The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

01 October 2008

Columnist Ties Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly To John Birch Society


Media Foes Use Trickery To Undermine Conservative Hosts

*** Updated With Ivans Reference ***

When we're this close the election battle of the century, dirty tricks are to be expected. After all, they've become a fact of life in the sleazy world of politics.

That doesn't mean we should overlook or ignore some of the more outrageous attacks, however, especially when they aim to undermine key figures in the battlefield.

While the smears are often obvious, sometimes they are snuck into places that require us to read a bit between the lines.

Today's first example falls into the latter category, as Seattle Post- Intelligencer columnist Joel Connelly (shown above right) attempts to tie Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly to the far-right John Birch Society:

Early targets of the Birch Society, such as President Eisenhower and Chief Justice Warren, are long in the grave. The United Nations still has its headquarters in New York. The International Communist Conspiracy came apart as the Soviet Union broke apart in the late 1980's.

Still, there is much reason for discomfort on the right.

In the last eight years, the U.S. has lost 3 million manufacturing jobs overseas. The country has gone deep in debt to "Red" China.

Overseas interests have bought control of major links in the U.S. transportation system, e.g. the Chicago Skyway and Indiana Toll Road. In the Northwest, a Scottish conglomerate has gained control of the Pacific Power & Light Co., and Australians are in the process of taking over Puget Sound Energy.

One thing has not changed - right-wing talk radio.

A member of the Birch Society's national council, Clarence Manion, was a pioneer on the airwaves. So was Texas-based broadcaster Dan Smoot, a Society ally.

Today, however, such voices of the right as Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity reach an immensely larger audience than did their predecessors back in the 1960's.

The reason for Connelly's post? A news item that Ron Paul would be headlining an upcoming fiftieth anniversary celebration for the Birchers.

And what do Hannity, Limbaugh and O'Reilly have to do with any of this? Absolutely nothing. In fact, all three are adamantly opposed to the Birchers, with Hannity actually a past target of harrassment by Paul's supporters. For years, Rush has called conspiracy theorists "kooks".

The only reason Connelly brought them into the conversation was to take a cheap shot at conservative talk radio by tying them to fringe extremists.

Worse, he doesn't see any distinction between mainstream conservatives and Birchers. How dishonest is that?

This isn't the first time, by the way, that an attempt has been made to tie Limbaugh and the John Birch Society. The late Molly Ivans used the same trick (if a bit less directly) in a 1995 Mother Jones column:

Psychologists often tell us there is a great deal of displaced anger in our emotional lives--your dad wallops you, but he's too big to hit back, so you go clobber your little brother. Displaced anger is also common in our political life. We see it in this generation of young white men without much education and very little future. This economy no longer has a place for them. The corporations have moved their jobs to Singapore. Unfortunately, it is Limbaugh and the Republicans who are addressing the resentments of these folks, and aiming their anger in the wrong direction.

In my state, I have not seen so much hatred in politics since the heyday of the John Birch Society in the early 1960s. Used to be you couldn't talk politics with a conservative without his getting all red in the face, arteries standing out in his neck, wattles aquiver with indignation--just like a pissed-off turkey gobbler. And now we're seeing the same kind of anger again.

Next, yesterday's feud between the Politico site and Limbaugh seemed to have been resolved after the host made it clear he had NOT mocked the House GOP leadership:

RUSH: I have looked at the transcript of what I said in the first hour, and ladies and gentlemen, the Politico, the guy that wrote this, Ryan Grim -- I've actually had no trouble with the Politico before. All the people there who have written about me have been aboveboard. Jonathan Martin has been excellent. So has Mike Allen. But this is absurd. Here's the transcript of what I said: "The Republicans in Congress, I think went out there and said some things about Pelosi's speech yesterday that a lot of Republicans, a lot of conservatives, 'Come on, you guys, can you grow up? Don't tell us that you changed your vote on saving the country because Pelosi delivered a partisan speech,'" quoting, frankly, people writing at The Corner at National Review Online, conservative media. Then I resumed speaking for myself, "I, frankly, think that's what they said, but I don't think that's at all why they changed their vote, if they changed their vote at all. I think that's what they went out there and said."

I was defending them. I was not accusing them of being childish. I was not mocking them. I was being critical of our own media for mocking them, when what happened here was that the failure of the thing was planned, that Pelosi wanted it to go down the tubes.

Now, I acknowledge that the Republicans went out there and made the comments that Pelosi's partisan speech had an effect on this, but then in the very comment I say here, "That's not why they really changed their vote." I defended them. They changed their vote because they saw what the Democrats were doing. They saw Democrats voting against it. Politico has become Media Matters here: "House GOP Mocked by Rush." The segment containing this transcript on the website tonight is going to be headlined: "God bless the House Republicans." I have been the one supporting them totally without wavering against them here during this whole thing, and the Politico comes out and tries to say I mocked them.

Now, admittedly The Politico did not have access to my quotation marks in my uttered voiced comments, but it's not hard to figure out here. "The Republicans in Congress, I think went out there and said some things about Pelosi's speech yesterday that a lot of Republicans, a lot of conservatives, 'Come on, you guys, can you grow up?'" It was not I saying that about the Republicans in Congress.

It sounds to me like there is an ongoing effort here to dispirit the Republicans in the House for hanging tough. That's exactly what it is, and to let them think, to have them think that one of their strongest support avenues has betrayed them. I assure you, I don't care what the Politico writes, I don't care how people interpret it, I have not abandoned the conservatives in the House. Do you realize where we'd be if these guys had caved? I don't care why they didn't cave. I don't care why they say they didn't cave. I know why they didn't cave, and I know why it is that they hung tough, 'cause they realize this was an election year maneuver by Pelosi that had nothing to do with salvaging the US economy, quote, unquote. They knew that from day one. They also knew that there was nothing different in this bill from its original proposal as brought forth by Henry Paulson over a week ago.

But that didn't stop the Huffington Post smear merchants from running verbatim the same twisted version of events, well after it was clearly indicated as a misinterpretation by the Politico writer. The whole thing should have been retracted, but wasn't:

Rush Limbaugh Mocks GOP Leaders Over "Pelosi" Excuse

Politico | September 30, 2008 03:25 PM

Rush Limbaugh opened his show today by piling on top of House Republican leadership for claiming that a crucial number of their members voted against the bailout package because of a partisan speech that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gave before the roll call.

"C'mon guys. Can ya grow up?" he said. "There were a whole lot of reasons for House Republicans to vote against this thing yesterday."

He said Democrats never intended to pass it and GOPers likely realized that as they saw Democratic 'no' votes piling up during the vote. "It was a set-up from the get-go," analyzed Limbaugh.

Between now and election day, except many more of these shenanigans. To remain silent in the face of these smears would represent a grave error by conservatives.

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  • long will it take TJ to post more nonsense defending the indefensible and attacking Brian Maloney & TRE?

    By Blogger Carl, at 01 October, 2008 12:51  

  • Interesting article.

    Limbaugh, Hannity, and O'Reilly supported the bailout plan. From day ONE.

    Not one of them could be considered "true conservatives" for many years now, and I'd place both Dr. Paul AND the Birchers miles ahead of any of these losers in the "Patriot" department...

    I don't see the neocon element particularly inspired to keep our nation out of Obama's grasp, either, while we're on the subject of conspiracies....

    Perhaps Connelly realizes that true conservatives are waking up to the neocon hand job, as well.

    One can only hope.

    By Anonymous hashfanatic, at 01 October, 2008 13:08  

  • I have a question -- Why is an association with David Duke, different from an association with Rev Wright?

    By Blogger 10ksnooker, at 01 October, 2008 14:44  

  • hashfanatic... There you go again. How can you say Limbaugh supported the bailout plan (which is 100% socialism)? Every day on his show, Rush talked about a conservative solution. He did not agree with the Paulson plan.

    Hannity - don't listen to him so I can't comment.

    O'Reilly can't be grouped with Limbaugh and Hannity. O'Reilly lost it months ago and joined the funny farm.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 01 October, 2008 16:28  

  • @Carl.

    You assume too much.

    I am against smearing in politics no matter who does it, and all sides do.

    Only trouble with this news is that it isn't news. It's whining. And it's "pot - meet kettle".

    Does Rush Limbaugh, who makes a lot of his living via politically smearing people, need Maloney boo-hoo'ing on his behalf?

    By Anonymous TJ, at 01 October, 2008 17:12  

  • LOL! Just as I predicted.

    By Blogger Carl, at 01 October, 2008 18:03  

  • suppose it's time for another Carl smell-test:

    "how long will it take TJ to post more nonsense defending the indefensible"

    Hrm...I decried smearing in general, no matter who does it. Nope, didn't defend anybody.

    That carl-ism doesn't pass the smell test.

    "and attacking Brian Maloney & TRE"

    let's see - i simply pointed out that since everybody smears, that talking about one "side" smearing another is immature & hypocritical.

    You may not like the message, but it's not an attack - merely an observation.

    Oh, and your low IQ is showing - Brian Maloney & The Radio Equalizer are the same person.

    By Anonymous TJ, at 01 October, 2008 19:28  

  • TJ is posting just as I predicted and proving me right once again. LOL!

    By Blogger Carl, at 01 October, 2008 22:22  

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