable deductions. He got happy. So he's happy, he can't wait to cut the charitable deduction, he gets a question about one in 50 kids being homeless? If that were true, why would somebody want to cut charitable donations?
I think a caring person would want to triple the deduction in order to reduce the bogus number of one in 50 children who are homeless and living under bridges. Would somebody tell me the last time you saw a kid sleeping under a bridge? I want to hear from somebody who's seen it.
On December 3, 2010, Limbaugh asked, “if people cannot even feed and clothe themselves, should they be allowed to vote?”
Here's the media tweak of the day. Snerdley -- pay attention. Media tweak of the day. We always announce these, and it always works. This story raises very un-politically correct questions. If people cannot even feed and clothe themselves, should they be allowed to vote? Should they be voting? If people who are receiving government assistance -- that is, taxpayer assistance -- if they weren't allowed to vote, can you imagine the difference in the political makeup of this country? Can you imagine that? It's just a think piece. I'm just putting it out there for you to ponder.