The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

05 September 2006

Rush Limbaugh, Katie Couric, CBS News


Sounding Defensive, Limbaugh Justifies CBS Visit

Tuesday, as might be expected, wasn't an easy day for Rush Limbaugh.

For the first time in recent memory, the talk titan faced real heat from fans, in this case for agreeing to appear on the CBS Evening News during Katie Couric's debut week. Considering the fact that he's spent many years blasting the network, this move had listeners wondering just what El Rushbo might be up to.

Sounding a bit defensive, Limbaugh explained his rationale, took two calls on the subject and then quickly moved on to another topic. In a lighthearted way, he lashed out a bit at friends and supporters for not giving him more credit after all these years in the public realm.

Below, watch a portion of Couric's first CBS News appearance (where Kim from Musing Minds offers her reaction), followed by the official transcript from Rush's show:

From Rush's Transcript:

RUSH: Let me deal with a rumor that circulated over the Internet. It hit the Drudge Report, I forget, I guess it was sometime Saturday or Sunday, the rumor being that I am helping to launch or welcome Katie Couric to the CBS Evening News tonight or this week. The reporting on this was somewhat confusing and sketchy based on how you read it. I had people e-mailing me all weekend long who were taking different things out of it. It's amazing to study this. This is a little aside, but it was an amazing thing to study the way people read things. Drudge was pretty clear about what this rumor was, but I had people write, "So! I see you're going to welcome Katie tomorrow night with Cronkite?" Meaning tonight.

"Oooh, don't tell me! What do you mean? You're going to do an interview with Katie? Why would you help Katie? What were you doing an interview for?" All kinds of different takes. Many of you accusing me of being a sellout, a phony, going over to the dark side, what have you, and I sat there and I smiled in stunned amazement at this. I've been here 18 years, and I even got e-mails from friends. One friend sent me a note with nothing but question marks in the subject line, and I just wrote back, "Do you think I'm an idiot? Do you think I'm a fool?" Eighteen years I have been sitting here in the prestigious and distinguished Attila the Hun Chair and yet there are those isolated moments in time where all of you or some of you think I'm going to be the biggest blithering idiot that you've ever encountered.

I understand why this is, ladies and gentlemen. As conservatives, for being downtrodden for so long, being in the minority for so long, you have become conditioned to the left outsmarting even the best and brightest of our movement, and you have also been betrayed. Since Ronald Reagan, conservative Republicans have been betrayed to one degree or another by every elected official. Well, by many elected officials. Certainly elected conservative leaders have gone south on a number of things from senator -- well, I could mention names but you know what I mean. So I think people are just waiting there on the precipice for the latest example of, "Oh, no. We can't trust any of 'em." Let me explain to you what happened and tell you what this is.

Early in August I was approached by Ms. Couric herself, and she told me of a segment that they were going to do in their new newscast called free speech, freedom of speech. "Free Speech" I think it is, and every night there will be a commentator that will get between a minute and 15 to a minute and 30 depending on how competent and good they are. I got the full minute 30, and on Friday they're going to do comedians, and they're going to do this every night, and some nights it's going to be a Wal-Mart shopper. Some nights it'll be a professional academic. Some nights it'll be a pundit. It'll be full of people that you know or you don't know. They hope they're going to, you know, run the gamut with this, and Katie asked me if I would consider appearing on the first week, and I said, "Yeah, but my experience with these kinds of things, Katie, leads me to ask you for certain promises, conditions," and I got those promises and conditions. They were met.

So last Thursday, we taped it in the EIB Building in Manhattan after the radio show, and it wasn't until I guess Saturday that I found out it actually is going to run on Thursday. That's the plan now. I don't know who's doing tonight. I don't know who's doing tomorrow night. I've heard that Clinton's done one, that McCain's going to do one, Giuliani. I don't know about anybody else. I have no clue who else is doing this, other than -- and I don't know any more than you do. I only know that I did mine and it will air sometime in the newscast on Thursday, and a lot of you, I think, are a little shortsighted on this, and I responded to some of the e-mails over the weekend questioning my loyalty to the movement, questioning my sanity, questioning my brains.

When the Drive-By Media offers 90 seconds of a 22-minute program -- an opportunity for me to express our views, my views, without debate, without somebody coming on afterwards to refute it -- and that's part of the feature, by the way. They've assured me and everybody they talked to that you do your piece on X night, the next night's not going to be somebody responding or replying, although I have heard that George Clooney has already asked for equal time (laughing) to respond to me. Now, I'm told that's not going to happen, and certainly it's not going to happen the next night. I didn't mention any names in my piece. I'm not going to tell you what it's about, because I don't want to give anything of it away, but just believe me on this, folks: It is our views, and they're pretty hard-hitting, and they're going to be on the CBS Evening News, and they haven't appeared -- these kinds of views haven't appeared much -- on the CBS Evening News or the ABC World News Tonight or the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

So I did it as an opportunity to reach that audience, which is about -- I bet she gets over eight million people this week every night, maybe a little bit more. The hype on this has been what it is. There's going to be a lot of curiosity and tune-in factor. She was very open and honest about all this when we were setting it up, and they came in on Thursday, as I say, and it was kind of funny. The crew from CBS was... (in-studio interruption). What are you smirking at, Snerdley? What time is the CBS Evening News on? (Laughing.) It's 6:30 Eastern Time. Some places I think they're going to do a six o'clock feed because some stations do network news at six. It's 6:30 Eastern and Pacific Time on most stations. But the crew came in, they were just nice and fun as they could be, and they found me to be the same way, which surprised them, which I just always find it fascinating.

"Gosh, he was so funny! He's such a nice guy."

Yeah, imagine that! When they all left, they all wanted autographed pictures. Oh, yes. So that's it. It's no longer a rumor. The reason I didn't say it? I don't know how Drudge got it, folks. Some of you people in the e-mail write, "Well, why didn't you tell us? How come we have to read it?" Because I didn't know that they were even going to use it! I don't know how many people they've dubbed, and I don't know how many of these they have in the can, and until I know it's going to be used, until I know what date it's going to be used, there's nothing to tell. So... (sigh) You know, folks, you're going to have to learn to trust me. We're getting into our 19th year here, ladies and gentlemen. I think I have earned your trust for brains, propriety, decision-making and so forth and so on. This is in no way "going over to the dark side." (Laughing.) This is in no way. It may help them, but it's also beneficial to all of us. So, we'll see. But don't worry. It's not an introduction and it's not an interview. It's a straight opinion piece -- and fired with both barrels, I might add.

ALSO: Speaking of the mainstream media, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post has weighed in with his reactions to the Week Of Couric.

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Images: WaPo (Couric), Rush

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  • This just in: new anchor for legacy media network newscast starts out first week with a ratings stunt. Film at 11.


    Next kerfuffle, please...

    By Blogger SierraSpartan, at 05 September, 2006 21:56  

  • What a non-issue. Couric is trying to shake up a staid format, and also trying to have a politically-balanced mix of voices. Her reward: Whining from the right wing. Imagine if she hadn't invited Rush.
    Brian: Wasn't it you who complained that not enough libs would go on O'reilly? And now you complain that Rush will go on CBS. Hypocrisy, thy name is Maloney.

    By Blogger Justin, at 06 September, 2006 09:53  

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