One of the more tiresome accusations that liberals like to throw against their opponents is the epithet “racist!” Rush Limbaugh, the famous radio talk show host and conservative pundit, knows the phenomenon only too well.
Usually what the high profile target of the accusation does is to make some kind of pro forma denial, and then move on. Rush Limbaugh has decided to move beyond all of that and to inflict consequences and repercussions on people, including journalists, who are spreading made up quotes and other lies to make it appear that Rush is racist.
The latest round of accusations started when Rush Limbaugh dared to become part of a group that is bidding to buy the St. Louis Rams football team. Rush Limbaugh is a sports fan and is friendly with a number of other team owners. Rush Limbaugh was also once a commentator on ESPN and was fired for making the mistake of expressing an opinion about a black football player, Donovan McNabb.
Rush opined that McNabb was being overrated by a lot of sports journalists as an athlete because the same sports journalists wanted an African American player to succeed. As MSNBC Joe Scarborough pointed out, Rush Limbaugh was just expressing an opinion on the air that a lot of Philadelphia Eagles fans were saying off of it. It didn’t matter. Rush Limbaugh had said something denigrating to an African American athlete. He was therefore a racist. Therefore he had to go.
Rush Limbaugh is also being accused by some, including Al Sharpton of saying a couple of racist things that he did not actually say. It seems that a liberal writer named Jack Huberman attributed two statements to Rush in his book 101 People Who Are Really Screwing America.
According to Leon Wolf at Pajamas Media, the first was “You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray (Dr. King’s assassin). We miss you, James. Godspeed.” The problem was that quote was maliciously added to Rush Limbaugh’s Wikipedia page and had no basis in reality.
The second was, “Let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: Slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back. I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.”
As far as anyone can determine Huberman got that quote out of thin air. It has certainly never attributed.
The idea, of course, is to prevent Rush Limbaugh from becoming an NFL team owner. A lot of people hate Rush Limbaugh for being a successful and influential radio broadcaster and will strike at him any way they can. It is no matter that Rush Limbaugh is about as racist as Martin Luther King was.
Rush Limbaugh is not going to take the smear campaign against him lying down. Rush is about to play hardball. Rush stated on his October 13, 2009 broadcast, “To everybody who has repeated these lies we’re going to send a letter and say, “‘Back it up, source it, prove it, find out where I said it, I want to know.’ If they can’t, which they won’t be able to, then we’re going to demand an apology and a retraction, and that is the least that some of these people can do. “
If the offending journalist fails to apologize and retract, then the next step will likely be threats of legal action. While slander and libel are hard to prove against a public figure, since the offended party must prove both malice and reckless disregard for the truth, Rush may have a good case here. Rush Limbaugh certainly has the resources to go after people who have been smearing him. Many will likely capitulate rather than get entangled in a long, expensive court battle that will only serve to benefit Rush Limbaugh and boost his ratings. In any case, the casual smearing of a conservative public figure may about to become painful indeed for the people doing the smearing.
Sources 101 People Who Are Really Screwing America, Jack Huberman, Nation Books, 2006
Media Smears Rush Limbaugh, Considers Wikiquote to be Reliable Source, Leon Wolf, Pajamas Media, October 13th, 2009
State Run Media Scum Smears Rush Using Fabricated Quotes, Rush Limbaugh, The Rush Limbaugh Show, October 13th, 2009