Limbaugh Responds to FAIR +quot;Reign of Error: From aids to ozone, from Whitewater to the
Limbaugh Responds to FAIR
"Reign of Error: From aids to ozone, from Whitewater to the Bible, Limbaugh
seems to be able to dissemble and disinform on virtually any subject." _
report from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (fair), listing "dozens of
[Limbaugh's] statements and writings it says are inaccurate," Associated
Press, June 28, 1994.
"Limbaugh's Reign of Error" was printed in extra!, the publication of
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. "fair" was launched in the summer of
1987 with the financial assistance of The New World Foundation (nwf)
which gave fair a $2,500 grant that year, according to nwf's 1987-1988
annual report. The Chair of nwf's board in 1987 was Hillary Rodham Clinton.
(Mrs. Clinton, a board member since 1982, resigned in March of 1988.)
What follows is a rebuttal to the fair allegations printed by the Big
Five print media outlets: the Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, The
Washington Post, The New York Times and usa Today.
RESPONDING TO FAIR's CHARGES
PRINTED BY MAJOR PRINT MEDIA OUTLETS
Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting's charges
(as reported by the Associated Press, June 28, 1994):
1. Student loans
LIMBAUGH: "Banks take risks in issuing student loans and they are entitled
to the profits."
FAIR: "Banks take no risks in issuing student loans, which are federally
REALITY: Banks do take risks in issuing student loans and are entitled to
"The federal government instituted the guaranteed student loan
program to provide incentives to banks to make risky loans to students with
no assets, no credit records, no full-time jobs and no permanent address.
This is enormous risk. The government helps mitigate this risk. But, the
government will only pay off defaulted loans if banks have followed a very
careful, very detailed, very exacting set of procedures of servicing and
collecting student loans. If banks don't follow the guidelines precisely, they
won't be reimbursed by the government and they are left high and dry. That
is risk." _ Fritz Elmendorf, Vice President for Communications, Consumer
Bankers Association [by interview].
So, as I said: When banks take that kind of risk, they are entitled to
their profits (even now, however, Congress is instituting new rules and
regulations that are cutting the profitability of bank-issued student loans.)
2. American health care
LIMBAUGH: "If you have any doubts about the status of American health care,
just compare it with that in other industrialized nations."
FAIR: "The United States ranks 16th in life expectancy and 21st in infant
survival among industrialized nations, according to the CIA's 1993 World
REALITY: America's health care system is the best in the world.
According to Dr. Elizabeth McCaughey: "The [Clinton] Administration
often cites two statistics _ America's relatively high infant mortality rate
and its lower life expectancy _ to support the need for the Clinton health
bill. But these have almost nothing to do with the quality of American
medical care. Both statistics reflect the epidemic of low-birth-weight
babies born to teenage and drug-addicted mothers, as well as the large
numbers of homicides in American cities and drug-related deaths. In fact, if
you're seriously ill, the best place to be is in the United States. Among all
industrialized nations, the United States has the highest cure rates for
stomach, cervical, and uterine cancer, the second highest cure rate for
breast cancer and is second to none in treating heart disease." _ Dr.
Elizabeth McCaughey, John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, "No
Exit," The New Republic, February 7, 1994.
3. Forest acreage
LIMBAUGH: "Do you know we have more acreage of forest land in the United
States today than we did at the time the Constitution was written?"
FAIR: "In what are now the 50 U.S. states, there were 850 million acres of
forest land in the late 1700s vs. only 730 million acres today."
REALITY: Enormous tracts of trees were destroyed by settlers in this
country, without being replanted. Today, reforestation is a critical
component of the U.S. lumber industry. Furthermore, with increasingly
sophisticated measuring methods, the more sure we are about the rapidly
increasing rate of forest growth in the continental United States. These are
the current facts: In 1952, the U.S. had 664 million acres of forest land. In
1987 the number had climbed to 731 million acres, according to the most
recent numbers available in the U.S. Statistical Abstract, 1993-1994
"According to the U.S. Forest Service, annual timber growth in the U.S.
now exceeds harvest by 37 percent. Annual growth has exceeded harvest
every year since 1952. In 1992, just 384,000 acres _ six-tenths of 1
percent of the National Forest land open to harvesting _ were actually
harvested. As a result of growth steadily exceeding harvests, the number of
wooded acres in the U.S. has grown 20 percent in the past twenty years. The
average annual wooded growth in the U.S. today is an amazing three times
what it was in 1920. In Vermont, for example, the area covered by forests
has increased from 35 percent a hundred years ago to about 76 percent
today." _ Joseph Bast, Peter Hill and Richard Rue, Eco-Sanity: A Common
Sense Guide to Environmentalism (Madison Books: 1994), p. 23.
4. Chelsea Clinton
LIMBAUGH: "You know the Clintons send Chelsea to Sidwell Friends private
school...a recent eighth-grade class assignment required students to write a
paper on `Why I Feel Guilty Being White.' My source for this story is cbs
FAIR: "cbs denied running such a story and a Sidwell spokesman said it never
happened." In its New York Times advertisement, fair calls this an example
of a "groundless assertion."
REALITY: In fact, cbs Morning Resource, a wire service for radio talk show
hosts run by cbs Radio Networks, reported the story on January 6, 1994. The
operations director of an Ohio radio station faxed the cbs wire story to my
New York studios, which I read on the air. Playboy magazine (February 1994)
and Heterodoxy magazine (September 1993) had both already published the
story, and in fact were the sources of the cbs wire story. And my own
research has uncovered what every media outlet that uncritically repeated
fair's charge could have learned by investigating (but did not bother): that _
despite Sidwell Friends' denials _ the story was, in fact, true.
On cnn's "Reliable Sources" (7/10/94), Ellen Hume said: "I don't
respect someone who is clearly telling myths and pretending that he's got
facts behind him. Occasionally [Limbaugh will] do something like say that
the Sidwell Friends School had some test for Chelsea _ some essay Chelsea
Clinton had to write about why I don't like being white, or why I'm
embarrassed to be white, and then he cites a source like cbs News. That
simply isn't true. None of that was true. So where is this coming fromand
where do you draw the line at a mistake, which we all make, and a
deliberate distortion of the fact to pander to myths that people wish were
I responded to this charge in a usa Today column (7/14/94),
documenting my information, and insisting that to suggest I pulled the story
out of thin air or lied about cbs as its source is patently untrue.
The following week on cnn's "Reliable Sources," Ellen Hume back-
pedaled. "[I]n deference to Rush, I would like to make a clarification, which
is that there was a story that he put out on the radio, that Chelsea Clinton
had had to write some essay about how she hates being white. This was not
a true story. Rush, as far as I know, never apologized for broadcasting it, bu
he did say he got it from cbs. It turns out that the bad guy here was cbs, not
Rush. They had a tip sheet that actually put the story out, so I say, Rush,
you're off the hook on that one." (7/17/94)
But it was a true story. In a July 16, 1993 article titled "Hillary's
Friends" in Washington City Paper (a D.C. newspaper with a circulation of
90,000), reporter Bill Gifford wrote: "Off the record, some parents will
admit to discomfort with the school's multicultural excesses. The eighth-
grade essay assignment on `Why I Feel Guilty About Being White,' for
example. Or the treatment accorded a sixth-grader who stood up, at a
school-wide meeting held during the L.A. riots, to express his fear of the
rioters (he was later forced to apologize to his black classmates).Other
parents quietly fault the school for pandering to its black students, who
nowadays are more likely to be the sons and daughters of blue-chip lawyers
and entertainment moguls than bus drivers or janitors. The world hasn't
witnessed such aristocratic self-abnegation since Robespierre was lopping
off heads. `It's completely riven apart by a collection of neurotic individual
who are worried sick about being seen as politically incorrect,' fumes a
parent of one of Chelsea's classmates. But these same people seem
possessed by the urge to mention, at the first opportunity, that their kids
My office did what no other journalist did: we tracked the story to its
root, and talked to the original reporter. He confirmed the story. The paper's
editor, Jack Shafer, who knows the reporter's source, agreed: "Yes, I stand
by the story."
Amazingly, the reporter says that fair never called him before they
ran with the story. They called him after they published the charge _ at
which time the reporter says he told fair the same thing he told my office,
that he stands by the story and it's true. Yet fair has never retracted its
charge, corrected its record, or apologized for its error.
5. Beer and alcohol taxes in 1993
LIMBAUGH: "You better pay attention to the 1993 budget deal because there
is an increase in beer and alcohol taxes."
FAIR: "There were no increases in beer and alcohol taxes in the 1993
REALITY: Beer and alcohol taxes were indeed considered for the 1993 budget
deal. fair gives no context to the quote, nor a date on which I supposedly
said it. I could have been referring to:
1) Clinton's 1993 budget plan. The idea of taxing beer and alcohol was
a trial balloon floated early by the Administration and discussed (as were
the myriad other Clinton trial balloons) on my programs. Bob Woodward's
book, The Agenda, reports: "Friday morning, the team gathered in the
Governor's Mansion again. Sperling, looking for more revenue to pay for the
new spending, had suggested additional new taxes on inheritance, securities
transfers, alcohol, and tobacco" (p. 46). "Bensten had a single sheet listing
various possible taxes. It includedtaxes on cigarettes and alcohol" (p. 88).
The final budget did not raise beer and alcohol taxes, but it did include the
much-debated gas tax, which affected every product shipped by truck _
including beer and other alcoholic products.
2) Clinton's 1993 health care financing plan. "Increasing `sin' taxes _
federal taxes on tobacco and alcoholic beverages _ is being considered as a
way to help pay the $30 billion to $90 billion needed annually to provide
health care coverage for everyone. A February 1993 Congressional Budget
Office study found $40 billion could be raised from 1994 through 1998 by
doubling federal tobacco taxes and raising alcohol taxes by $2.50 per proof
gallon. Effect of those hikes: 6-pack of beer _ current rate: 33 cents; raised
rate: 81 cents." _ Judy Hasson, "Clinton Budget Plan: Opposition lies in wait
for health-care reformers," usa Today, 2/22/93.
6. Gas lines and Jimmy Carter's foreign policy
LIMBAUGH: "Those gas lines were a direct result of the foreign oil powers
playing tough with us because they didn't fear Jimmy Carter."
FAIR: "The first _ and most serious _ gas lines occurred in late 1973-early
1974, during the administration of Limbaugh hero Richard Nixon."
REALITY: I wasn't discussing the 1973 gas lines. I was discussing the gas
lines that Jimmy Carter was responsible for _ because he ran such a
pathetic foreign policy operation.
According to Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer-prize-winning author of The
Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power, "the policy of the United
States, Iran's most important ally, was in confusion, disarray and
shock`The United States never sent [Iran] a clear, consistent signal,' one
senior official recalled. `Instead of oscillating back and forth between one
course of action and another and never deciding, we would have done better
to have flipped a coin and then stuck to a policy.' The cacophony from the
United States certainly confused the Shah and his senior officials,
undermined their calculations, and drastically weakened their resolveAt
midday on January 16, the Shahboarded a plane and left Tehran for the last
time, carrying with his luggage a casket of Iranian soilOn February 1, [the
Ayatollah] Khomeini arrived back in Tehran in a chartered Air France
747The American defense attache provided a succinct summary of the
situation in a message to Washington: `Army surrenders; Khomeini wins.
Destroying all classified'The old regime was gone in Iran, and the new one
was in power, though most uneasily; there were already bitter struggles for
control. And from Iran, as if it had been shaken by a violent earthquake, a
giant tidal wave surged around the world. All were swept up in it; nothing
and no one escaped. When the wave finally spent its fury two years later,
the survivors would look around and find themselves beached on a totally
new terrain. Everything was different; relations among all of them were
altered. The wave would generate the Second Oil shock, carrying prices from
thirteen to thirty-four dollars a barrel, and bringing massive changes not
only in the international petroleum industry but also, for the second time in
less than a decade, in the world economy and global politicsAnd suddenly,
almost overnight, upwards of a billion gallons of motor fuel were sucked out
of gasoline station tanks by America's frightened motoristsThe gas lines
marked the beginning of the end of the Presidency of Jimmy CarterThe
signing of salt ii, in negotiation for seven years through three
administrations, might have been celebrated as a landmark achievement. But
not then. It simply did not count. The only thing that mattered was the gas
lines _ and they were Carter's fault" (The Prize, p. 679-94).
7. U.S. military/Bosnia
LIMBAUGH: "For the first time in military history, U.S. military personnel [in
Bosnia] are not under the command of United States generals."
FAIR: "`How far back do you want to go?' asked Commander Joe Gradisher, a
Pentagon spokesman. `Americans served under Lafayette in the
Revolutionary War and under other foreign commanders in both world wars."
REALITY: "Rush is right. If an American is shot down in Bosnia, he will have
been sent on that mission by an Egyptian bureaucrat, Boutros Boutros-Ghali,
because Ghali is the one who approves the use of air strikes. You've got a
really convoluted command structure over there in which the U.S. has
basically ceded authority to U.N. bureaucrats. What's going on with U.S.
troops in Bosnia is fundamentally different than other peacekeeping
operations that the U.S. in involved in." _ Larry Di Rita, former staff office
on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and currently Deputy Director for Foreign Policy
and Defense at The Heritage Foundation [by interview].
The U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 2) states: "The President
shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United
States." The Constitution does not say: "unless U.N. Secretary General
Boutros Boutros-Ghali thinks otherwise." U.S. military personnel have
served with forces from other countries throughout history, such as in
World War I and II, but U.S. generals have always been at the top of the
command structure. Dwight Eisenhower's title, for example, was Supreme
Allied Commander because he, an American, was in charge of all operations
involving U.S. forces. The danger today, whether in Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda,
Haiti or elsewhere, is that the Clinton Administration is ceding political
and military authority to the United Nations.
fair's charges as reported by The Los Angeles Times on June 29, 1994
(except for those covered elsewhere in this response):
1. Rodney King
LIMBAUGH: "The videotape of the Rodney King beating played absolutely no
role in the conviction of two of the four officers. It was pure emotion that
was responsible for the guilty verdict."
FAIR: "`Jury Foreman Says Video Was Crucial in Convictions,' read an
accurate Los Angeles Times headline the day after the federal court verdict
REALITY: fair cites the headline of 199-word article on page 4 of the "B"
Section of The Los Angeles Times to "disprove" my point, and ignores the
well-documented role of emotion in each of the Los Angeles trials.
I made two points. First, I discounted the role of the videotape in the
jury's decision, despite the jury foreman's claims. Second, I gave added
weight to the emotion of the overall experience of being a "King juror," a
commitment few in the Los Angeles area wanted. My conclusions _ clearly
in the realm of opinion _ can be supported by contemporaneous media
Role of the Videotape: The Wall Street Journal (April 19, 1993,
article entitled, "Split Decision: Verdict in King Case Owes Much to Lessons
of State-Court Trial") lends credence to my point. It reported that "if their
case was made tougher by that added `intent' requirement, U.S. prosecutors
had the significant strategic edge of having seen a run-through. In
particular, they benefitted from knowing that the notorious 81-second
videotape of Mr. King's beating had been perceived as ambiguous in places by
the first jury, and that more evidence would be needed to translate into
legal terms what the tape said in visceral terms."
The Journal also pointed out that: "In general, observers said,
prosecutors were less confident in the videotape and were willing to take a
chance on evidence that might have seemed risky last year. For instance,
early on, they called bystanders who had given state investigators accounts
of the incident that didn't precisely match the videotape. But even though
the details were attacked by defense lawyers, the observers' eyewitness
testimony about the use of force was compelling. One woman, who had
watched the beating from her apartment, choked up as she described
officers kicking Mr. King `any way they could get a lick in.'"
This discounting of videotape evidence occurred in the fall 1993
Reginald Denny trial as well. "Jurors Show Seeing Is Not Believing," by
Philip Wasserman, 10/21/93, Wall Street Journal, reported: "The decision
of the jury in Los Angeles to acquit Damian Williams and Henry Watson of
the most serious charges against them stemming from their beating of
Reginald Denny highlights the shortcomings of using videotape as the basis
of a prosecution. Like the brutal videotape in the first Rodney King trial, th
horrifically compelling tape in the Reginald Denny trial was unable to
provide the prosecution with the evidence it needed for convictions on the
most serious charges. That shouldn't come as a surprise. In several high-
profile cases in the past few years, videotape has been no substitute for
compelling eyewitness testimony. The jurors apparently had no problem
deciding that Messrs. Williams and Watson were the men on the tape. But the
silent video scenes, shot from the ground and the air, were not enough to
convince the jury that the defendants had the specific intent to commit the
most serious crimes they were charged with. Ultimately, the 47 minutes of
videotape could show jurors only what the defendants were doing, not why."
Emotion: The Washington Post, like The Los Angeles Times, used the
jury foreman's comment in its headline. But rather than just writing 199
words, The Post used 917 words (on page 4 of the "A" Section) to stress the
emotional intensity of the jury's deliberations. The April 20, 1993 Post led
its story by describing "seven days of deliberations so emotional that one
man had to seek medical attention for stress."
The Post further reported: "The interviews revealed disagreement on
some key points of the trial. One white male juror said King's testimony
was `not very' important. But a black woman said she thought his appearance
was crucial because it made him `a human being.' The foreman of the jury
said he was so moved by the testimony that he cried when he heard it."
The Post continued: "`I can say that the jury system works,' the black
woman, a postal worker in her twenties, told kabc-tv. But, she said: `One
time I was sitting there and I thoughtwhere am I? Am I at an aa meeting or
am I in a jury room? It was just that emotional.' The emotional climax of
the deliberations came last Tuesday, according to one account, when
emotions boiled over. `Tuesday it got so heated in there that one of the
jurors had to get out of the room,' a white male juror told ABC's `Good
Morning America.' `On the news, I understood later they said one of the
jurors got sick. No, he couldn't take it in there.' U.S. Marshal Craig Meacham
confirmed parts of that account today. He said that the juror began feeling
ill Tuesday, but participated in the deliberations Wednesday morning. By
lunchtime he asked to see his doctor and, Meacham said, was treated for a
rash brought on by stress and fatigue."
Further, in an article entitled, "No Punitive Damages for King;
`Stressful Situation' For Jurors, City," usa Today reported on June 2, 1994:
"The divisiveness, pain, anger and emotional toll the 1991 Rodney King
beating has unleashed here was visible again Wednesday in the faces of nine
jurors as verdicts were read in a downtown federal courtroomThe jury
forewoman sniffled and wiped tears from her face. Others stared straight
ahead, visibly shaken. Another, the only black juror, looked angryThe
forewoman, a professional mediator, read a statement: "It was a very
stressful situation for many of us."
2. C.C. Myers
LIMBAUGH: "There was one key element that made this happen. One key thing:
The governor of California declared the [freeway] a disaster area and by so
doing eliminated the need for competitive bidsGovernment got the hell out
of the way." and "They gave this guy [contractor C.C. Myers] the job without
having to go through the rigmaroleof giving 25 percent of the job to a
minority-owned business and 25 percent to a woman."
FAIR: "There was competitive bidding: Myers beat four other contractors for
the job. Affirmative action rules applied: At least 40 percent of the
subcontracts went to minority or women-owned firms. Far from getting out
of the way, dozens of state employees were on the job 24 hours a day.
Furthermore, the federal government picked up the tab for the whole job."
REALITY: fair's "edit" of my statements amounts to misrepresentation.
I talked on my radio and television shows for days _ and read from a
number of articles _ about the fascinating chain of events that led to the
opening of earthquake-damaged highways and bridges days, weeks, and, in
some cases, months before they were expected to open. In doing so, I
repeatedly made three main points: 1) The private sector _ using market
incentives _ was responsible for repairing California's roads and bridges so
quickly; 2) Government, usually a hindrance and drag on public works
projects, made it easier for private companies to do their work by approving
no-bid contracts and cutting red tape, and the government did so despite the
fact that it was footing the bill; and 3) Contractor C.C. Myers was an
American hero for taking advantage of market incentives and government
restraint to accomplish what he did.
I was right on all three points, and the record supports me.
1) The private sector and market incentives: "To ensure speedy work,
officials set up incentives and penalties: For every day ahead of schedule
that work was finished, the company would receive $200,000, and it would
be penalized at the same rate for lateness. Caltrans officials based the
amount of the incentive bonus on a complicated set of estimates of the daily
cost to Los Angeles of having interrupted freeway service. Of all the
contracts awarded, the incentive was largest on the Santa Monica," reported
The Los Angeles Times on April 6, 1994.
The Times added: "`This Santa Monica project demonstrates what can
happen when private sector innovation and market incentives replace
business as usual,' said Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, who joined
Wilson and Caltrans officials at the news conference. `This is the way
government should be carried out all the time, not just in emergencies.'"
2) Government restraint: "On the day of the quake, working at times
by flashlight in a downtown office that lost its power, supervisors began
approving emergency no-bid contracts to remove damaged bridges and shore
up shaky ones. And in less than three weeks, they issued the first contracts
for major reconstruction of the Santa Monica Freeway and fallen stretches
of the Golden State Freeway," reported The Los Angeles Times on February
The Times continued: "Instead of waiting as long as a month between
bid openings and the execution of a contract, state officials are opening bids
and approving contracts on the same dayAnd on dozens of smaller jobs _ to
remove debris, bring down damaged bridges and shore up shaky structures _
Caltrans has dispensed with competitive bidding entirely. Department
officials are picking contractors to do the work on a standard pay schedule.
Some of these no-bid jobs are worth more than $1 million."
On April 6, 1994, The Los Angeles Times reported: "The high-speed
construction was made possible by crews working around the clock, seven
days a week, and by state officials cutting through red tape." Though the
government did cut through red tape, it did not waive affirmative action
rules. But, given the enormous amount of time I spent on this topic, this
very minor misstatement hardly qualifies as a threat to the republic.
3) C.C. Myers: My comments on Myers were drawn from the following
article, "The Santa Monica Freeway, Open Again: The Man Who Put the Pedal
to the Metal Construction; Clinton Myers is a bootstrap millionaire who
speeded up the job by never taking no for an answer," by Nora Zamichow of
The Los Angeles Times (4/13/94):
"When the railroads told contractor Clinton Myers that it would take
three weeks to deliver steel beams needed for rebuilding the Santa Monica
Freeway, Myers spent $119,000 to rent his own trains to carry supplies
from Arkansas and Texas. When the ironworkers said they were tired from
working 10-hour days, seven days a week, Myers, a bootstrap millionaire,
hired more. Day and night, Myers pushed, prodded and urged the workers. A
man in constant motion, he stopped only when the freeway opened. Then he
gazed at the structures, which still have wood framing attached, and
pronounced: `No one will ever touch what we have done, no one will ever
come close.' And then, he added: `But I could do it in 10 days less if I were
to design and build it.' "On the Santa Monica Freeway, Myers immediately made
sure all the crews and subcontractors knew his goal. He demanded every boss's
home number and he was not shy about calling day or night. `When he first told
me his plans to finish mid-April, I thought he was trying to light a fire
under me. I'm thinking, Yeah, right, finish in April,' said Dean Bubion,
president of Tri-City Reinforcing Corp., the subcontractor that handled the
steelwork. But as Bubion quickly learned, Myers meant it. `When you want
something bad enough, you've got to go for it,' said Myers, 56." As I said, an
LIMBAUGH: "Women were doing quite well in this country before feminism
FAIR: "Before feminism, women couldn't even vote."
REALITY: I was referring to contemporary militant feminism, not women's
suffrage. My statement is pure opinion, and my assessment that the true
backlash in this country is against militant feminism is an opinion I can
"Every revolution has its losing side. In the sexual revolution,
evidence continues to mount that the supposed winners _ `liberated' women
_ are in some cases turning out to be the losers. Instead of the freedom and
equality they thought they had achieved, too many find themselves shackled
by unplanned pregnancies, abortions, single motherhood, infections or
infertility," wrote Christian Science Monitor columnist Marilyn Gardner in
her April 8, 1993 article entitled, "Sexual Revolution _ Women Pay the
"I feel the same as I did when I was 19 years old during the women's
liberation movement,' Ms. [Anita] Blair [a lawyer who began the Independent
Women's Forum] says. `Except this time I want to go out and burn my `dress-
for-success' suit's floppy bow ties.' She would be right, says Clark
University philosophy professor Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who
Stole Feminism? (Simon & Schuster). `The majority of women are not
represented by the feminists,' Ms. Sommers says. `The majority of women
are not at war with men, and while grateful for the opportunities that have
been made for them, they are turned off by the feminists' relentless male-
bashing,'" reported The Washington Times on December 16, 1993 in an
article entitled, "Putting a New Face on Feminism: Fed-Up Women Giving
Mainstream a Voice."
"[Washington Post columnist Sally] Quinn's argument was a muscular
one. She wrote that the established feminist leaders and the National
Organization for Women are the domestic equivalents of Communist Party
apparatchiks in the Soviet Union: ideological dinosaurs, remote from the
needs of their constituency and that they should step down and let other
people take over. `The truth is,' she wrote, `that many women have come to
see the feminist movement as anti-male, anti-child, anti-family, anti-
feminine. And therefore it has nothing to do with us.'" _ from a February 5,
1992, Washington Times column by John Leo.
"To the extent that contemporary feminism abandons its true mission
to focus on oppression and self-absorption, it creates social ills more
destructive than those it seeks to remedy. By giving rise to expectations
that can never be met, it condemns women to despair, and consigns them to
permanent `victimhood.' Feminism of this sort clouds women's judgment; it
renders them incapable of distinguishing between needs and wants, between
real injustices and garden-variety irritations," wrote Katherine Kersten in
Policy Review (Spring 1991).
4. Anita Hill
LIMBAUGH: "Anita Hill followed Clarence Thomas everywhere. Wherever he
went, she wanted to be right by his side, she wanted to work with him, she
wanted to continue to date himThere were no other accusers who came
forth after Anita Hill did and said, `Yeah, Clarence Thomas, he harassed me,
too.' There was none of that."
FAIR: "Hill could not have continued to date Thomas, since they never dated.
Two other women, Sukari Hardnett and Angela Wright, came forth in the
Thomas case with similar charges."
REALITY: My comment about Hill dating Thomas actually demonstrates my
recall of the Thomas-Hill episode _ specifically that the record shows
Anita Hill had a genuine affection for Clarence Thomas and repeatedly
invited him to her apartment for drinks (a fact Thomas, not Hill, offered for
In his book, The Real Anita Hill, David Brock writes: "In describing her
relationship with Thomas, Hill said nothing about any contacts with him
outside the office. According to her account, their relationship was strictly
professional and had been confined to the workplace. When Thomas later
testified, however, he disclosed that when Hill worked at Education, he
occasionally offered her rides from the office to her Capitol Hill duplex,
since they lived near one another in the Southwest section of the city. This
revelation raises the question of what transpired on these occasions _
which overlapped with the period in which the worst harassment had
supposedly occurred _ and why Hill omitted them from her testimony.
According to Thomas, Hill accepted the rides and sometimes invited him
into her apartment, where the two engaged in lengthy discussions about
their backgrounds, life in Washington, politics, and policy. `What I said was,
when we were at the Department of Education, there were, as I recall, a
number of instances in which I gave her a ride home, and she asked me just
to drop in to continue discussion, and I would have a Coke or a beer or
something and leave.'On one occasion, Thomas said, Hill asked him to help
hook up new stereo equipment, hardly something that an employee would
request of her boss unless the two were on good terms and had a
relationship outside the office" (p. 294).
As for "other women" accusing Thomas of sexual harassment, there
were none. fair is simply repeating standard liberal mythology. At this
juncture, Anita Hill remains Thomas's "sole accuser," writes David Brock (p.
Specifically regarding Angela Wright, Brock writes: "In a May speech
at Stanford University, npr's Nina Totenberg said: `Angela Wright was the
so-called other woman who made allegations against Clarence
ThomasAngela Wright, in a sworn deposition, said that Clarence Thomas
had sexually harassed her.' Yet Totenberg was wrong on two counts: The
Wright statement was not sworn, and _ one good reason why it warranted
little attention during the hearings _ it did not charge Thomas with sexual
harassment. The campaign to rehabilitate and publicize comments of a
woman who never came forward and never charged Thomas with sexual
harassment continued" (p. 255).
And who was Angela Wright? Brock writes: "Wright was soon fired
from her job on Capitol Hill for intemperate and erratic behavior in the
office, and she went to work for the Republican National Committee
[rnc]At the rnc, Wright's reputation did not improve. Former office mates
remember having to restrain Wright from pouring boiling hot water from a
coffeemaker out a window onto a crowd of pro-choice demonstrators
outside the committee's offices. Wright frequently made suggestive
commentsand told male co-workers that she liked to walk around her
house in the nude" (p. 260).
Specifically regarding Sukari Hardnett, Brock writes: "In addition to
resurrecting and mischaracterizing [Angela] Wright's charge against
Thomas, [U.S. News & World Report] also claimed that a third sexual
harassment charge had been lodged against Thomas by Sukari Hardnett. This
was also false. Hardnett, a former legal assistant to Chairman Thomas,
submitted an affidavit to the Judiciary Committee on October 14, the day
before the Senate vote on the nomination. `Women know when there are
sexual dimensions to the attention they are receiving. And there was never
any doubt about that dimension in Clarence Thomas's office,' Hardnett
wrote. She provided no specifics to describe this `dimension,' however. She
also stated plainly: `I am not claiming that I was the victim of sexual
harassment.' Hardnett said she eventually resigned from the eeoc because
she found working on Thomas's staff `unpleasant.' Diane Holt, however, said
in a written statement to the Judiciary Committee that Hardnett was fired
from the staff after failing on more than one occasion to pass the bar exam.
Co-workers of Hardnett during the period said she never complained to
anyone about the working environment in the agency" (p. 416).
5. James Madison
LIMBAUGH: Quotes James Madison: "We have staked the futureupon the
capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to
sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."
FAIR: "`We didn't find anything in our files remotely like the sentiment
expressed in the extract you sent to us,' David B. Matter, associate editor of
The Madison Papers, told the Kansas City Star (1/16/94). `In addition, the
idea is entirely inconsistent with everything we know about Madison's
views on religion and government.'"
REALITY: The quote is not Madison's. But the misattribution of this
statement (an error, not "a lie") has been made by many over the years. (An
early citation is found in a 1939 book by Harold K. Lane, Liberty, Cry
But as for the other point _ that "the idea is entirely inconsistent
with everything we know about Madison's views on religion and government"
_ fair's source is wrong. Sample these fully documented quotes by Madison:
"...we have all been encouraged to feel in the guardianship and
guidance of that Almighty Being whose power regulates the destiny of
nations, whose blessings have been so conspicuously dispensed to this
rising Republic, and to whom we are bound to address our devout gratitude
for the past, as well as our fervent supplications and best hopes for the
future" (James Madison's First Inaugural Address, delivered March 4, 1809).
"It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage
and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent,
both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil
Society" (cited in Forrest McDonald's Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual
Origins of the Constitution, published by the University Press of Kansas in
1985, p. 45).
"Religion, or the duty we owe our Creator, and the manner of
discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or
violence; and, therefore, that all men should enjoy the fullest toleration in
the exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience, unpunished
and unrestrained by the magistrate, unless under color of religion any man
disturb the peace, the happiness, or safety of society, and that it is the
mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity
toward each other" (cited in Gaillard Hunt's James Madison and Religious
Liberty, published by the Government Printing Office in 1902, p. 166).
"The belief in a God All Powerful, wise and good, is so essential to
the moral order of the World and to the happiness of man, that arguments
which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with
too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities to be
impressed with it" (cited in A.D. Wainwright's Madison and Witherspoon:
Theological Roots of American Political Thought, published by the Princeton
University Library in 1961, p. 125).
6. Native Americans
LIMBAUGH: "There are more American Indians alive today than there were
when Columbus arrived or at any other time in history. Does this sound like
a record of Genocide?"
FAIR: "According to Carl Shaw of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs,
estimates of the pre-Columbus population of what later became the United
States range from 5 million to 15 million. Native populations in the late
19th century fell to 250,000 due in part to genocidal policies. Today the
U.S.'s Native American population is about 2 million."
REALITY: The facts support me. fair is repeating the liberal myth that
American Indians were systematically wiped out by white genocide. In See, I
Told You So (from which fair takes my statement), I myself point out that
while "there were certainly atrocities against Indians by white people," the
full picture indicates that "life was far from utopian for these people" and
that "there were just as many _ and probably to a greater degree of
savagery _ committed by other Indians" (p. 68).
As for Indian population in the New World, Robert Royal, author of
1492 And All That: Political Manipulations of History, writes: "Estimates of
pre-Columbian population figures have become heavily politicizedwith
scholars who are particularly critical of Europe often favoring wildly higher
figures. High starting points make Indian deaths by disease, warfare, and
mistreatment all the greater. David Henige has dubbed this `Native American
Historical Demography as Expiation.' Yet despite their mistreatment by
Europeans and devastation by European diseases (large numbers of Indians
died as disease passed along trade routes, 80 percent without ever seeing a
white man), some Indian groups are more populous today than in 1492. There
are now more than 30 million Indians in Latin America alone, and there are
several times more Iroquois in North America than at first contact." _
Robert Royal, "Hello Columbus: America Was No Paradise in 1492," Policy
Review, Fall 1992, p. 44.
As for instances of "genocidal policies," Royal asks: "Genocide?
Where? I don't know of any instances of Indian genocide. Mistreatment, yes.
Warfare, yes. Deaths related to diseases caught from Europeans, yes. But
systematic genocide, policies of genocide, no. Where are these policies?
Where is the proof? The fact is, activists who spout off such claims of
genocide have no proof. It's amazing what they can get away with" [by
fair's charges as reported by The Washington Post July 1, 1994
(except for those covered elsewhere in this response):
1. Whitewater coverage
FAIR: Limbaugh has said, "I don't think The New York Times has run a story
on [Whitewater] yetthere has not been a big one, front-page story, about
this one that we can recall."
REALITY: My full quote, cited in the fair's own report, reads: "I don't think
The New York Times has run a story on this yet. I mean, we haven't done a
thorough search, but I _ there has not been a big one, front-page story about
this one that we can recall. So this has yet to create or get up to its full
speed _ if it weren't for us and The Wall Street Journal and The American
Spectator, this would be one of the biggest and most well-kept secrets
going on in American politics today." The date I said this: February 17, 1994.
My point, that as of February, much of the mainstream press had not
played up Whitewater details while conservative publications had covered
the scandal prominently and advanced the story, is correct. I plainly state
that I don't recall if The New York Times has run a front-page story. And the
fact that I overlooked one Times article that ran eleven months earlier is
hardly indicative of a "reign of error."
My quote came exactly nine days before The New York Times ran
another major news story on Whitewater and followed that with an editorial
the following day blasting the Clinton Administration in a piece entitled,
"Slovenly White House Ethics." New York Post critic Hilton Kramer then
noted: "If we may judge from the catch-up reporting in Saturday's New York
Times and the paper's fire-and-brimstone editorial on Sunday, it looks as if
the scandals plaguing President Clinton and the First Lady are rapidly
approaching disaster. Given the way the paper has shamelessly downplayed
the Clintons' follies in the past _ even as the press was coming up with
more and more sensational revelations _ I think we can assume that the
situation has gotten to be too hot now to be ignored, even by the Times."
2. Gulf War I
LIMBAUGH: On the Persian Gulf, Limbaugh has said "everybody in the world
was aligned with the United States except who? The United States
FAIR: Both houses of Congress voted to authorize the U.S. to use force
REALITY: Congress eventually went along with President Bush's policy _ but
they had to be dragged along, kicking and screaming since a majority in
Congress and the Democratic leadership were against military action month
after month. This is my point, easily understood in the context of my view
that the Democratic Congress was almost always opposed to what George
Bush favored. Congress didn't even vote "yes" on a resolution to authorize
military force until January 12, three days before the deadline for war, and
after three days of intense and emotional debate.
Bob Woodward, in his book The Commanders, wrote that on January 6,
1990, Defense Secretary Richard Cheney argued the President not take his
case before Congress at all for fear of having Democrats vote "no" on
authorization to use force against Iraq. "Cheney was deeply suspicious of
the Democrats, who controlled Congress. He thought they would love to slam
the door on the administration's effortsThe next day, on January 7, [House]
Speaker [Tom] Foley announced that the House would begin debate later in
the week on a resolution authorizing the use of force. He personally opposed
the use of force until economic sanctions were given more time, but he said
that he believed the authorization would pass by a narrow margin." That is
precisely what happened. In the Senate, in fact, the vote was a mere 52 to
Here are a few salient quotes from leading Democrats at the time,
taken from The Congressional Record:
"If we rush to war, it will be a nightmare in the Persian Gulf. Our
country will be torn apart, and very little good will happen in the United
States or in the world for a long, long, long time." _ Sen. Paul Wellstone
"It'll be brutal and costlyThe Administration refuses to release
casualty estimates, but the 45,000 body bags the Pentagon has sent to the
region are all the evidence we need of the high price in lives and blood that
we will have to pay." _ Sen. Edward M. Kennedy
"Is Kuwait worth the life of a GI? Not at all." _ Sen. Ernest F.
"Nothing large happened. A nasty little country invaded a littler but
just as nasty country." _ Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan
3. Gulf War II
LIMBAUGH: Explaining why the Democrats wanted to "sabotage" President
Bush with the 1990 budget deal: "Now, here is my point. In 1990, George
Bush was president and was enjoying a 90 percent plus approval rating on
the strength of our victories in the Persian Gulf War and Cold War." (Told
You So, p. 304)
FAIR: In October 1990, when the budget deal was concluded, the Gulf War had
not yet been fought.
REALITY: My point, that George Bush was riding high in the polls on the
strength of his handling of foreign policy (the Persian Gulf and managing the
twilight of the Cold War) and that this popularity was sabotaged by the
Democrats in the 1990 budget deal, is supported by the record. Eighteen days
after Kuwait was invaded by Iraq (Aug. 2, 1990), Bush's approval rating on
the crisis was at 82 percent, according to a usa Today poll. His overall
approval rating was at 76 percent, according to a cbs News/New York Times
survey. By November 13, a month after the budget deal vote, Bush's approval
rating on handling the Persian Gulf crisis had fallen to 51 percent (see
"Bush Support Slim," usa Today, 11/13/90). His overall approval rating that
month, according to cbs/ny times, was down as well _ to 60 percent.
According to pollster Frank Luntz, this 16-point drop in the overall rating is
one of the sharpest two-month declines in modern presidential history.
Wrote David Broder on November 4, 1990, before the U.S. invasion had
begun: "The era of good feelings President Bush engendered after the
nastiness of the 1988 campaign lasted for more than a year, punctuated by
broad public support for his military actions against Manuel Noriega and
Saddam Hussein, and the celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the
freedom of Eastern EuropeBut then Bush put himself at the very center of
the most frustrating of all Washington problems, the budget deficit. He built
a bipartisan summit _ and dove off its peak. By dumping his tax pledge, he
separated himself from most of his party's candidates, and the budget deal
he obtained _ after much grief _ was not one that many voters cheered." _
"The Year of Voting Dangerously," in The Washington Post, 11/4/90.
Ironically, on the day that Kuwait was invaded, two quotes referring
to the 1990 budget deal appeared in The Washington Post that fully support
my contention that the Democrats knew full well that they were sabotaging
"`We are watching the Bush presidency unravel,' said Democratic
National Committee Chairman Ronald H. Brown." (Washington Post, 8/2/90)
"Democrats agreed to help the president, Panetta said, `but we did
not pledge that every time the Republicans slit their wrists, we'll slit
ours.'" (Washington Post, 8/2/90)
FAIR's charges in a New York Times advertisement July 6, 1994
(except for those covered elsewhere in this response):
1. Canadian health care
FAIR: "Rush's groundless assertions on issues of public importance include
`most physicians come to the U.S. when in need of surgery.'"
REALITY: My full quote, found in fair's own report, is this: "Most Canadian
physicians who are themselves in need of surgery, for example, scurry
across the border to get it done right; the American way. They have found,
through experience, that state medical care is too expensive, too slow and
inefficient, and, most important, it doesn't provide adequate care for most
Canadian medical care is expensive, slow, and inefficient. Wrote
Heritage Foundation health care policy analyst Edmund Haislmaier in a 1991
Policy Review article entitled, "Northern Discomfort: The Ills of the
Canadian Health System": Canada's "health care system has been fully
nationalized for the past two decades. In a 1989 cover story entitled `Sick
to Death,' the Canadian news magazine McLean's described [Charles]
Coleman's case [who, at 63, had his coronary bypass surgery postponed 11
times and died eight days after the surgery was finally performed], as well
as numerous other examples of a national health care system in crisis. Dr.
Phil Gold, then-chief physician of Montreal General Hospital, complained,
`I'm living from hand to mouth and waiting for disaster each dayI don't
know when someone will die for lack of a bed or the proper equipment."
As for "most" physicians scurrying over the border, this is an obvious
humorous exaggeration to be sure, but it is hardly "groundless." The
Canadian media itself reports on fed-up doctors coming to the U.S. Note this
headline in the London [Ontario] Free Press on June 28, 1994: "Cutbacks,
Frustration, Pushing Doctors to U.S." The article states: "Frustrated by
restrictions, cutbacks, and loss of respect, the number of doctors actively
seeking work south of the border is on the rise _ and Americans are
embracing them with open arms. `I have never heard of as many doctors who
have their names with recruiting agencies, or who have gone to the States
to look around as I have for the past six months,' says [a member] of the
London District Academy of Medicine, who has practiced in that city for 23
years." The article also stated, "In the U.S., which traditionally attracted
Canadian specialists, the biggest demand now is for family physicians, says
Jim Merritt, president of the Irving, Texas, based Merritt, Hawkins and
Associates, one of the largest American physician recruitment firms."
W. Gifford-Jones, himself a Canadian doctor, wrote a column for The
Evening Telegram (St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada) entitled, "Public's
Appetite Too Ravenous for `Free Medical Care.'" He stated: "Mrs. Clinton take
note. Many hospital beds in Canada have closed due to a lack of government
funding. Operating rooms stand idle at certain times in a desperate effort to
save money. Cutbacks are evident in every hospital service. It's meant that
some Canadians have become more familiar with the U.S. But they're not
tourists on their way to the Grand Canyon. Rather, they've crossed the
border for bypass surgery and other procedures to avoid long waiting lists in
Canada. But not only patients cross the 49th parallel. Some of the best
physicians and surgeons have fled south, due to inadequacies in the system.
One doctor who moved to Buffalo, N.Y., told me, `Now I'm considered part of
the solution. In Canada I was considered part of the problem.'"
Furthermore, scores of wealthy and well-connected Canadians come
to the United States for surgery because they cannot get timely, quality
service in Canada's own nationalized health care system.
In 1993, Joanna Miyake and Michael Walker of the Frasier Institute, a
Vancouver, Canada-based think tank, published a 1993 study entitled,
"Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada." They wrote: "More
people in Canada will die this year of cardiovascular disease than of any
other single disease. Because cardiovascular disease is a degenerative
process and the decay of the cardiac surgery candidate is gradual, under a
system of rationed supply some cardiovascular surgery candidates tend to
be bumped by patients with other conditions that require immediate
careThe result has been lengthy waiting lists, often as long as a year or
more, followed by public outcry, prompting short-term funding. For
instance, last year we reported that Newfoundland's waiting list for
coronary bypass surgery was a year long."
Miyake and Walker, discussing how patients deal with such waiting
lists, continue: "U.S. hospitals have also provided a convenient short term
solution to excessive waiting lists for cardiac surgery. The British
Columbia government contracted Washington state hospitals to perform
some 200 operations in 1989, after public outcry over the six-month
waiting list for cardiac bypass surgery. Wealthy individuals are sometimes
choosing to avoid the waiting lists by having their heart surgery performed
in the U.S. In fact, a California heart surgery centre has advertised its
services in a Vancouver newspaper. Our survey suggests that 5 percent of
patients enquire about surgery outside of Canada and 1.5 percent actually
have their heart surgery performed outside of the country." _ Joanna Miyake
and Michael Walker, "Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada,"
3rd Edition, Critical Issues Bulletin, Frasier Institute, 1993.
What is more, at least one high-level Canadian political figure even
travelled to the U.S. for medical care. Wrote Heritage's Edmund Haislmaier:
"When Robert Bourassa, the Premier of Quebec, needed cancer treatment, he
crossed into the U.S. and obtained it at his own expense. Such actions by
more affluent or politically well-connected Canadians raise the question of
whether a `two-tiered' health system, of the kind Canadians long sought to
avoid, is now emerging." _ Edmund Haislmaier, "Problems In Paradise:
Canadians Complain About Their Health Care System," Heritage
Backgrounder 883, February 19, 1992, p. 2.
2. The nicotine controversy
FAIR: "Rush's groundless assertions on issues of public importance include
... nicotine's addictiveness `has not been proven.'"
REALITY: My point, made over and over again in recent months, is that if
nicotine is really a terrible drug then Congress should just call it a terribl
drug and ban it outright. The fact is that nicotine's addictiveness and
whether or not it is a drug is, contrary to fair's assertion, a source of
tremendous controversy _ so controversial that The Washington Post's lead
editorial on July 2, 1994 dealt entirely with this issue. "[F]ood and drug
commissioner David Kesslerhas begun an effort to determine whether
nicotine-containing cigarettes meet the law's definition of a drug. If they
do, the Food and Drug Administration has the duty to regulate themif
cigarettes are a drug, and if they can't be shown in their present form to be
safe and effective _ which a drug would have to be in order to be sold, and
which is not very likely _ then what does the government do?"
3. Ozone and volcanoes
FAIR: "Rush's groundless assertions on issues of public importance include
... volcanoes do more harm to the ozone layer than man-made chemicals."
This is the lead attack in fair's full report, in which fair trashes my source
Dixy Lee Ray's book, Trashing The Planet, published by Regnery Gateway.
REALITY: fair's source for countering me is Science magazine. However,
Science's June 11, 1993 issue points out that this topic is a huge source of
controversy. "[A]tmospheric scientists freely admit that, as a January 1993
review of the Department of Energy's Atmospheric Chemistry Program's
Ozone Project put it, current understanding of global ozone behavior is
`fraught with uncertainty.' Among these uncertainties are whether ozone
depletion is due to natural variation and changes in atmospheric circulation,
chlorine from cfc's, or some combination of both."
Furthermore, Ray's book is not the only source of discussion of
volcanoes and ozone. Ronald Bailey, who has reported on science issues for
Forbes and PBS, discusses this topic in chapter eight of his 1993 book, Eco
Scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse (St. Martin's Press),
noting, "sulfur from Mount Pinatubo and some Southern Hemisphere
volcanoes did hasten the opening of the annual Antarctic ozone hole in
University professors Ben Bolch and Harold Lyons also discuss
volcanoes and ozone in their 1993 book, Apocalypse Not: Science, Economics
and Environmentalism (CATO Institute), noting, "volcanic eruptions can so
disturb the stratosphere they may lead to significant ozone destruction."
And note this headline from a Boyce Rensberger article in The
Washington Post: "Ozone Layer Thins Further, Possibly Because of Volcano"
(April 23, 1993).
4. Effectiveness of condoms
FAIR: "Rush's groundless assertions on issues of public importance include
... condom users have a one-in-five aids risk."
REALITY: This is a distortion of fair's own study, which quotes me as saying,
"The worst of all this is the lie that condoms really protect against aids.
The condom failure rate can be as high as 20 percent. Would you get on a
plane _ or put your children on a plane _ if one in five passengers would be
killed on the flight? Well, the statistic holds for condoms, folks." My point
is that because condoms can have such a high failure rate, they are not good
protection against contracting hiv and aids. That is distinctly different
from saying that condom users have a one-in-five aids risk.
As for condom failure rate, Susan C. Weller's 1993 study for the
University of Texas Medical Branch found that "although contraceptive
research indicates that condoms are 87 percent effective in preventing
pregnancy, results of hiv transmission studies indicate that condoms may
reduce risk of hiv infections by approximately 69 percent," adding that
condom "efficacy may be much lower than commonly assumed."
Having suggested condom use could, over time, fail to prevent hiv
transmission 31 percent of the time (note: this is different from someone
actually contracting aids, but still should be very alarming to the pro-
condom community) Weller's study concludes: "It is a disservice to
encourage the belief that condoms will prevent sexual transmission of hiv."
5. U.S. poor vs. Europe's mainstream
FAIR: "Rush's groundless assertions on issues of public importance include...
`the poorest people in America are better off than the mainstream of
families in Europe.'"
REALITY: "`Poor' Americans live in larger houses or apartments, eat more
meat, and are more likely to own cars and dishwashers than is the general
population in Western Europe." _ Robert Rector, senior policy analyst at The
Heritage Foundation, in a September 22, 1993 study entitled, "The Poverty
Paradox: How American Spent $5 Trillion on the War on Poverty Without
Reducing the Poverty Rate."
FAIR: "Rush Limbaugh's groundless assertions on issues of public
importance include ... `not one indictment' resulted from Lawrence Walsh's
REALITY: fair's actual report quotes me as saying, "This [Special Prosecutor
Lawrence] Walsh story basically is, we just spent seven years and $40
million looking for any criminal activity on the part of anybody in the
Reagan administration, and guess what? We couldn't find any. These guys
didn't do anything; but we wish they had so we could nail them. So instead,
we're going to say, `Gosh, these are rotten guys.' They have absolutely no
evidence. There is not one indictment. There is not one charge."
I was painting a portrait of how ridiculous I thought Walsh's
investigation was, pointing out that no one was ever proven to have broken
laws vis-Oe-vis selling arms to Iran or providing funds to the Nicaraguan
I obviously misspoke when I said thee were no indictments _ I
clearly meant to say there were no convictions, a point I have made on many
occasions. And I am exactly right that seven years and $40 million were
spent to produce no convictions on the substantive points of the Iran-Contra
Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III makes this case in his 1992
book, With Reagan: The Inside Story: "Despite all the rhetoric expended on
this issue, it has never been settled in a court of law. The legal verdicts
against North and Poindexter, which were subsequently overturned on
appeal, were based on other, collateral issues. Likewise, other convictions
that were obtained, generally on minor offenses, involved peripheral charges
that had more to do with the investigation of the Iran-Contra affair than
with the matter itself. To this day, the remaining funds from these
transactions are impounded by the Swiss authorities, subject to competing
claims from General Secord and the U.S. government. Thus, it is far from
certain that the diversion was illegal _ and still less certain that any other
parts of the Iran-Contra affair were criminal activity" (p. 286).
Michael Gartner's charges in usa Today, July 12, 1994
GARTNER: "Why does anyone take Rush Limbaugh seriously? He's a showoff, a
showman and a jerkHe's entertaining. But come on, he is to truthfulness as
President Clinton is to faithfulness _ he has but a passing acquaintance
with it. He's toying with you, folks, getting you all riled up with a stew of
half-truths and non-truths. He's making fools of you, feeding you swill _ and
you're taking it in."
and a related item, as published in extra!:
LIMBAUGH: Assailing a journalist who had criticized Nixon: "Michael Gartner,
portraying himself as a balanced, objective journalist with years and years
of experience faking events, and then reporting them as news _ and doing so
with the express hope of destroying General Motors in one case and
destroying businesses that cut down trees, the timber industry, in another."
(TV show, 4/27/94)
FAIR: Gartner, the nbc News president who resigned in the wake of the gm
truck explosion episode on nbc's "Dateline," had no hands-on role in it _ nor
had he expressed a hope of destroying any company.
REALITY: Gartner, the "former president of nbc News," was in charge when
nbc's "Dateline" staged the explosion of a General Motors truck, a nasty
episode The Wall Street Journal properly dubbed "the worst scandal to beset
nbc News in its four-decade history," (3/22/93). "nbc News employees made
`seriously flawed judgments' and violated numerous division guidelines in
putting together a much-criticized story questioning the safety of General
Motors Corp. trucks, an nbc-commissioned investigation charges. And when
General Motors complained directly about supposed inaccuracies and
questionable ethics involved in the story for `Dateline nbc,' news staff
failed to follow established rules for handling the protest, the report
states. It further singles out Michael Gartner, who resigned as president of
nbc News on March 2 for conducting an incomplete investigation when he
learned belatedly of gm's problems with the broadcast." (The Wall Street
A week after the "Dateline" episode, reported Time (3/15/93), "Tom
Brokaw expressed his regrets for several aspects of a Nightly News report
about environmental abuses on an Idaho river. It featured footage of `dead'
fish _ but the supposedly deceased denizens of the deep were only stunned
as part of an experiment. Clearly, someone's head was due to roll, and the
rollee turned out to be the top man himself: Michael Gartner, president of
To answer Gartner's question, "Why does anyone take Rush Limbaugh
seriously?" _ there is just one answer. People take me seriously because I
am effective. And in my pursuit of the truth, I am an exceptionally accurate
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank