Thursday, October 26, 2006

RUSH LIMBAUGH REALITY CHECK

Following Rush Limbaugh's latest embarrassing commentary, I went looking for other stupid things he's said. I found the motherlode.

Reprinted from the archives of the Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting Website -- http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1895

The Way Things Aren't:

Rush Limbaugh Debates Reality

Excerpts [limited to 25,000 characters]

LIMBAUGH: "Banks take the risks in issuing student loans and they are entitled to the profits." (Radio show, quoted in FRQ, Summer/93)

REALITY: Banks take no risks in issuing student loans, which are federally insured.

LIMBAUGH: "Don't let the liberals deceive you into believing that a decade of sustained growth without inflation in America [in the '80s] resulted in a bigger gap between the haves and the have-nots. Figures compiled by the Congressional Budget Office dispel that myth." (Ought to Be, p. 70)

REALITY: CBO figures do nothing of the sort. Its numbers for after-tax incomes show that in 1980, the richest fifth of our country had eight times the income of the poorest fifth. By 1989, the ratio was more than 20 to one.

LIMBAUGH: Comparing the 1950s with the present: "And I might point out that poverty and economic disparities between the lower and upper classes were greater during the former period." (Told You So, p. 84)

REALITY: Income inequality, as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau, fell from the 1940s to the late 1960s, and then began rising. Inequality surpassed the 1950 level in 1982 and rose steadily to all-time highs in 1992. (Census Bureau's "Money Income of Households, Families and Persons in the United States")

LIMBAUGH: "Oh, how they relished blaming Reagan administration policies, including the mythical reductions in HUD's budget for public housing, for creating all of the homeless! Budget cuts? There were no budget cuts! The budget figures show that actual construction of public housing increased during the Reagan years." (Ought to Be, p. 242-243)

REALITY: In 1980, 20,900 low-income public housing units were under construction; in 1988, 9,700, a decline of 54 percent ;Statistical Abstracts of the U.S).In terms of 1993 dollars, the HUD budget for the construction of new public housing was slashed from $6.3 billion in 1980 to $683 million in 1988. "We're getting out of the housing business. Period," a Reagan HUD official declared in 1985.

LIMBAUGH: "The poorest people in America are better off than the mainstream families of Europe." (Radio show, quoted in FRQ, Spring/93)

REALITY: Huh? The average cash income of the poorest 20 percent of Americans is $5,226; the average cash income of four major European nations--Germany, France, United Kingdom and Italy--is $19,708.

LIMBAUGH: "There's no such thing as an implied contract." (Radio show, quoted in FRQ, Spring/93)

REALITY: Every first year lawstudent knows there is.

LIMBAUGH: "Ladies and gentlemen, we now know why there is this institutional opposition to low tax rates in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. It's because [low tax rates] are biblical in nature and in root. When you can trace the lowering of tax rates on grain from 90 percent to 20 percent giving seven fat years during the days of Pharaoh in Egypt, why then you are tracing the roots of lower taxes and rising prosperity to religion.... You can trace individual prosperity, economic growth back to the Bible, the Old Testament. Isn't it amazing?" (Radio show, 6/28/93)

REALITY: Amazingly wrong. Genesis 41 is about the wisdom of instituting taxes, not cutting them. After Pharaoh had a dream that prophesied seven fat years to be followed by seven lean years, Joseph advised him to "appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years...and lay up corn under the hands of Pharaoh." In other words, a 20 percent tax on the grain harvest would put aside food for use during the famine. Pharaoh took Joseph's advice, and Egypt avoided hunger during the famine.

Weird Science

LIMBAUGH: "It has not been proven that nicotine is addictive, the same with cigarettes causing emphysema [and other diseases]." (Radio show, 4/29/94)

REALITY: Nicotine's addictiveness has been reported in medical literature since the turn of the century. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop's 1988 report on nicotine addiction left no doubts on the subject; "Today the scientific base linking smoking to a number of chronic diseases is overwhelming, with a total of 50,000 studies from dozens of countries," states Encyclopedia Britannica's 1987 "Medical and Health Annual."

LIMBAUGH: "We closed down a whole town--Times Beach, Mo.--over the threat of dioxin. We now know there was no reason to do that. Dioxin at those levels isn't harmful." (Ought to Be, p. 163)

REALITY: "The hypothesis that low exposures [to dioxin] are entirely safe for humans is distinctly less tenable now than before," editorialized the New England Journal of Medicine after publishing a study (1/24/91) on cancer mortality and dioxin. In 1993, after Limbaugh's book was written, a study of residents in Seveso, Italy had increased cancer rates after being exposed to dioxin, The EPA's director of environmental toxicology said this study removed one of the last remaining doubts about dioxin's deadly effects (AP, 8/29/93).

LIMBAUGH: "The worst of all of 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 of five passengers would be killed on the flight? Well, the statistic holds for condoms, folks." (Ought to Be, p. 135)

REALITY: A one in five AIDS risk for condom users? Not true, according to Dr. Joseph Kelaghan, who evaluates contraceptives for the National Institutes of Health. "There is substantive evidence that condoms prevent transmission if used consistently and properly," he said. He pointed to a nearly two-year study of couples in which one partner was HIV-positive. Among the 123 couples who used condoms regularly, there wasn't a single new infection (AP, 8/29/93).

LIMBAUGH: "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 people." (Told You So, p. 153)

REALITY: "Mr. Limbaugh's claim simply isn't true," says Dr. Hugh Scully, chair of the Canadian Medical Association's Council on Healing and Finance. "The vast majority of Canadians, including physicians, receive their care here in Canada. Those few Canadians who receive health care in the U.S. most often do because they have winter homes in the States--like Arizona and Florida--and have emergent health problems there." Medical care in Canada is hardly "too expensive"; it's provided free and covered by taxes.

LIMBAUGH: "If you have any doubts about the status of American health care, just compare it with that in other industrialized nations." (Told You So, p. 153)

REALITY: The United States ranks 19th in life expectancy and 20th in infant mortality among 23 industrialized nations, according to the CIA's 1993 World Fact Book. The U.S. also has the lowest health care satisfaction rate (11 percent) of the 10 largest industrialized nations (Health Affairs, vol. 9, no. 2).

LIMBAUGH: Denouncing Jeremy Rifkin of the Beyond Beef campaign as an "ecopest": "Rifkin is bent out of shape because he says the cattle consume enough grain to feed hundreds of millions of people. The reason the cattle are eating the grain is so they can be fattened and slaughtered, after which they will feed people, who need a high protein diet." (Ought To Be, p. 110)

REALITY: Sixteen pounds of grain and soy is required to produce one pound of edible food from beef (USDA Economic Research Service). As for needing a "high-protein diet," the World Health Organization and U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend that from 4.5 percent to 6 percent of daily calories come from protein. The amount of calories from protein in rice is 8 percent; in wheat it's 17 percent (USDA Handbook No. 456).

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." (Radio show, 2/18/94)

REALITY: 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 today (The Bum's Rush, p. 136). Limbaugh's claim also ignores the fact that much of today's forests are single-species tree farms, as opposed to natural old-growth forests which support diverse ecosystems.

Brotherhood...and Sisterhood

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." (Radio show, quoted in FRQ, Summer/93)

REALITY: "Jury Foreman Says Video Was Crucial in Convictions", read an accurate Los Angeles Times headline the day after the federal court verdict (4/20/93).

LIMBAUGH: "Anytime the illegitimacy rate in black America is raised, Rev. Jackson and other black 'leaders' immediately change the subject." (Ought to Be, p. 225)

REALITY: Jesse Jackson has been talking about and against "children having children" in speeches and interviews for decades. So have many other black leaders, especially in the clergy.

LIMBAUGH: Praising Strom Thurmond for calling a gay soldier "not normal": "He's not encumbered by being politically correct.... If you want to know what America used to be--and a lot of people wish it still were--then you listen to Strom Thurmond." (TV show, 9/1/93)

REALITY: In the America that "used to be," Strom Thurmond was one of the country's strongest voices for racism, running for president in 1948 on the slogan, "Segregation Forever."

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?" (Told You So, p. 68)

REALITY: 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.

LIMBAUGH: "Women were doing quite well in this country before feminism came along." (Radio show, quoted in FRQ, Summer/93)

REALITY: Before feminism, women couldn't even vote.

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 him.... There 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." (TV show, 5/4/94)

REALITY: 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.

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)

REALITY: 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.

LIMBAUGH: Equally accurate when denouncing a fellow conservative, he said of right-wing journalist Cliff Kincaid: "He's written all kinds of pieces about how I don't go make speeches for free, for the cause.... He's just one more of these little gnats out there trying to sink a Boeing 747 that's leaving him in a cloud of dust." (Radio show, 11/19/93)

REALITY: Kincaid's only published piece on whether Limbaugh does speeches "for the cause" was in Human Events (7/27/91): "He does his bit for conservatives when the movement calls. He waived his fees, for instance, when he emceed at roasts for Oliver North and Paul Weyrich and addressed the National Right to Life convention."

Limbaugh vs. Limbaugh

LIMBAUGH: Limbaugh frequently denies that he uses his show for political activism: "I have yet to encourage you people or urge you to call anybody. I don't do it. They think I'm the one doing it. That's fine. You don't need to be told when to call. They think you are a bunch of lemmings out there." (Radio show, 6/28/93)

REALITY: Just an hour after making the above claim, he was--as usual--sending his troops to the trenches: "The people in the states where these Democratic senators are up for reelection in '94 have to let their feelings be known.... These senators, you let them know. I think Wisconsin's one state. Let's say Herb Kohl is up in '94. You people in Wisconsin who don't like this bill, who don't like the tax increases, you let Herb Kohl know somehow."

LIMBAUGH: On the poverty line: "$14,400 for a family of four. That's not so bad." (Radio show, 11/9/93, quoted in FRQ, Winter/94)

REALITY: Just a few months earlier, Limbaugh was talking about how tough it was to make 10 times that: "I know families that make $180,000 a year and they don't consider themselves rich. Why, it costs them $20,000 a year to send their kids to school." (Radio show, 8/3/93, quoted in FRQ, Winter/94)

LIMBAUGH: On Bill Clinton: "Never trust a draft dodger." (Radio show, quoted in FRQ, Summer/93)

REALITY: Although a supporter of the Vietnam War, Limbaugh used a minor physical impairment to avoid the draft (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/27/93).

LIMBAUGH: In frequent broadcasts, Limbaugh offers impassioned advocacy for Paula Jones, who charged Bill Clinton with sexual harassment. (TV and radio, April-May/94)

REALITY: Limbaugh boasted that a sign on his office door reads, "Sexual harassment at this work station will not be reported. However...it will be graded!!!" (USA Weekend, 1/26/92).

3 comments:

suzypwr said...

He doesn't take drugs, either, right? Never did?

xoxo

ber144 said...

It's been so cold and rainy here today-ugh.  I never needed a laugh more than today, right now, I think, and I am grateful that you used all 25,000 characters to provide it.  It's a shame that Limbaugh doesn't harness all the hot air that comes out of his pie hole.  He could heat all of New England this winter.

sdoscher458 said...

Thank you..this is being emailed to a hard nosed Republican that I know...you really nailed him.....Sandi