During a 1988 appearance on Connecticut local access television program “Miggs B On TV” -- which the host has billed on YouTube as Limbaugh's “first TV interview” -- Rush Limbaugh was asked by a caller if “there [are] any subjects that you find taboo as far as making fun of them.” Limbaugh's response may come as a surprise to those familiar with his career since then.
Limbaugh explained that he would never make fun of anyone's religion or “ethnic background or racial background or anything.”
CALLER: I have a question. Earlier in the program, you said that you like to make light of subjects? You like to make jokes about them?
LIMBAUGH: Well, you might have misunderstood, but go ahead and ask the question.
CALLER: Well, what I wanted to know is, are there any subjects that you find taboo as far as making fun of them?
LIMBAUGH: Yes, one in particular. I will not make fun of, nor will I tolerate anybody else to make jokes about the Lord. Or, I will not allow any jokes about anybody's religion. I will not allow jokes about people's ethnic background or racial background or anything. I will make jokes about people's attitudes. I'll take shots at people's beliefs and that kind of thing. But not, I won't mess around at all with the private beliefs -- faith, religion, race -- you know, things that people can't help. Hands off.
In the intervening 24 years, that hasn't exactly panned out.
Limbaugh, of course, regularly mocks people based on their religion, race, and ethnicity (in addition to just making outright offensive comments about the same subjects). In the past few years alone, Limbaugh has made it standard practice to attack (and joke about) President Obama's heritage, religious beliefs, and race.
These types of comments are far from limited to attacks on Obama. There are plenty of examples to choose from, but here's a particularly egregious instance of Limbaugh making jokes about ethnicity.
When Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the United States last year, Limbaugh used the opportunity to mock Chinese culture, including declaring that Chinese “sounds like all the same word” and launching into an extended imitation of Chinese speech.
The entire interview with Miggs B is available below. It's filled with interesting moments, including Limbaugh saying that certain hosts have been using the same “formula” to make viewers and listeners mad for years, yet “people keep falling for it.” Limbaugh instead vowed to be “entertaining without being abusive,” something he clearly failed at recently by attacking law student Sandra Fluke as a “slut” for three days.