Rush Limbaugh, and the rest of the story

February 26, 2021

Dan Price on LinkedIn, explaining what Rush Limbaugh got wrong

Dan Price on LinkedIn, explaining what Rush Limbaugh got wrong

Too few remember Paul Harvey now. In some ways that’s good — his columns for southern states of the old Confederacy were not the often-cheery dispenser of news and wisdom we heard at noon on ABC’s national radio network. Meaning, I found the columns too often-racist, and too seldom supporting freedom and civil rights. But Harvey hit on a good story-telling format that he marketed as “The Rest of the Story,” and selling hope, he was rarely racist and often informative.

“The Rest of the Story” was a five-minute insert, syndicated by ABC or someone else, often run in the afternoon on AM stations. Harvey would tell about a person who encountered a problem, and describe how the problem was solved and how happy it made people. Something like, ‘As an adopted immigrant child, young Steven didn’t take well to academic settings, coming close to flunking out of schools and finally dropping out of college, though sticking around campus to learn design, a topic the school didn’t have a major in.’ Then there’d be a lot more about things that sounded like failures, until young Steven started tinkering with building computers but got hammered by other computer makers in the market place, though people said they liked his machines. Then one day another worker at his company convinced him to build a phone, even though it was likely Steven would lose big in a market dominated by other legacy companies. But he introduction went well, and someone asked him what they’d call the phone to distinguish it from others. “‘We call it the iPhone,’ Steven said. And now you know the rest of the story.”

Harvey never used the format to criticize or denigrate anyone, which surprised me considering his newspaper columns. I wish someone had used the format recently when Rush Limbaugh died. You hate to say bad things about someone who recently passed; but Limbaugh was a special case. He created anger and division with his radio program, and he profited and reveled in that anger and division.

On LinkedIn, someone posted this story; and it fits the Paul Harvey format so well, and doesn’t really criticize Limbaugh that much.

Dan Price took the astonishing action of slashing executive compensation and dramatically raising pay for workers in his company. It was news for a couple of weeks. During that time critics of equality, like Limbaugh, lambasted Price and his company, and the idea of equity and equality in pay for workers. Then the story fell out of the headlines — except perhaps for snark from critics like Limbaugh.

Here’s what Price said in his Linked-In post:

Dan Price
Dan Price • 2nd Founder/CEO, Gravity Payments
1 week ago
I grew up listening to Rush Limbaugh 3 hours a day as a home-schooled kid. My parents idolized him.
5 years ago my parents called me: “Rush is about to talk about you!” I was in the news for slashing my CEO pay to raise our min wage to $70k. I excitedly turned on his show.

Rush said: “I hope this company is a case study in MBA programs on how socialism does not work because it’s gonna fail.” I was devastated. My dad said Rush got it wrong. But it led to a flood of hate-mail against me.

Rush was right: we were a MBA case study. Harvard Business School concluded the $70k min wage was a huge success. Our revenue tripled. Retention & productivity skyrocketed. We were featured as success stories in the BBC & NY Times.

Rush incorrectly said everyone would make $70k when only me & a few new employees do. It’s a min wage. It’s not socialism; he knew that. He never agreed to have me on to give my side or do an updated story on our success.

His listeners still assume we failed. A top auto-complete search for our company is “out of business.” I’ve had 5 years to tell our story & prove him wrong but most people crushed with misinformation don’t have that luxury.

I’m sad he died & my thoughts are with his family. But I’m not sad his show is over. He hurt a lot of people with his words.

Price was victimized by Limbaugh. But Price was right, and his company and workers won.

Now you know the rest of the story.


Post-Valentine’s Day olla podrida

February 22, 2013

How’s the NRA going to spin this one?

Psy got more than 7 billion views on one video.  Can you help Sesame Street get to one billion, total?  It’s a better cause.  And it may frost the heck out of Sal Khan, too.

Sesame Street actually has a lot of video up for YouTube use — that is, for your use.  This is one of the most important educational sites on the entire internet. 992,469,603 total views at this moment.

Whose educational video works best, Sal Khan’s or Cookie Monsters?

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, said she doesn’t think we need an increase in the minimum wage, especially not to the $9 level President Obama asked.  She said her $2.15 minimum wage was enough . . .

Oops:

At that time, the minimum wage was $1.60, equivalent to $10.56 in today’s terms. Today’s minimum wage is equivalent to just $1.10 an hour in 1968 dollars, meaning the teenage Blackburn managed to enter the workforce making almost double the wage she now says is keeping teenagers out of the workforce.

Do Republicans ever learn history, or make the minor mathematical calculations to adjust for historic inflation?  Pretty tough to flunk history, math and economics in such a short statement.

Is there a rational reason that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s  solutions to U.S. problems always involve economic pain to others?  Will cuts in food and health care make these 600,000 children smarter, too?

Here you go, Mittens in winter:

The Mittens in winter, by Howard Noel, via National Wildlife Federation

Caption from the National Wildlife Federation: Howard Noel’s photo of Monument Valley captures the East and West Mitten Buttes, as well as Merrick’s Butte on the right. These natural sandstone and shale structures are just a few of the world-famous geological features in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, located along the Arizona-Utah state line within the Navajo Nation Reservation. The Utah resident used a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera and a 24-105mm lens.

Where in Utah does Howard Noel hail from?  While I’ve been by these formations in winter, it was never with a camera to catch the snow.  This park is an ideal place to spend a couple of days learning landscape photography, if you’re looking for a place to try out your new camera.  Great place to be anytime, for me.

Hey, if you’re planning drive to see the Mittens, you should be aware that part of Highway 89 is out of commission due to a slump off the roadway between Flagstaff and Page, Arizona — the Navajo Reservation being as large as it is, and as unroaded as it is, when a main road goes out, detours can be spectacularly long.   Earthly Musings carries geological explanations, history and great photos.  How much detour?  This one requires a job to the east, through Tuba City, probably adding about an hour to the trip between those two cities.

The Arizona Department of Transportation says traffic will detour around the closure by using U.S. 160 and State Route 98, adding 45 miles of driving. (emphasis added here)

Meanwhile, in the rest of America? This is okay.  America is ashamed of Rush Limbaugh’s ranting, too.  Fair, no?

Why was the death toll so high in season 3 of “Downton Abbey?”  Writer Julian Fellowes explained it’s a kind of contract issue — anti-regulation types will no doubt crawl out of the woodwork to complain about government interference in the right of contract in English theatre.


How do Catholics really feel?

March 13, 2012

From an article in the current New Yorker:

Just after Limbaugh lashed out at Fluke, a Georgetown professor attended a reunion at a Catholic school in Queens. An elderly nun asked her, “Do you know that girl?” She added, “That awful man should be fired for what he said. How’s she holding up?”

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2012/03/19/120319taco_talk_talbot#ixzz1p0cHEEVv

A lot more serious, good thought in that article by Margaret Talbot, “Taking Control,” billed as a discussion of the real reasons for the recent conservative attacks on women.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Frank Milewski, off in the wilds of Michigan.


The wolf that keeps me from using Carbonite

December 5, 2011

A couple of computer crashes and a couple of stolen flashdrives convince me on-line storage might be a good idea.

How could anyone not appreciate a company like Carbonite, named after a Star Wars concept?

So, I wander to the company’s website, and I see this:

Rush Limbaugh endorses Carbonite on-line storage

Rush Limbaugh for Carbonite

Rush Limbaugh?  Seriously?

How can I buy Carbonite if it’s being pushed by Rush?


Rush Limbaugh and Fort Worth, Texas

October 20, 2011

To complain about the horrific defense of the child maiming, rape-sowing, war-crimes committing “Lord’s Resistance Army” made by Rush Limbaugh the other day, I sought out the Dallas-Fort Worth station that carries the program.  Limbaugh’s show is carried on WBAP-AM in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  So I dropped an e-mail to the station to ask if they support Rush’s views, and asking how they will try to rein in the rogue talker.

No answer, yet, of course.

But on the way I ran into something that made me laugh, even if you don’t find it funny.

I went to Limbaugh’s site to check for transcripts, and to find which station in this area carries his program (no, I am not a regular listener by any stretch.

WBAP-AM 1320 was one of the early “clear channel” stations in the U.S., a 50,000-watt powerhouse whose signal could cover from San Francisco to just west of the Appalachians on a night with the appropriate weather.  25 years ago truckers used it as a beacon (and may still for all I know — I’ve not ridden with the long-haul truckers since I got to Texas).  It’s a famous station, and Rush Limbaugh should be flattered that they would carry his excrement  program.

So I found “Texas,” and I found WBAP listed in Fort Worth (no one else in Dallas).  Here’s the line the listing was on, copied from Limbaugh’s site; click on “WBAP” and see where you go:

Fort Worth WBAP-AM 820 M-F 11a-2p

It says “WBAP-AM” in Fort Worth, Texas; but it takes you to WBAB, 102.3 FM on Long Island, New York.  WBAB 102.3 is a rock ‘n roll station.  It ain’t WBAP-AM 1320 in Fort Worth, not by a longhorn steer’s horn spread.

I wonder how long the Limbaugh show has had the wrong URL for the station in Fort Worth, and I wonder if it has made any difference in listeners getting through or advertisers.  I wonder how long it will remain with the wrong URL, and whether anyone cares at WBAP, WBAB, or the Limbaugh show.

Maybe I should just write directly to the “license renewal file” at the FCC.


Because Obama opposes them, Limbaugh endorses terrorists and murderers

October 18, 2011

There may be no better demonstration of how the blind, unthinking and unfounded hatred of Barack Obama has skewed the rationality of conservatives than Rush Limbaugh’s endorsement of the war criminals, murdering “Lord’s Resistance Army”  (LRA) in Central Africa.

Watch this short excerpt from a PBS documentary, “The Lord’s Children”:

Original PBS airdate: Tuesday, July 29, 2008. The region of Northern Uganda was ravaged by one of Africa’s longest civil wars until 2006. For over 20 years, more than 65,000 children, some as young as five years old, have been kidnapped by Uganda’s anti-government rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and forced to serve as child soldiers and sex slaves.

Under the command of LRA leader Joseph Kony, these children have been terrorized into committing the worst atrocities, even killing their own families. Lord’s Children follows three former LRA soldiers who escaped from the bush and have since taken refuge in a rehabilitation center. WIDE ANGLE is with the center’s counselors as they help the physically and emotionally scarred children put their lives back together.

For more information, visit http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/lords-children/introduction/1769/

Oh, one may have second and third thoughts about President Obama’s dispatching of “advisers” to help Uganda’s government fight the LRA.  Anyone who remembers Vietnam would think twice about such a deployment, though Rush appears not to remember Vietnam at all (!), and ignores the dramatic success of Obama’s policies toward Libya over the past year.

Worse, Limbaugh appears to believe the LRA is a simple group of Christians fighting for freedom.

So that’s a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda, and — (interruption) no, I’m not kidding.

You should read Matt Yglesias’s comments on Limbaugh’s despicable claims:

Victim of Lord's Resistance Army - image from Human Rights Watch via Matt Yglesias

(Image of a victim of a machete attack by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) - Human Rights Watch via Matt Yglesias))

I don’t have a really strong view on whether or not it’s advisable to dispatch a small number of US combat troops to help fight the Lord’s Resistance Army. My instinct is to be skeptical. I want to see less military intervention, not more. But Rush Limbaugh’s instinct is to embrace brutal murderers:

Now, up until today, most Americans have never heard of the combat Lord’s Resistance Army. And here we are at war with them. Have you ever heard of Lord’s Resistance Army, Dawn? How about you, Brian? Snerdley, have you? You never heard of Lord’s Resistance Army? Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. It means God. I was only kidding. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. That’s what the lingo means, “to help regional forces remove from the battlefield,” meaning capture or kill. […]

Lord’s Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people.” Now, again Lord’s Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord’s Resistance Army, what they’re trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology.” Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.

This post is illustrated with a photo of a man who survived a Lord’s Resistance Army machete attack and has the gashes on his head to prove it. You can read more about it courtesy of Human Rights Watch:

LRA forces attacked at least 10 villages, capturing, killing, and abducting hundreds of civilians, including women and children. The vast majority of those killed were adult men, whom LRA combatants first tied up and then hacked to death with machetes or crushed their skulls with axes and heavy wooden sticks. The dead include at least 13 women and 23 children, the youngest a 3-year-old girl who was burned to death. LRA combatants tied some of the victims to trees before crushing their skulls with axes.

The LRA also killed those they abducted who walked too slowly or tried to escape. Family members and local authorities later found bodies all along the LRA’s 105-kilometer journey through the Makombo area and the small town of Tapili. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that for days and weeks after the attack, this vast area was filled with the “stench of death.”

I think reasonable people can disagree as to whether or not chasing a relatively small band of depraved mass murderers around central africa is a reasonable thing for American military personel to be doing. But let’s make no mistake—these are depraved mass murderers. And yet Rush Limbaugh is pleased to welcome them as fellow Christian allies.

Oy.

If Limbaugh has a human brain cell and human heart cell left, surely he will retract this bizarre endorsement of terrorists.

You don’t know about the LRA?  I suppose it’s possible people have slept through the past two decades or forgotten the news reports.  The group has been terrorizing Sudan and Uganda since 1987.  The facts from Wikipedia:

“The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants on 8 July and 27 September 2005 against Joseph Kony, his deputy Vincent Otti, and LRA commanders Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen. The five LRA leaders were charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, sexual slavery, and enlisting of children as combatants. The warrants were filed under seal; public redacted versions were released on 13 October 2005.”

  • You may wish to start with the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Uganda Recovery Act of 2010:
    The Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act was a 2010 act of Congress promoted by the Obama administration that makes it American policy to kill or capture Joseph Kony and to crush his rebellion once and for all. According to the President, “The legislation crystallizes the commitment of the United States to help bring an end to the brutality and destruction that have been a hallmark of the LRA across several countries for two decades, and to pursue a future of greater security and hope for the people of central Africa.”[1][2]

Limbaugh’s actions are really beyond the pale. Clearly he is undergoing some kind of mental disturbance.  Is there any organization over him to see he gets the treatment he needs,  and get him off the air before he does more damage?  Responsible radio stations should pull his program until there is a retraction and some sort of indication that the man is not himself a threat to the country — assuming he thought he knew what he was doing.

Call your local Limbaugh outlet, ask if they endorse terrorism, too.  If they don’t endorse terrorism, ask what they intend to say and do about Limbaugh.


I get e-mail: Media Matters calls bluffs of climate change “skeptics”

July 10, 2010

Media Matters may be a site worth tracking more closely, not only on climate issues:

Media Matters: The greatest science “scandal” “in the history of man” predictably falls apart

In their never-ending quest to prove that they understand the intricacies of climate science better than actual climate scientists, conservative media figures routinely promote any ridiculous “evidence” they think undermines the scientific consensus about climate change.

This is a group that repeatedly points to snowstorms in February as proof that global warming is not real; claims that CO2 can’t be a pollutant because “we breathe” it; and ignores actual temperature data to baselessly claim that the Earth is really “cooling.”

Last year, conservative climate change skeptics, in the words of Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel, thought they had found a “gold mine.” Conservative media figures seized on emails stolen from climate scientists and proceeded to completely distort their contents. As we pointed out repeatedly at the time, this “scandal” relied on outrageous misrepresentations of the stolen emails and did not in any way undermine the scientific consensus about climate change.

Nevertheless, conservative media figures incessantly hyped the non-scandal with their usual overblown rhetoric:

  • Glenn Beck — who says he is not a conspiracy theorist, remember — suggested in the wake of “Climategate” that climate change is a “scam.” He also said that if the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report “had been done by Japanese scientists, there is not enough knives on planet Earth for hara-kiri.”
  • Noted climatologist Rush Limbaugh, who frequently decries the supposed global warming “hoax,” proposed that all of the scientists involved in “Climategate” should be “named and fired, drawn and quartered, or whatever it is.”
  • Andrew Breitbart called for “capital punishment” for NASA scientist James Hansen, because “Climategate” was supposedly “high treason.”
  • The Washington Times, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Investor’s Business Daily, The American Spectator’s Robert Stacy McCain, Rich Lowry, Newsmax’s James Hirsen, and Michael Ledeen all joined forces to smear the scientific consensus on climate change as a “cult.”
  • Fox News’ Mike Huckabee explained that “Jesus would be a truthseeker” while discussing the “revelation” that scientists had “cooked” climate change data.

The crew at Fox & Friends spent this year’s Earth Day promoting an important cause. No, not encouraging environmental consciousness — they devoted the show to pushing “Climategate” falsehoods in order to falsely claim that “scientists held back data that discredits theories on global warming.” They were joined by Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, who was there to complain about non-Fox networks “dismiss[ing]” and “ignor[ing]” the story.

Last December, Bozell told Lou Dobbs that “Climategate” is the “biggest scandal in terms of science, finance, and politics … in the history of man.” After Bozell compared the climate science “cover-up” to “the craziness” of Dan Brown’s fiction, he actually managed to draw laughter from Dobbs. Unfortunately, contrary to Bozell’s suggestion that media outlets ignored the story, numerous non-Fox “Climategate” stories adopted conservatives’ dishonest framing of the non-story.

And now for the inevitable conclusion of this manufactured controversy.

As reported by The New York Times’ Andrew Revkin — who, by the way, Rush Limbaugh thinks should “just go kill” himself — the Independent Climate Change Email Review “cleared climate scientists and administrators” involved in “Climategate” of “malfeasance.” This follows several other exonerations of the scientists involved in the phony scandal. In response, Media Matters, joined by numerous progressive and clean energy groups, called on all outlets that reported on the original “Climategate” controversy to set the record straight.

So this leaves us where we were before the “Climategate” freakout: There is still overwhelming scientific evidence supporting the theory of global warming.

And once again conservative media proved that they don’t hesitate to rely on blatant distortions, outright falsehoods, and a complete disregard for reality to advance their political causes.

Mainstream media outlets would be doing everyone a service if they remembered that the next time they decide to report on whatever Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Fox News, and the perpetual conservative outrage machine are yelling about.

Conservatives’ phony scandal of the week: The Obama Justice Department and the New Black Panther Party

While we’re on the subject of manufactured scandals that respectable media outlets shouldn’t take seriously, Fox News and its friends in the conservative echo chamber spent much of the week promoting phony, trumped-up allegations against the Justice Department.

In short, conservative media outlets have been aggressively promoting the charge by GOP activist J. Christian Adams that President Obama’s Justice Department engaged in racially charged “corruption” when it partially dismissed a case against members of the New Black Panther Party for allegedly engaging in voter intimidation outside of a Philadelphia polling center on Election Day in 2008.

As we have documented extensively, Adams should not be trusted. He is a long-time right-wing activist with extensive ties to the Bush-era politicization of the Justice Department. Adams himself has admitted that he lacks first-hand knowledge to support his accusations. Additionally, Adams’ charge that the DOJ’s action in the New Black Panther case shows unprecedented, racially motivated corruption is undermined by the fact that the Obama DOJ obtained judgment against one of the defendants, and that the Bush DOJ declined to pursue similar allegations against a group of Minutemen — one of whom was carrying a gun — in 2006.

Even the Republican vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights called the New Black Panthers case “very small potatoes” and said an investigation into the DOJ’s decision is full of “overheated rhetoric filled with insinuations and unsubstantiated charges.”

And yet again, the fact that this is a completely manufactured scandal didn’t stop conservative media figures from engaging in one of their time-honored traditions: attempting to obscure their own problems with race by accusing others of racism.

Radio host Jim Quinn — who once told “race-baiting” African-American “ingrates” to “get on your knees” and “kiss the American dirt” because slavery brought them to the U.S. — hyped the New Black Panther story by calling the civil rights community “race-baiting poverty pimps.”

Rush Limbaugh — who earlier this week announced that if Obama wasn’t black he’d be a “tour guide in Honolulu” and claimed Obama is using the office of the presidency to seek “payback” for the country’s history of racism — forwarded Adams’ charge that the case was dropped because of racially charged corruption.

Beck, who infamously called President Obama a “racist” with a “deep seated hatred for white people or the white culture,” declared that the Obama administration is “full” of “people that will excuse” the “hatred” of the New Black Panthers. He also relied on falsehoods to try to connect Obama to the New Black Panthers, and claimed today that the New Black Panthers are part of Obama’s “army of thugs.”

Of course, the New Black Panthers are a fringe hate group, and only a cynical race-baiter like Glenn Beck would claim they are somehow part of Barack Obama’s imaginary “army of thugs.”

But I’m sure they appreciate all of the publicity, courtesy of Glenn Beck and Fox News.

Bek Younuhvercity

This week also marked the launch of Beck’s latest attempt to grab money from “educate” his audience: Beck University.

As Beck described it, the online Beck University is an “academic program” that would be a “unique experience bringing together experts in the fields of religion, American history, and economics.” At the outset of the first “course” — Faith 101, with frequent Beck guest/promoter of historical misinformation David Barton — Beck announced that viewers “will learn more in the next hour than you’ve probably learned in your entire life about American history.”

Laughable hyperbole aside, as we pointed out this week, Glenn Beck is uniquely unqualified to found a university, considering he regularly traffics in bizarre conspiracy theories, distortions, and downright falsehoods on a wide variety of subjects.

The day after the first “course” at Beck University, Beck stood in front of his blackboard and labeled various historical figures “heros” or “villians.”

And lastly, by my count, between his TV show last night and his radio program today, Beck launched no fewer than four baseless charges that, by his standards, should get him fired.

This weekly wrap-up was compiled by Media Matters’ Ben Dimiero.

Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad, Euripides said (paraphrased).  With that ancient wisdom in hand, one might be well advised not to stand next to Glenn Beck or Fox News.

If Glenn Beck wishes to know the evils of Woodrow Wilson or Theodore Roosevelt, I can point him to sources.  In spite of those evils, however, they remain heroes of American history for the good things they did.  Beck criticizes them for those good things, however, and not for their failures (including Wilson’s patent racism, and Roosevelt’s failure to push for integration at opportune times — to Beck, those would be virtues, I fear).

Visit Media Matters here, sign up for Media Matters’ e-mail newsletter here.


Advice for the hungry, from a silly man who can’t control his appetites

June 18, 2010

Cassie graduated from high school and has already moved on to college.  College is where our young Diogenes get bigger and brighter lamps to search with.

And so it is that Cassie calls Rush Limbaugh on what is surely one of the most offensive things he’s ever said.

To this woman:

Dorothea Lange's photo, "Migrant Mother"

Photo by Dorothea Lange

Rush said, “Go to McDonald’s.”

No, seriously.  Go read the transcript at Media Matters, it gets worse; he’s commenting on the report that a lot of kids will go hungry in America over the summer because they are not attending school where they get a good meal every day:

There are also things in what’s called the kitchen of your house called cupboards. And in those cupboards, most likely you’re going to find Ding-Dongs, Twinkies, Lays ridgy potato chips, all kinds of dip and maybe a can of corn that you don’t want, but it will be there. If that doesn’t work, try a Happy Meal at McDonald’s. You know where McDonald’s is. There’s the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s and if they don’t have Chicken McNuggets, dial 911 and ask for Obama.

And — you know, Dave Barry wouldn’t make this stuff up even if he could, because it’s not funny — Rush said this:

There’s another place if none of these options work to find food; there’s always the neighborhood dumpster. Now, you might find competition with homeless people there, but there are videos that have been produced to show you how to healthfully dine and how to dumpster dive and survive until school kicks back up in August. Can you imagine the benefit we would provide people?

A few of my students do that.  They would be the first to tell Rush, it’s not a great way to get a good meal.

Rush should be ashamed of himself.  Perhaps he has no sense of shame.

It’s not as if the signs of hunger in America were not clearly visible.

Vermont Food Bank, via David Osler, Dave's Part

The refrigerator is empty. Image from David Osler

Yeah, I know:  Rush is deaf.  Really. I didn’t know he is blind, and heartless, too.

It’s time he go mute, on his own.  Get out of the way and let some hungry person, some person hungry for the truth, take over the microphone and speak the facts.  Maybe Rush should turn over the microphone to Cassie — she’s got real experience, and a real heart.


What’s a journalist’s duty? Limbaugh ignores warning signs, punks himself

October 25, 2009

Millard Fillmore’s bathtub came out of a hoax story written in 1917 by one of America’s greatest cynics and writers, H. L. Mencken. Mencken lived to regret that he ever wrote the piece, after it was cited as fact by encyclopedias and critics of Fillmore’s presidency.

Mencken’s story holds a moral, a lesson for all critics of the American scene, and especially anyone who comments on political figures:  Verify everything.

Ernest Hemingway put it best, if crudely:   “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.”*

If a writer or reporter doesn’t have one of those devices built-in, he is likely to find himself up to his chin in it after having failed to detect it in time to avoid the plunge.

Rush Limbaugh is in it up to his chin right now, after following Michael Ledeen off the dock.

Faithful readers here — all dozen of ’em — may remember last January when we spotlighted a hoax at a blog called Jumping in Pools; the author claimed President Obama had ordered members our armed forces to take an oath of allegiance to Obama in place of their regular oath to the nation.

Orson Welles was on to something with his “War of the Worlds” broadcast.  In fact, after that first night of panic, the same script was used on other occasions, and people still got suckered in.  (Listen to the RadioLab feature on this phenomenon — it’s wonderful.)

It’s almost as if people were going around with signs on their backs that say “Lie to me, baby!”  Only, the people put the signs on their shirts and blouses themselves.

For whatever ill-thought, malicious reason, somebody invented an absolutely unbelievable hoax that President Obama asked the Pentagon to have military people swear allegiance to him, instead of the nation. Jumping in Pools posted it.

Jumping in Pools also listed it as satire, in tags.

But the hoax sucked in the gullible all over the web.

Limbaugh?  Ledeen?  Y’all would do well to read this blog, Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub.  You might have recognized the name of the blog, Jumping in Pools, that carried that phantasmagorical story about Barack Obama’s student essay, finally being released in part to Time Magazine’s Joe Klein.

Yahoo!’s Buzz Up explained the story, with links you ought to check out:

It must have seemed so perfect. An obscure blogger unearths some pages of President Obama’s college thesis. The report supposedly comes from big-time journalist Joe Klein of Time magazine. And the thesis has some real gems: like Obama’s disdain for the Constitution.

The whole thing was nothing more than a satirical post on a humor blog. But Rush Limbaugh, who quoted from the supposed thesis on his radio show, sure wasn’t laughing. Here’s how it went down.

An unknown blogger picked up on a made-up post meant as a joke, which claimed that Joe Klein had gotten his hands on 10 pages of student Obama’s college thesis. Rush Limbaugh jumped on it, which immediately sparked Web searches on “obama thesis.”

Supposedly titled “Aristocracy Revisited,” the excerpt revealed the president had “doubts” about the “so-called founders.” Juicy. Except not true. Limbaugh discovered halfway through his show that he’d been had, but defended himself by saying basically the thesis felt true. Listen in to Rush’s mea sorta culpa.

Joe Klein finally jumped in, and called the report “nonsense” on his Swampland blog, and the blogger who thought the hoax was real also apologized.

Michael Ledeen writing at Pajamas Media was that “blogger who thought the hoax was real.”

Ledeen had the good grace to apologize (and in doing so reveal that he really should have been much more en garde):

The hoax/satire was written in August, so it’s not connected to any current event.  I cam across it on Twitter, read the blog, found it interesting, and posted on it.  I failed to notice that one of the tags was “satire.”

So he got me, and lots of others. It worked because it’s plausible.  I’ve done satirical pieces myself, and I know how they can take off.  I once wrote one that said that Bill Casey did not die, and was hiding in a bunker under the St Andrews golf course from which he was running Mikhail Gorbachev.  I thought it was obviously satirical, but it went like wildfire all over the world.  And that was in the days before the Internet.

So I should have picked up some hint, but I didn’t.  Shame on me.

But Limbaugh?  He railed on for more than half an hour on the evils of Obama revealed in the completely fictional essay; and then when he was alerted to the fact that it was a hoax, he didn’t apologize.  He said he was suckered in because the hoax was plausible, and Obama might have done such a thing.

“I know Obama thinks it,” Limbaugh said, purporting to channel the guy he despises only too openly.

I’m trying to suppress it, but Limbaugh’s actions remind me mightily of an old Cheech and Chong routine.  One wonders what Obama’s more rabid critics would not grant credence to.

Wall of Shame

What would Hemingway have reported?

Other thoughts:

  • Jonathan Last’s article for the Templeton Foundation’s In Character Journal wonders about how we choose what to believe, and whom.  The Dallas Morning News carried the article in the “Points” section this morning, but it’s not up on their website; look at the article at the Templeton Foundation site.

________
* I’m convinced he said it. I’m relying here on Elizabeth Dewberry’s contribution to The Cambridge Companion to Ernest Hemingway, “Hemingway’s Journalism and the Realist Dilemma,” on page 25.  She cites to an interview, but I’ve misplaced the rest of that note for the moment, and for some odd reason the page with the citation isn’t included on Google Books (the pain of internet research, to get to the information you need out of the haystack, and find that particular needle has been intentionally removed).  Read Dewberry, though, for a much longer and informative discussion about hoaxes and fakery in journalism, which is the problem discussed in this post.

Don’t let your friends be bamboozled, pass the word:

 

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl


Do America’s political cartoonists have it in for Rush Limbaugh?

March 8, 2009

You be the judge, at Daryl Cagle’s Political Cartoonist Index.

Then come back here and tell us your opinion.


Celebrating darkness, ignorance, and calumny

August 1, 2008

Quote of the moment:

Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.

— Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, Stave 1

I thought of that line of Dickens’s when I read of this celebration of darkness, ignorance and calumny. Although, with the recent renewing of Limbaugh’s contract, it may no longer be true that his particular brand of darkness is cheap.

Still, it remains dark.

Scrooge meets Ignorance and Want, the products of his stinginess (drawing by John Leech, 1809-1870)

Scrooge meets Ignorance and Want, the products of his stinginess (drawing by John Leech, 1809-1870)

(More about the drawing below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »


Climate hoax|hoax author speaks

November 11, 2007

He did it to expose the climate change skeptics.

Nature‘s blog has the interview, here.

Why did you decide to construct the fake website? Was it purely a joke or did you set out to make people taking your paper at face value look foolish?

Its purpose was to expose the credulity and scientific illiteracy of many of the people who call themselves climate sceptics. While dismissive of the work of the great majority of climate scientists, they will believe almost anything if it lends support to their position. Their approach to climate science is the opposite of scepticism.

Are you surprised at the pick up your coverage has generated?

Not really. Equally ridiculous claims – like those in the paper attached to the “Oregon Petition” or David Bellamy’s dodgy glacier figures – have been widely circulated and taken up by the ‘sceptic’ community. But you can explain this until you are blue in the face. To get people to sit up and listen, you have to demonstrate it. This is what I set out to do.

Still waiting for someone to back up junk science purveyor Steve Milloy’s claim that the hoax was exposed by the skeptics it was aimed at. The hoaxer doesn’t think so.

[Yeah, I know — Nature is a British publication, and they use the British spelling for “skeptic.”]


%d bloggers like this: