The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

05 February 2008

Media Fueling, Relishing McCain, Limbaugh Flap


MSM Exaggerating Rush, McCain Flap For Fun And Profit


Though Rush Limbaugh certainly isn't supporting John McCain for president, the talk titan is speaking out against media portrayals of a conflict he believes has been greatly overplayed by the mainstream media.

He does believe, however, that the Arizona senator has wrongly manipulated former Senator Bob Dole. More on that in a moment.

Much like the mega- hype present before a Super Bowl or major boxing match, the mainstream media has been fueling the Rush - McCain fire for several weeks, most likely for fun and profit.

Yesterday, for example, just about everyone had been led to believe that Dole had scolded Limbaugh in a letter written on McCain's behalf, but Rush took to the airwaves today to pour cold water on that notion, saying Dole didn't even indicate he was endorsing the Arizona senator.

Further, Rush thought it was a private message and was therefore surprised to see the issue become a public matter.

After hearing about the note, Mitt Romney lashed out at McCain's political maneuver, saying Dole "is the last person I would want to write a letter for me. McCain's campaign is a lot like Bob's campaign was," according to USA Today. But the former Bay State governor later clarified his remarks.

In response, McCain was said to be furious with Romney, which Limbaugh also addressed in detail on today's program:

RUSH: Well, this did not sit well with Senator McCain, who had tried, his camp had tried to pass this Dole letter off to me as an endorsement, which it was not. So on Joe Scarborough's show today on MSNBC, it's called Morning Joe, they played this bite from an upcoming report on Senator McCain.

MCCAIN: The fact that someone asked Governor Romney about the letter that Bob Dole wrote on my behalf to Rush Limbaugh, and he said that would be the last person he would want writing a letter on his behalf. Governor Romney disparaging an American hero, our leader, our nominee for president of the United States, that's disgraceful. I think Governor Romney should apologize to Bob Dole for that comment. He's a great American, and for Governor Romney, who has never had any military experience to disparage the service and courage of an American hero I think is disgraceful.

RUSH: I'm sorry, Senator McCain, I think what you are doing here is disgraceful. How in the world is what Governor Romney said a nasty attack on a veteran? What your campaign is doing, Senator McCain, is manipulating Bob Dole, a war hero, by the way, a war hero, Senator McCain, who never talked about it. My father was a war hero in World War II. So was his friend Jim Kinder. Both have passed away. They would not talk about what they did in World War II to their kids, Senator McCain. They didn't parade it around, and neither did Bob Dole. Senator McCain, you are parading it around. Bob Dole is being manipulated by your campaign. The leaking of this letter to the liberal media with a dishonest spin speaks to the insecurity of the McCain camp. Why all the attention to me, folks? Why the manipulation of a personal correspondence, why the manipulation of the media, including Fox News late yesterday afternoon right before seven o'clock with the McCain talking points about Dole scolding me and saying enough is enough.

In the first place, Senator Dole is a gentleman, and he doesn't behave that way. The letter that he sent me was not a scold in any way, shape, manner, or form. If the people in the media had just read the letter, they would have seen that it was respectful; they would have seen that it was gracious. They would have seen he was talking about after the primaries. He was talking about the general election, Senator Dole was. He had no candidate. The letter did not say that he did have candidate. Last night on Hannity & Colmes he was asked point-blank by Alan Colmes, "Who's your guy?" He said, (paraphrasing) "I don't have a dog in this race. Well, I don't want to call them dogs, they're candidates." And so the assumption was all over the place that Senator Dole was another one of those endorsing Senator McCain and the McCain camp put that out. It's not the case, and we have it from Senator Dole's own mouth last night on television.

Now, this shows you just how willing the media are to be manipulated by McCain and they are invested in his campaign and how the McCain camp is unscrupulous to take a private note, lie about its contents, leak it to the media, is not the way you treat a World War II war hero, a former Republican leader, and a wholly decent guy like Bob Dole. Romney's not abusing Dole here in his comment. He's stating the obvious. The obvious is that Dole ran a poor campaign in 1996, he was badly beaten by a Clinton, just as some of us think a McCain campaign would be badly beaten by another Clinton. But since I was the subject of this dirty little trick by the McCain campaign, I want people to understand how this all happened in the first place. I'm going to tell you what's happening here, folks. Senator McCain is resorting to the same kind of politics as Hillary Clinton. Every challenge to Senator McCain is said to be a challenge to his military record or somebody else's military record. Hillary uses her gender the same way. If you question Senator McCain, you're questioning the military. If you question Senator Clinton, you're questioning women. Senator McCain feigns outrage over the slightest challenge.

Nobody questioned Bob Dole's military record, nobody attacked Bob Dole personally, and certainly not Mitt Romney. Senator Dole ran a bad campaign, got his clock cleaned. A number of us think the same thing is likely to happen with the same scenario, somebody who's owed this because of his service, somebody with a great military record. Ask John Kerry how much a great military record helps you in a presidential race and ask Bob Dole how much it helps you. And again, Senator Dole did not endorse McCain, which McCain's camp has put out there.

Dole did not scold me, which McCain has also put out there. Dole's letter was private, which McCain also put out. I'm thinking back, I'm not that old in relative terms, but I don't think even Nixon pulled this kind of stunt, twisting statements, putting out lies like this, the attack on Romney, which he claimed Romney wanted a time certain for withdrawal from Iraq, when Romney has never supported that. It's a big lie strategy. You make an outrageous statement, demonstrably false, you hope your friends in the media keep repeating it for you, that way the lie becomes a fact, or so it seems.

How all of this will work out for McCain and Romney won't be known until tomorrow. Until then, Limbaugh has made it clear his own fortunes do not depend on the outcome of elections:

RUSH: And once again, even after all this time I spent on this yesterday, and after all the detail I gave Howard Kurtz and the Washington Post today, and he reported most of it verbatim -- maybe I should read some of those quotes I gave Kurtz in case you haven't read the story. But after all of that, they still don't get how I measure my success. Wolf, you're talking about Bill Kristol and David Brooks and Fred Barnes and these people that are conservative pundits in the Beltway, that's how they define their success. Who wins elections and who implements the policy ideas they have. I do not measure my success by who wins elections. My success doesn't depend on that, as has been evidenced by the last 20 years. They're never going to get it. I should stop trying to beat my head against the wall so that they do. It's best to remain a dirty little secret, to them.

Meanwhile, the media would rather make fun of Romney's hair than take a substantive look at where he stands on the issues.

UPDATE: The HuffPo folks are really, really enjoying this

UPDATE: bloggers say Rush has endorsed Romney

UPDATE: Rush is officially psychic, as this has already occurred:

RUSH: I want to advise you people in the Central, Mountain, and Western time zones of something that's going to happen tonight as you turn on your tubes and your TVs to watch election returns on Super Tuesday. Senator McCain is most likely going to win a lot of the early winner take all states in the East. The Drive-By Media will play this up as big as you have seen anything played up. "McCain sweeping to victory tonight in the East, look at what's happening here, Tim." "Yes, Tom, we see this as a -- why, this is a repudiation of all these people." They're going to try to make these eastern states sound like it is over.

And you people in the Midwest and in the Central time zone, Mountain time zone, Pacific time zone, do not be affected by this, because the purpose of the Drive-Bys will be to suppress the vote in later closing states, especially in the West, where it's looking good or very close for Romney in California. It's looking good for Romney in Georgia as well. So, folks, I'm telling you, if you're going to watch this stuff tonight, put a sign under your TV: "Media Trying To Manipulate Me Into Not Voting." Don't listen to them. Remind yourself because that's exactly what's going to happen.

UPDATE: WaPo liberals thrilled with McCain victories

NOT so fast, Mr McCain

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  • Brian wrote:

    "Meanwhile, the media would rather make fun of Romney's hair than take a substantive look at where he stands on the issues."

    God, is it so fun and easy to call you on your hypocricy. From your December 17, 2007 posting:

    "In October, the same publication broke news of the Breck Girl's affair, but this bombshell will likely do far more damage. The big question: will it ruin Edwards in Iowa, or create a backlash against Hillary there?"

    So, you use one of the most tired cliches to describe John Edwards to repeat a scurrilous rumor that has proven to be absolutely false and then you want to criticize a random comment about Romney's hair? Enough with your self-righteous moralizing, Brian. You're no better than the MSM you criticize.

    By Blogger Dave Carroll, at 05 February, 2008 20:24  

  • Limbaugh is totally out of touch with his own audience.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 05 February, 2008 20:30  

  • The media is lapping this up - they enjoy any chance to pit conservative against conservative, Republican against Republican. Thing is...all that aside... Super Tuesday was huge, and there is a strategy for Mitt Romney coming out of a day like today:

    There...there is it. It's a strategy overlooked by the mainstream media.

    I think it's great.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 February, 2008 00:50  

  • Brian, I have enjoyed your blog for some time now - although I've never posted - as a way to keep up with the stupidity of liberal talk radio etc.

    Unfortunately you're just unreadable now, with recent posts being little more than transcripts from Rush's ego-maniacal, self-serving and hysterical rants (also not easily said since I've been a fan of his for years!)

    The word 'sycophant' seems appropriate and it's sad to see a person like you play that demeaning role.

    It's equally difficult to watch most of conservative talk radio and (previously) respected blogs descend into Coulterish insanity.

    I never thought I'd agree with Ed Schultz on much of anything but his statement that the big loser in tonight's election was conservative talk radio is undeniable. I just hope it isn't irreparable.

    Please get back to calling attention to the danger and inanity of liberal radio - we're going to need all the help we can get to put John McCain in the White House.

    Hillary/Obama = Fairness Doctrine

    (among other horrors!)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 February, 2008 04:35  

  • Mike S, this site reflects the news cycle and it is loaded with references to Rush nearly everywhere one can look.

    The news media and candidates decided to make Limbaugh the focus this year, not me. It would be foolish to ignore the biggest story out there this election season.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 06 February, 2008 10:30  

  • Please get back to calling attention to the danger and inanity of liberal radio

    Huh? The dangers of having radio that speaks the views of the vast majority of America? dseal with it, "liberal radio" reflects the views of most of America, it just eats you alive, does it not?

    This proves my theory, conservativers are terrified of the American people, hence they find populist radio a "danger". Cons are elitist swine. As bad as "liberal" radio is, itstill reflects the 80% of the country, who rejects neo-conservatism.

    Mike S: does the concept of the people having a voice scare you?

    reality check mike S: WE THE PEOPLE REJECT NEO-CONS, PALEO-CONS and PSUEDO-CONS, when we the people ALL VOTE, conservatism is destroyed.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 06 February, 2008 10:59  

  • >this site reflects the news cycle and it is loaded with references to Rush nearly everywhere one can look.

    C'mon, Brian, that's not what my point was and you have to know that. It's one thing to reference Rush to the extent his influence demands, it's another to grovel to him and his out of control ego and simply transcribe paragraph after paragraph of whatever rant against 'not real conservatives' he's on that particular day.

    All I wish is that you'd get back to some semblance of proportion so your site would be worth visiting again.

    What's really sad is watching so many talk show hosts and bloggers who have had my utmost respect be consumed by McCain hatred.

    I don't even have to visit democraticunderground any more for my regular dose of expressions of Derangement Syndrome. I just turn on Rush or Levin for the few minutes I can stand to listen to the hysteria. Or I visit my regular sites such as yours.

    So sad that it's funny in a pathetic sort of way, to watch emotion overrule the rationality that is supposed to be the defining character of the conservative mind.

    I'm sure President Clinton will provide lots of fodder for 3 hour timeslots and blogs for the next 8 years.

    Except of course Rush is going to be 'balanced' by the suddenly resurrected Air America, thanks to the Fairness Doctrine, so he'll probably only end up with 1.5 hours a day.

    Not to mention surrender in Iraq and the war on terror and the loss of the Supreme Court for a generation.

    But the media is talking about Rush!, they're quoting Rush!, they're referencing Rush! so 'conservatism' is actually doing quite well, thank you very much.

    Meanwhile Ann Coulter descends into humorless paranoid viciousness that makes Mike Malloy appear somewhat sane.

    Oh well...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 February, 2008 13:26  

  • Mike S said: Except of course Rush is going to be 'balanced' by the suddenly resurrected Air America, thanks to the Fairness Doctrine, so he'll probably only end up with 1.5 hours a day.

    Acutally it is much worse than your description. The Fairness Doctrine permits not only the opposing viewpoint, but all so-called legitimate viewpoints.

    Just imagine what would happen if a radio announcer decided to give his opinion on a subject like gay marriage. We would be forced to listen to opposing responses from the homosexuals and lesbians, the ACLU view, the Muslim anti-gay view, the Constitution lawyers, the religious far-right, Green Peace, the Global Warming nuts (no kids are good for the environment) and on and on.

    If you thought the Air American ratings were atrocious, just wait until the Fairness Doctrine is put in place.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 06 February, 2008 13:50  

  • >Limbaugh is totally out of touch with his own audience.

    I wish you were right, hashfanatic, but sadly I believe most Rush fans do agree with him and are willing to commit political suicide because of their irrational hatred of John McCain.

    But they'll be ideologically 'pure' as Hillary takes the oath of office in January 2009 with a filibuster-proof Senate and a overwhelming Democrat majority in the House.

    Some consolation to the rest of us who held out the hope that one Justice, just one, would be appointed by a pro-life president named McCain, to reverse at last the ceaseless holocaust against precious unborn life.

    And then, obviously, there's the inevitable Democrat surrender to Islamofascism as Hillary turns to the UN and the EU for direction on American foreign policy.

    Goodbye Israel as a nuclear Iran fulfills their promise. Followed by the inevitable attack(s) on our own homeland.

    But all that is of no consequence because RUSH! is on every media person's lips yesterday, today and forever. And that's what America is all about, isn't it - one man's ego and need to be the subject of every conversation and his demand to dictate our party's leader.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 February, 2008 13:51  

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