Rush Limbaugh may be months away from being dropped, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to take credit for Jon Stewart and The Daily Show.
Audio via Media Matters:
Transcript from Rush Limbaugh:
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Now, it’s risky for me to get into this, because it could be misunderstood, but the Rush Limbaugh TV show was the Daily Show before the Daily Show. This radio program has always been something that, prior to it, really didn’t exist in major national media. I attempted to explain this now and then in the early days. When a mainstream journalist would interview me back in the days when I thought being interviewed was an opportunity to inform them and educate them, which it isn’t and wasn’t, but I would tell them what I do. They were not interested in hearing what I had to say. All they wanted to do was take shots at, make fun of or disagree with what my answer to them was. But the thing I said to them was that I do something that you don’t find elsewhere in the media. I combine the serious discussion of issues with irreverent satirical comedy, with credibility on both sides.
And then I would say, “Can you imagine if Letterman came out one night and actually did a serious monologue for five minutes?” People watching that show would not know what to do. They wouldn’t know how to react. That is not why they’re watching. They don’t tune to Letterman for anything serious. Ditto Ted Koppel and Nightline. If he opened Nightline with a 10-minute joke routine, a la Carson or Leno, people wouldn’t know what to do. That’s not why they’re watching. By the same token, if the Tonight Show started and Johnny Carson came out and did 10 minutes of drop dead serious politics, people wouldn’t know what to do.
I’d tell these journalists in the early days of the program, “This is what I do. I do both those things with credibility. The fact that I do satire and irreverent humor does not take away from the credibility that I have with my audience when I discuss things seriously.” But because of that, in the early days, the media still used the fact that there was a lot of comedy on this program to poke holes. “Well, Limbaugh, he’s just an entertainer. I mean, I don’t know why the Republican Party pays so much attention to Limbaugh.” I mean, you still hear that today. “He’s just an entertainer,” meaning you can’t take him seriously. And then something will happen and the next week I will be the titular head of the Republican Party.
Back here on planet Earth, Rush Limbaugh is on the verge of being dropped by Cumulus Media. His old television program bears no resemblance to anything remotely close to The Daily Show.
Here is a clip from Limbaugh’s old TV show:
If Rush Limbaugh could be funny like Jon Stewart, he might still be on television. The reality that Rush wants to avoid is that he may be single handedly killing conservative talk radio.
The concept behind The Daily Show will never be a part of his legacy, but calling Sandra Fluke a slut and triggering a massive boycott against his advertisers always will be.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association