Rush Limbaugh

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RUSH: I just remembered something. I had the news on today. I keep two monitors on in the studio each and every day. One of them is tuned to Fox. That’s the bottom one. What are these? Are these 55-inchers Brian? (interruption) Fifty-five? Yeah. That’s why they look so small. And then up on top… (interruption) Well, yeah, they look small compared to what I have at home.

I didn’t know if these were 32 or what. They’re 55? (interruption) All right. So on the bottom one is Fox, and up on top I used to have PMSNBC, but as you know they’re banned and I couldn’t care less. That’s an asylum. So I have CNN, and it’s barely much better but at least it’s another cable news source.

Occasionally I turn the audio on just to stay in touch, folks. It’s part of the job. It’s not that I really care about what anybody there says. It’s just to stay attuned. So I happened to have the monitors on and Mr. Snerdley walked in to say hello and talk about some things. I happen to look up at CNN on the monitor, and it was the usual predictable back-and-forth on the latest immigration problem at the borders.

I hit the mute button, and I looked at Mr. Snerdley, and I said, “Do you remember the days when it was really a big deal to be on TV?” There were so few networks and then so few shows on networks. You had the Sunday shows, the Sunday morning shows, and you had the evening news, and then occasionally you’d have a syndicated Sunday morning show. That was it (other than the prime time, but we’re not talking about that).

There just weren’t that many opportunities, and simply the fact that there were so few, meant that if you were on TV it automatically granted you gravitas and expert status because it was hard to get on TV. There were just as many people back then who wanted to be on TV as there are today, but it was like winning the lottery to end up on television. Today anybody — anybody — can be on TV, and you don’t have to have done anything to get on TV.

You don’t have to have one… (interruption) No, no, no, no! It’s not “sour grapes.” What do you mean, “sour grapes”? I could get on TV every day. It’s not about me. I could be on TV all day every day if I wanted to be. I don’t, and you know why? I’ll tell you. I’ve done both. (interruption) Well, yes, I hate the makeup. I really do. I know this all sounds like I’m just trying to be funny but I’m not.

I literally don’t want to be on TV. It’s a distraction. To me, it’s artificial. Everything about television is artificial — and I know I’m an odd because it is “the medium of the day.” I understand all this. But for me, I started in radio basically when I was 15. I’ve done both, and during the four years of the TV show there were a lot of people who really liked it. They thought it was really good.

But I finally figured out what it is, aside from the makeup. There are other things, too. I mean, it’s totally collaborative. You have to be able to collaborate to be on TV, and I can’t. I’m not interested in it. I don’t even like interviewing people. To collaborate, you’ve got to sit down and have meetings. You’ve got to plan what is gonna happen when. Each segment has to be blocked out. It’s gotta be hit just exactly at the right time.

Within each segment the director and the producers have to know what you’re going to do so they can make sure cameras and video inserts are ready to go, and there’s no flexibility in it. Like I couldn’t, on TV, say, “Hey, Cookie, would you grab what we did yesterday and go ahead and cut it?” I’d have to wait ’til the next day to get it. There’s no… (interruption) There’s no what? “There’s no chance for spontaneity.”

I’ve got people agreeing with me in the IFB. It limits spontaneity, and I don’t plan. When I start this program at noon, I literally don’t know what’s gonna make up these three hours. I decide mere minutes before this program starts what the first thing I’m gonna talk about is. But here’s what I really finally realized about why I don’t like it — and why I also think radio, done well, can have much more impact.

That camera is always a long way away, visually and actually. It’s a long way away from. The microphone, however, is right here, I mean it is mere inches away, and the camera is you and the microphone is you. This is intimate. I mean, this is really intimate. I just have no doubt here that I am closely connected and totally in touch. I don’t feel that way doing TV. That’s just me. I know I’m an oddball on this. (interruption)

Snerdley asked, “Well, how do I explain why the TV show was so good?” The video clips that we used! It wasn’t me. It wasn’t me. I got more comments my neckties and the videos or, “Why do you waste two minutes introing the show? Why don’t you just get into it? You only have a 30-minute show.” I got more complaints, more dissatisfaction, more people being critical on TV than I ever had on radio.

And the criticisms all had nothing to do with the content of the program. “The studio audience looks cheap! How much are you paying them?” This kind of stuff. At any rate … And I’m not doing the old fuddy-duddy thing. I’m just actually commenting on modern-day media and how corrupt it has made everything because so many people on it have no clue. They’re just dumb! Back in — and I’m not even calling it the Golden Age ’cause I think this is actually the media Golden Age ’cause it’s the age of me.

But it still strikes me that it was such a different time. If you think back, if you were alive and paying attention back then, virtually anybody on TV, just the fact they were there, was automatic credibility, because it was so rare. There were so few TV opportunities Now everybody and their uncle has a TV show, has a radio show, and it’s been broken up. There’s niche programming now. It’s fascinating, and to keep up with it is interesting and fun to do.

It’s a challenge. But it just struck me, and the reason it struck me is because there are so many people who have no idea what they’re doing or talking about who are presented as “experts.” It’s all part of the recipe that leads to dumbed-down people. Sometimes I have these reflective thoughts, and I have to comment on it in terms of my opinions.

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