The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

14 April 2008

Media Still Has Split Personality On Limbaugh's Effectiveness


On Power Of Rush, Media Wants It Both Ways


Is Rush Limbaugh
a real threat to American democracy, or mere harmless annoyance? Two decades after he redefined talk radio, our left- wing media friends still can't decide.

Instead, they've chosen to have it both ways, using the angle that best fits their latest attack on talk's titan.

Last year, he was a menace, after supposedly attacking anti- war vets as "phony soldiers". Harry Reid saw fit to denounce him on the Senate floor and even went after his employer, sending a letter that Limbaugh himself subsequently auctioned off for a mega- donation to charity.

When election results in South Carolina's primary didn't appear to go the way Rush had hoped, he was quickly dismissed as ineffective by both liberals and moderates.

Now, that same approach is being used to undermine Rush, with a new CBS News story that wildly downplays his Operation Chaos success rate. The purpose of the movement is to help Hillary Clinton remain viable in the race against Barack Obama. In recent days, El Rushbo himself has been warning listeners about this effort by the antique media:

RUSH: This morning on CNN Live, they have launched a counteroffensive to Operation Chaos, ladies and gentlemen. They are pushing the notion, as I predicted, by the way, that Republicans are switching parties in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, not because of Operation Chaos, oh, no, but because Republicans love Barack Obama. Here is the exchange between the anchor Tony Harris and the correspondent Dan Lothian.

HARRIS: Since January, more than 160,000 voters switched parties to take part in the upcoming Democratic primary, and in longtime Republican suburbs around Philadelphia, like Bucks and Montgomery counties, Democrats now have the advantage in registered voters for the first time in decades.

LOTHIAN: You might remember there was a movement, if you will, among conservative radio, in particular Rush Limbaugh, to get Republicans the vote in Democrat primaries in order to sort of extend the process for the Democrats and disrupt the Democratic Party. It's unclear whether or not that's at play here, but a Republican official tells me that he doesn't believe that that's an issue certainly in the Pennsylvania area and he says that that's something that he would not endorse. Tony?

HARRIS: Yeah, folks are smarter than that.

RUSH: Yeah, folks are smarter than that. Tony, you should be as smart as the operatives in Operation Chaos. Dimwit! The Republican guy has to say this. The Republican Party is not going to act like they endorse all this. The Republican Party is losing registration. They have to play this up a different way, and because they're timid to boot. But make no mistake. There is no reason for all of this massive registration on the Democrat side other than Operation Chaos, and they know it, and they're doing everything they can to ignore it, and now to discredit it. Moving over to The Situation Room on CNN yesterday, Jack Cafferty posed this question to people e-mailing him back their answers.

From the subsequent CBS News analysis:

"Limbaugh Effect" Is Fairly Insignificant

Kathy Frankovic

What happens when primary voters “cross over” to vote in the other party’s primary? Do they wish that party good, or ill, when they choose a candidate?

Before the March 4th primaries in Texas and Ohio, Rush Limbaugh urged Republicans to cross over to keep the Democratic Party full of what he called ”chaos and tumult.” Is there any evidence that Republicans did that?

“Crossover voters” are really two different types of voter. Most consider themselves “independents,” not fully affiliated with either party, even though many of them sometimes behave like party members. In our national polls, more than four in ten registered voters who call themselves independents said they had - or intended to - vote in a party’s primary this year. And many years of surveys indicate that many people who say they are independent have a history of voting for candidates of only one party.

The second kind of crossover voter is rarer: this primary season it is the self-identified Republican who decides to bypass the Republican primary and vote instead in the Democratic contest. [This year very few people who call themselves Democrats are choosing a Republican ballot.] This is easy to do in states that hold “open” primaries where there is no party registration. Voters simply choose a ballot or declare a preference when they arrive at the polls. And in the vast majority of caucus states, pretty much anyone can arrive at a caucus site and fill out the required paperwork to become a Democrat - even if just for that one day.

In the exit polls, voters are asked to identify themselves by party with the following question: “No matter how you voted today, do you usually think of yourself as a Democrat, Republican, independent or something else?” In the Democratic primaries overall, fewer than 5 percent of voters said they were Republicans. And that five percent voted for Barack Obama 53 percent to 39 percent over Hillary Clinton - which is very much like the votes of self-identified independents, who split 55 percent for Obama, 39 percent for Clinton.

In most individual states, the actual number of interviews with Republican- identified voters has been so small that there simply aren’t enough of them to analyze properly. But in states where exit polls CAN identify enough Republican crossover voters, a complex picture emerges. Illinois, Obama’s home state, and Missouri, which borders it, both held open Democratic primaries on February 5, Super Tuesday. Obama led convincingly among Republican voters in both places. Missouri’s 75 percent to 21 percent margin in Obama’s favor was even greater than the 60 percent to 36 percent vote Republicans in Illinois gave him. Republican crossovers in two other states that voted later in February - Virginia and Wisconsin - also gave Obama big margins.

While the piece admits the sample size is rather small, it misses the big question entirely: are temporary party- switchers willing to admit to what they've done? As there's an inherent level of mischief involved with crossover voting, wouldn't that same sentiment carry over when quizzed for exit polls?

We'd like to see the mainstream media once and for all decide whether Rush is a threat to America, or wholly ineffective. It can't be both.

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Technorati tags:


  • "MAJOR...STORY!"

    What, Hannity? :)

    By Anonymous hashfanatic, at 14 April, 2008 00:59  

  • Of course, the expected knee-jerk reactions of the media in both directions is exactly what "Operation Chaos" is supposed to accomplish.

    The media is in a tizzy, reporting almost every day something more about the Limbaugh program.

    As most readers realize, the final result is not important. The important issue is to keep the uncertainty at a high level.

    Take a look at the comments from Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, and the liberal media. Also take a look at the fence-sitting done by the democrat super-delegates.

    This ongoing state of Chaos is causing the democrats to spend millions of dollars fighting against themselves.

    Operation Chaos has already succeeded!

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 14 April, 2008 09:01  

  • It's not Limbaugh, it's Hillary herself and her friends in the big business media. BTW Hillary is no longer winning PA, Obamas up by 2 now, Limbaugh did not keep Hillary alive, the MSM which leans corpratist is helping keep Hillary in the race by using the Rev. Wright talking point. Ditto- had very little effect.. Most of Ditto's audience are not going to do exactly as Ditto tells them, is Brian implying that all of Rush's listeners are sheep who will obey Ditto-man at any demand?

    That is really pathetic. 14 million people listen to Rush, considering the hundreds of stations he is on, those numbers SUCK, do you really think all those people, do as Rusdh tells? Rush is a joke and when listeners are surveyed with the question "why do you stay tuned" the answer is to see what he will say next, in essance they are not saying they obey Ditto-man, they just want to hear what the asshole will say next.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 14 April, 2008 11:47  

  • "BTW Hillary is no longer winning PA, Obamas up by 2 now"

    Looks like the Mopman has fallen for Operation Chaos as well.
    The latest survey shows the O-man 20 points behind Clinton.

    And another survey released today shows how much the Snob speech about Midwesterners made to the elite in San Francisco has hurt him.

    Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters nationwide disagree with Barack Obama’s statement that people in small towns “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 25% agree with the Democratic frontrunner while 19% are not sure.

    Partisan and ideological differences suggest that the comments are more likely to be a factor in the General Election than in the Primaries. A plurality of politically liberal voters —46% --agree with Obama’s statement while 33% disagree. Moderate voters take the opposite view and disagree by a 51% to 27% margin. Seventy-four percent (74%) of conservatives disagree with Obama’s statement, only 12% agree.

    The huge media coverage every week on what Rush has to say just confirms the power of the program.

    The O-man will be toast in the general election.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 14 April, 2008 12:41  

  • After listening to his jaw-droppingly stupid comment calling small-town Midwestern voters overly religious bigots who fear the future and cling to their guns out of their frustration, I created a new campaign logo that represents his true inner feelings.

    The O-man's New Logo

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 14 April, 2008 12:50  

  • "That is really pathetic. 14 million people listen to Rush, considering the hundreds of stations he is on, those numbers SUCK, do you really think all those people, do as Rusdh tells?Rush is a joke and when listeners are surveyed with the question "why do you stay tuned" the answer is to see what he will say next, in essance they are not saying they obey Ditto-man, they just want to hear what the asshole will say next."

    Still, much like Fox News, he continues to dominate the ratings. Your listening/reading audience consists of how many?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14 April, 2008 13:53  

  • My bad, Obama is trailing Hillary in PA, but head to head against McCain, Obama is ahead in PA. Rasmussen he is ahead of McCain 47% to 39% and Quinnipac 49% to 39%. These numbers are exactly the same as when Clinton is matched against McCain in PA, bottom line Dems in Pa favor Clinton but against McCain , they will take Obama, regardless of how much they love Clinton because when polled either Obama or Clinton defeat McCain in Pa, by the same exact margins..... Don't expect the GOP to take PA any time soon

    Get it?

    People don't agree with the statements but it is not reflecting in the national polls, still a statistical tie, after Rev. Wright, after the "comments", face it Obama is not a great candidate but Americans are tired of Republicans destroying the economy, the military and the working class.

    Anyway 14 million listeners for Limbaugh with all those stations, is not too impressive, meaning if his toal amount of listeners is 14 million and he is on over 700 stations, what this means he averages way under 1 million listeners in each market, just to knock you wing nuts off your high horse and put it into perspective.....

    and FOX news, again, considering the huge amount of cable subscribers in the country, their 2 million peak prime time viewers is not all that impressive. They are barely at this point #1 in prime time, the numbers are closer and closer MSNBC olberman keeps gaining and FOx ratings are static.

    nothing to be on a high horse about any longer, wing nutttttssss

    I don't care either way, I barely support obama,

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 14 April, 2008 16:17  

  • Mr. Limbaugh has been working his magic for twenty years. The fact that he has the largest audience of anyone speaks for itself.
    Notice how he is ALWAYS the topic of discussion? Think that is because he is stupid? Think that is because he is mostly wrong?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14 April, 2008 16:54  

  • limbaugh III, has been instrumental in damaging this country democracy and freedom ... Possibly beyond repair.

    Over 90% of the free air waves is owned by the conservative corporate main stream, republicans.

    The truth (Progressives) has been sidelined in the market for years.

    Yous wanna hear the truth listen to:

    Thom Hartmann
    Ed Schultz
    Randi Rhodes
    Bill Press
    Stephanie Miller
    Mike Malloy
    Peter B. Collins

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 April, 2008 01:09  

  • "The truth (Progressives) has been sidelined in the market for years."

    It is just not fair when the marketplace makes these sort of decisions! This obvious market driven suppression of the truth has happened to other groups with equally valid points of view.

    The restriction of the Celtic polytheism and druids comes to mind. The druid is a member of the priestly and learned class and exist through much of Western Europe, Britain and Ireland. The modern Druid, such as the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, continue to promote the 18th-century revival of Druidism.

    Let's just hope the democrats can revive the Fairness Doctrine, so that the airwaves can be filled with lively and topical discussions on the benefits of Druidism.

    Just think how all the advertisers will beg to promote these sorts of shows (truthers, liberals, progressives, druids).

    Oh, wait a minute. I think we already know the answer.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 16 April, 2008 12:11  

  • The fairness doctrine has nothing to do with it ... Market manipulation and control does.

    The numbers don't lie Progressive talk is profitable when it hasn't been set up to fail.

    So Libs Dems Progs don't buy lot$ of $tuff ? Huh... $$$$$$

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 April, 2008 21:59  

  • Anonymous said:

    Progressive talk is profitable when it hasn't been set up to fail.

    Ah, I remember watching Al Franken on the Today show the day Air America debuted. He predicted that soon his ratings would top those of Rush, his timeslot competitor.

    Why is it that Al failed? Are you really saying he was "set up"? Or that Al Franken was not truly "Progressive"?

    By Blogger Missouri Show Me, at 19 April, 2008 15:57  

  • I'm no fan of Al Franken, couldn't listen to him and don't know how progressive he is or isn't.

    Here is the ABC Blacklist of Air America Radio.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 April, 2008 00:55  

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