RUSH: Let me set this up again. I need to set this up again. It wasn’t long ago that it seemed like everybody was wringing their hands and was all upset over what was happening to Howard Stern because of indecency. Clear Channel had decided to fire him — not “censor” him; “fire” him. They decided they didn’t want to incur fines, and they didn’t want to incur fines, and they didn’t want to put that kind of programming on the air. It’s their decision, business decision. Stern’s bosses were not Clear Channel. His bosses didn’t do anything to him; the government didn’t do anything to him, and yet the media was just, “Oh, no! What’s happening to our Constitution?” and they wanted me to write a piece in the LA Times about this, which I did, and they’re going all over the country, and people are wringing their hands, “Oh, no, what’s happening?” and then it came out that Bush was doing this to get even with Stern for whatever reasons, and so Bush was responsible for “censoring” Howard Stern, six of the some 70-odd radio stations. It was absurdly silly. (Sigh) Stern is on the air, and he can go into those markets that canceled him on other stations if they want to pick him up.
There’s no way that censorship can occur in the private sector. Simply no way. We come to this story today, “Liberal groups that want to bounce Rush Limbaugh’s radio show off of Armed Forces Radio have found a Senate ally. Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat, Iowa, announced yesterday that he has successfully amended the fiscal year 2005 defense appropriations bill.” I’m in a defense appropriations bill! “He has added a provision that calls on Armed Forces Radio and TV service, AFRTS, to provide political balance in its public affairs programming. Harkin was quoted as saying that American forces radio and television service is funded by taxpayers of all political persuasions and therefore it should make a greater effort to provide balanced representation of political viewpoints on its airwaves to American service members around the world,” and then this little appendage of the Democrat Party, this website that’s sprung up out there, a liberal group that supposedly “monitors” conservative media for misinformation, praised Harkin for introducing the amendment and the entire Senate for having gone along with it.
For the past seven weeks this little website, Media Matters, has been monitoring the Rush Limbaugh show, transcribing and publishing my “offensive statements” regarding the abuse of Iraqi prisoners and they’ve written Rumsfeld two letters demanding I be taken off. Rumsfeld didn’t respond so they went to Harkin, and they’ve got their way.
Now, this is censorship. This is the United States government. This is a United States senator amending a defense appropriations bill with the intent being to gets this program — only one hour of which is carried on Armed Forces Radio — stripped from that network. Now, I’ll tell you what this proves. Why does there need to be anybody monitoring this program? You don’t need a password to listen here. You know, we’re on 600 radio stations. It’s open to anybody who wants to turn it on. All you’ve got to do is listen. This is sort of as idiotic as Bill Schneider on CNN the other day doing a report — and I’m not making this up.
He did a report that the media was keeping “secret” the good economy, but how did he know this? Not because he’s in the media and is participating in keeping the economy a secret. There were analysts, media analysts which did a report on the amount of coverage a good economy is getting and it came up with: it’s not much. This would be like me telling you, “I don’t know what I said just five minutes ago until I get a report from the analyst company.” It’s absurd. So now we’ve got this website monitoring this program and sending out out-of-context quotes to a media that doesn’t even bother to listen to this program itself and then just assumes that what this website says is accurate. What this proves is that these so-called media and radio groups, they’re nothing but appendages of the Democratic Party. They’re action-oriented. These are not analysis- and talk-oriented groups. Their goal is not to compete with ideas and debate. Their goal is to use the big media and the law to stop me!
That’s what they’re trying to do. They can’t compete in the arena of ideas, and they know it. They will lose each time they try. So they try to get me censored through an association with a United States senator. This is not just a report group, not just a group doing analysis. This is action-oriented, and no one who excepts their out-of-context quotes as news ever asks them if they’re collaborating with the Democratic National Committee. Nobody in the media questions who they are. Nobody questions their motivation. Nobody asks them why you’re doing this. Nobody is saying, “What else did he say?” They don’t call me for clarification on what I supposedly have said. Even though this group’s funding and support comes from Democrat donors. These are not business enterprises. They are political entities. The big media refuses to report on this, only repeating what they say and pretending that they’re actually competition rather than a Democratic creation — and I’m going to illustrate it.
Back on June 2nd, CNN did a report on all of this. It was on Wolf Blitzer Reports. Reporter was Tom Foreman and they ran a package on this controversy about me and Armed Forces Radio, and the reporter starts out by saying the whole story is much ado about nothing, but, of course, it’s a good excuse to play the Skull and Bones comment that I made that was taken out of context, and here’s just a portion of that report. We have two sound bites and this is how it sounded. Foreman says — let me introduce this — Tom Foreman, the reporter, says, “It’s a bit of a tempest in a teapot but one that sides are taking very seriously. The controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s role in Iraq.” The “controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s role in Iraq”! I have “a role in Iraq” because a media analyst group, a so-called media analyst group says so? Mr. Foreman, have you ever listened to this program? Does the notion that I, a radio talk show host, have a role in Iraq actually resonate with you? I must be far more powerful than even I am aware, ladies and gentlemen.
I have a role in Iraq, and why do I have a role in Iraq? Because a website funded by the Democratic Party and Democrat donors says so, and so these sycophants or these willing accomplices in this big media complex take what this… There’s a conservative website. There are plenty of conservative websites that do this. Brent Bozell, Media Research Center, they are a true analyst group, they do not propose actions — and the media laughs at Bozell, doesn’t give him the time of day. Here comes this new fledgling little website, whatever these guys say is accepted as gospel and it’s jumped on, and the media runs with it, and gets to the point where reporter starts his report on CNN by saying, “Sides are taking very seriously in controversy over Limbaugh’s role in Iraq.” My dad would be proud! He thought I was a failure because I didn’t go to college. “The controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s roll in Iraq has been simmering for weeks. Now it seems to be coming to a boil. The folks in charge of the military radio service responded today to an angry senator.”
FOREMAN: Over the thunder of the machinery and the rattle of the rifles, one voice is heard in Baghdad for an hour each evening Monday through Friday.
EIB ANNOUNCER: We are always ready, so bring it on, Rush.
FOREMAN: Rush Limbaugh’s conservative talk show has been a staple of American forces radio for a decade, and when the Iraqi prison abuse scandal broke, he compared it to a fraternity prank.
RUSH AUDIO RESPONSE TO CALLER PLAYED OF CONTEXT: …exactly my point. This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation, and we’re going to ruin people’s lives over it, and we’re going to hamper our military effort.
RUSH: That’s one comment out of about two hours and 59 minutes of a radio program just like they’ve taken one sentence out of this whole 9/11 report and turned it into something that it isn’t. I also didn’t know here that, let’s see… “Limbaugh has been a staple,” and all they’re listening to in Iraq is this show? Is that not the impression this report left? I am Armed Forces Radio? That’s what the opinion that this report leaves, is that I am Armed Forces Radio. Terms of popularity it’s probably true but in terms of what all else is offered, I’m not all that’s there. After this report, the CNN reporter said that this has infuriated Tom Harkin, and this is how Foreman and Wolf Blitzer wrapped up the report that you just heard.
FOREMAN: Such talk infuriated Limbaugh’s critics, including U.S. senator Tom Harkin.
HARKIN: Rush Limbaugh has a point of view. I mean a detected, right-wing point of view. That’s fine. That’s fine, but you should balance it on the other side also, especially when it’s being funded by taxpayers’ money.
RUSH: All right, Senator Harkin, let’s talk about what else is on the Armed Forces Radio Network. “The Armed Forces Radio Network provides not only NPR programs like Morning Edition and All Things Considered, but NPR commentary as well. American military men and women abroad have access, for example, to the talk show of liberal host Diane Rehm.” I didn’t even know she was still alive. “Indeed, Rehm’s biographical sketch on the NPR website says her program is heard on U.S. military installations around the world via Armed Forces Radio,” and his piece here has is a link where you can click on their program schedule to see everything they’re carrying. “Military listeners can also hear NPR’s Tavis Smiley Show, Talk Of the Nation and Fresh Air programs.” Practically the whole 24-hour clock of NPR is on and available at Armed Forces Radio. One hour of this program is.
“Beyond NPR listeners can also hear brief commentaries from Jim Hightower and Dan Rather. Viewed as a whole, the list of names suggests that military listeners, if they want to hear a variety of views, can do so on Armed Forces Radio. But accordingly those who design its programming, the point of Armed Forces Radio is not to provide some sort of perfect ideological balance but rather to give military men and women a representative sample of the program they can hear at home. To that end,” get this, folks. “Armed Forces Radio provides 1,200 different programs to military radio stations around the world which then make up their own schedules. ‘We try to provide a cross-section of programming that they would have available to soldiers this were stateside,’ said Melvin Russell. ‘We feel that the variety, the 1,200 programs that we offer each week gives us that balance that we’re looking for.'”
I am one hour of the 1,200, and the media has now decided to align itself with this appendage of the Democratic Party in the form of an amendment to the defense appropriations bill offered by a United States senator! To have that hour of my program removed from Armed Forces Radio. I mean, folks, am I big, or what? But this is censorship. This isn’t what happened with all this indecency garbage out there and fines and this sort of stuff. This is the United States government, or a United States senator, doing so. “Most of the programs on Armed Forces Radio are music shows but there is a significant news and talk lineup as well. If you like to listen to Dr. Laura and you’re stationed in South Korea you can listen to her there, as well. First hour of her program is included on Armed Forces Radio. If you like Car Talk from NPR, you can listen to it on armed forces radio. If you like Dan Patrick’s ESPN Radio show, you can listen to that on Armed Forces Radio.”
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. That’s what’s going on. This is censorship, not what happened to Stern or anything of the sort, and I just wanted you to know. But I did mention in the previous hour because it’s first hour of the program that the uniformed members of the U.S. military hear around the world, and I wanted them to hear what this was about as well. Want to go back to Macdill Air Force Base yesterday. This was the president, about halfway through his speech (text | audio | video) to troops, around the world in Afghanistan and Iraq and at Macdill, and I think other institutions or installations, military installations around the world, talking about some of the great things that are happening in that country.
BUSH: Iraq’s economy is moving forward. Markets are beginning to thrive. New businesses have opened. A stable new currency is in place. Dozens of political parties are organizing. Hundreds of courts of law are opening across the country. Today in Iraq, more than 170 newspapers are being published. I saw the other day they’ve even got talk radio. I don’t know if they’ve contacted Rush yet.
RUSH: There wase laughter and applause, and I got this e-mail yesterday afternoon after the program. “Dear Mr. Limbaugh: I just returned to my duty location after President Bush’s inspirational speech to all of us here at Macdill Air Force Base. One of the great lines for all of us dittoheads here at Southern Command headquarters was the president’s clear acknowledgment of your reign over talk radio. We wouldn’t be surprised if your show won’t be broadcast via Iraqi radio soon. We already appreciate getting the segments of your show over Armed Forces Radio. Many times over the years during numerous deployments, I and other airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines, have enjoyed getting your pearls of wisdom and your truths. Wish you could have been here with us. We’ll keep doing our job — even though, as the president said, it’s a secret — so you can do your job and prevent any more threats to our great and noble way of life. God bless you and keep you safe, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Griffith, United States Southern Command.” Grab me line 5. Let’s go to line 5 here, and get this guy, because this is a good reminder of how all this happened — and I, frankly, had forgotten. It’s Paul in Norfolk, Virginia. Hi Paul, welcome.
CALLER: How you doing, Rush? Good talking to you.
RUSH: Fine, thank you.
CALLER: You know, I was just telling your screener. It just burns me up that the senator and these liberals are doing this because if you remember, I know you talked about it on your radio station, or your radio show before, is that when you first came out on AFRTS, you weren’t even on the list of programming. We had to handwrite your name in.
RUSH: Yeah, when they told me that you had said this, I now remember how this happened. This is an interesting story. Paul, thanks for the call. Let me go because I’ve got –
RUSH: – abbreviated time here. Let me tell this the rest of the way here because of my lack of time here. But this happened in the early 90s, and they took a survey of uniformed military personnel around the world as to what programs they wanted to listen to and they had a ballot and they had all these programs listed and my name was not on it. My name finished in the top five as a write-in of military personnel, and that caused pressure at the defense department, which was the Clinton defense department, and the pressure brought to bear…
I forget precisely. I think there was resistance to doing it, even after that ballot and when they resisted putting the program, making it available to uniformed people, then there was even more pressure to get it on, and the pressure was dumped over to the Department of Defense, and (Clinton Secretary of Defense) Les Aspin relented, and was the front man on it, and that’s when — I guess this has to be ’93 — ’93, ’94, and when he did it. Les Aspin decided they would take an hour, that the defense department would take an hour of this program. If the liberals aren’t careful what they’re going to end up with is this whole program on Armed Forces Radio Network.