Makes Obscene On-Air Statement
What's Behind Rush's Strange Behavior?
You're not alone if you've detected an edge to Rush Limbaugh's voice this week. What's behind his unusually agitated on-air state?
I first noticed it early in the week, when Rush kicked off his show sounding especially upset, launching into a tirade about "phonies" and people looking for publicity through cheap stunts.
He didn't specify who exactly he was talking about, leading me to wonder if it involved something going on behind the scenes, or in the radio industry. Perhaps a conservative pundit or talk show host?
An abrupt and disjointed transition to the usual lambasting of Democrats followed, but the connection wasn't made apparent.
Rather than the actual comments, it was his tone that caught my attention. Has he ever sounded quite that way before?
Yesterday, things got especially odd, when Rush used unusually foul language on the air, stunning his production staff:
(All Access- 13 April 2005- Link Requires Industry Affiliation and Registration)
No, you weren't hallucinating, and yes, RUSH LIMBAUGH actually used the term "blow jobs" on the air TUESDAY (4/12).
The PREMIERE host was discussing BILL CLINTON's comments on a gay Republican consultant and AL GORE's new cable TV network when he said of GORE's network "When does he (GORE) start up this stupid little network? AUGUST? Yip yip yip yahoo. You know what GORE said about this? 'It's going to be liberal. It's going to reflect the point of view of young people.' What the hell is that, AL? What the hell is the point of view of young people? Blow jobs, that's what they're doing out there.
They're out there getting oral sex all day long, that's what they're talking about. That's the point of view they can't wait that your boss, AL, made sure that's become the number one sport in high school today. So I guess you're going to have a BJ network out there, AL, is that what you're going to do?
You're going to call your network the oral sex channel out there, start competing with MTV? No, it's not going to have any of this stuff out there, folks, it's going to be talking about liberalism, no, no, no, that's not what we're about. Classic, cannot even admit who he is."
Later, LIMBAUGH said, "I am going to apologize not for saying what I said, but I'm going to apologize if it offended anybody. I never apologize for what I say, but if some of you were offended by a graphic term involving actions committed by BILL CLINTON and MONICA LEWINSKY that have now spread to AMERICA's high schools, I apologize.
I meant to say 'oral sex' throughout, but the guttural term escaped my pouty lips in a moment of pure, unbridled passion. The staff was so stunned and so scared today they didn't dare hit the delete button, the deedle button, and so it got out there.
My reaction is, 'Somebody go ahead and turn me into the FCC. I'll be honored to be fined.' It's just another government agency with its hand in my back pocket, so go right ahead."
From my own experiences, it's necessary to cut a talk show host some slack, as it's difficult to keep this up every day without occasions where some of a person's inner turmoil will spill out.
Limbaugh, however, has been quite good at maintaining composure over many years, even while undergoing tremendously stressful personal difficulties. So what's going on now?
One would imagine the largest problems are far behind him so what gets the cage rattled that didn't previously?
Cynics, who wouldn't be totally out of line here, might think it was Rush himself looking for publicity yesterday. It certainly was accomplished with his salty language. Is he looking to break the mold a bit, alter his public image slightly?
It's a mystery, but my money says listenership is up today as people wonder what will happen next. Check back here for updates.
Update: radio industry liberals already using incident to make personal attacks against Limbaugh.
New: Liberal Talk Radio Loses One
New: Washington state Dems Go Bonkers