On March 29, the Los Angeles Times published an op-ed by Andrew Klavan, a contributing editor of the Manhattan Institute's quarterly magazine, City Journal, in which Klavan claimed of Rush Limbaugh: "I listen to Limbaugh every chance I get, and I have never heard the man utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word." Klavan then issued to "liberals" what he referred to as "the Limbaugh Challenge," writing: "Listen to the show. Not for five minutes but for several hours: an hour a day for several days. Consider what he has to say -- the real policy material under the jokes and teasing bluster. Do what your intellectual keepers do not want you to do and keep an open mind." Media Matters for America, however, listens to the entire Rush Limbaugh Show everyday and has documented numerous examples of Limbaugh spewing offensive commentary and basic misstatements of fact. Media Matters recently launched the Limbaugh Wire, providing hour-by-hour coverage of and commentary on Limbaugh's program.
Below are some examples of offensive commentary and falsehoods by Limbaugh that Media Matters has documented in just the last month, complete with audio:
- Limbaugh on the flu: "[A]nything you can do to stop it or to arrest it or to retard -- sorry -- to 'Special Olympic' its duration, then it -- you should do it"
- Limbaugh: "They know [Obama is] lying through his teeth and they still support him. It just means this: what women have always known, 'cheat on me, just don't tell me about it' " (subsequent "apolog[y]" here)
- Limbaugh on Obama: "It's like I said yesterday: cheat on me but don't tell me ... He's a cult leader. Battered liberal syndrome. Cheat on me, just don't tell me"
- Limbaugh on "bogus statistic that 1 of 50 American children are homeless": "Would somebody tell me the last time you saw a kid sleeping under a bridge?"
- Limbaugh on Employee Free Choice Act: "One day Tony Soprano will walk in with a lead pipe and he will start beating people upside the head to vote to unionize"
- Limbaugh on health care legislation: "Before it's all over, it'll be called the Ted Kennedy memorial health care bill"
- Limbaugh finds it "hilarious" that "three dingbats ... are about to die" looking for proof of global warming
- Limbaugh expands upon his Rep. Frank-Joe McCarthy comparison and the "popular myth that McCarthy falsely accused people of things"
- Limbaugh airs clip of Hillary Clinton, asks his listeners, "Doesn't that remind you of your first, and maybe your second, both, your ex-wives?"
- Limbaugh: "These mainstream media people, the drive-bys inside the Beltway ... They are butt boys for the Obama administration"
A Media Matters compilation of some of Limbaugh's most outrageous remarks prior to March can be found here.
From Klavan's March 29 Los Angeles Times op-ed, "Take the Limbaugh Challenge":
If you are reading this newspaper, the likelihood is that you agree with the Obama administration's recent attacks on conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh. That's the likelihood; here's the certainty: You've never listened to Rush Limbaugh.
You're not a moderate or you wouldn't be reading this newspaper. You're not tolerant of a wide range of views; you are tolerant of a narrow spectrum of variations on your views. And, whatever you claim, you still haven't listened to Rush Limbaugh.
Which leads to a question: Why not? I mean, come on, the guy's one of the figures of the age. Aren't you even curious? I listen to all your guys: NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, The Times, the New York Times, the New Yorker -- I check out the whole left-wing hallelujah chorus. Why are you afraid to spend a couple of hours listening to Limbaugh's show and seriously considering if and why you disagree with him?
Let me guess at your answer. You don't need to listen to him. You've heard enough to know he's a) racist, b) hateful, c) stupid, d) merely an outrageous entertainer not to be taken seriously or e) all of the above.
Now let me tell you the real answer: You're a lowdown, yellow-bellied, lily-livered intellectual coward. You're terrified of finding out he makes more sense than you do.
I listen to Limbaugh every chance I get, and I have never heard the man utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word. Do I always agree with him? Of course not. I'm a conservative; I think for myself. But Limbaugh, by turns insightful, satiric, raucously funny and wise, is one of the best voices talking about first principles and policy in the country today.
Therefore, I am throwing down my gauntlet at your quivering liberal feet. I hereby issue my challenge -- the Limbaugh Challenge: Listen to the show. Not for five minutes but for several hours: an hour a day for several days. Consider what he has to say -- the real policy material under the jokes and teasing bluster. Do what your intellectual keepers do not want you to do and keep an open mind. Ask yourself: What's he getting at? Why does he say the things he says? Why do so many people of goodwill -- like that nice Mr. Klavan -- agree with him?
The mainstream media (a.k.a. the Matrix) don't want you to listen to Limbaugh because they're afraid he'll wake you up and set you free of their worldview. You don't want to listen to him because you're afraid of the same thing.
Don't believe me? Well, then, gird your loins. Gather your courage. Accept the Limbaugh Challenge. See what happens.
I dare you.
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