You Can’t Silence Critics, But You Can Keep Being Effective
RUSH: It’s Open Line Friday, Rush Limbaugh, serving humanity each and every busy broadcast day simply by showing up. And now we go back to the phones to Ewing, New Jersey. This is Sandy. Great to have you on the program today. Hi.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. It’s great to talk to you. Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: You bet.
CALLER: I wanted to talk to you about the slogan, the MAGA slogan. I’m so sick of the mainstream media spinning that to be make America white and racist and go backwards. But I think every time Trump says Make America Great Again, he should define it with a few bullet points, maybe four or five bullet points and back it up every time he says that slogan.
CALLER: I just wondered what you thought about that.
RUSH: Well, this is an age-old question. I had to face this question, one of the first things I had to learn, one of the first things I learned I didn’t know, and one of the first things I realized there’s no answer to. When I started this program — let’s talk about the time before this program.
All my life before this program, including the three and a half years I was on the air in Sacramento, I was never called a racist, I was never thought of as one. I was never thought of as somebody who hated other people. I was never thought of, described, or accused of being bigot. Nobody ever said I hated women. They said I made fun of ’em now and then ’cause of the term feminazi, which I coined, but nobody thought I had any of these cliched labels attached to me.
So I moved to New York, start this program. August 1st, 1988. Actually, the local version started July 4th, 1988. And within six months, I’m all these things in the Drive-By Media. I’m racist, I’m sexist, I’m bigot, I’m homophobic, I’m all these other things. I’m like, what? I didn’t know what to do about it. Nobody that I knew had any advice. Nobody had been through it, nobody had any experience dealing with it. People said, “You need to get hold of a PR firm.”
“What’s the PR firm gonna do?”
“Well –” So I tried it. I called a PR firm. Big, famous PR firm. You know what they had me to do? “We need you to have a sit-down with the editorial board of the New York Times.”
I said, “and do what?”
“You tell ’em you’re not a racist.”
I said, “You gotta be kidding. That’s what I’m hiring you to do. You’re supposed to manufacture the evidence. I can’t be the one to tell people I’m not a racist. That’s not gonna go anywhere.”
“Well, that’s what you gotta do.”
“Well, why should I need your advice to do that? If I’m gonna call the New York Times, I don’t need to have you setting it up.”
So I said, “Okay. PR agencies are not the way to go.” And I went back and forth. On some of these allegations I responded like you want Trump to. You know what happened? The critics got all excited. “Oh, man, we got to him. Limbaugh reacted to it.” So they ladled it on, they started adding to it.
So, I mentioned that to some people. They said, “Okay. You need to ignore it.” Okay. I’ll ignore it. So I started ignoring it. Then one really bad charge of racism came out, just an outrageous set of lies and people said, “You can’t let that go by. You gotta react to that.”
The bottom line is, what I learned is that you can’t stop that stuff because of the people leveling the allegation. It isn’t about truth, Sandy. It’s about an attempt to destroy, in my case back then, it was my credibility. They could not refute or didn’t care to try to refute my ideas, so rather than do that, they tried to destroy my credibility with anybody outside my audience.
They were trying to make sure that people that did not listen to me thought all these horrible things so that they wouldn’t listen. And there was no way of changing their mind because their criticism wasn’t honest. It was strategic and calculated and manufactured. And it’s no different than what is happening to Trump.
Make America Great Again has nothing to do with white anything, supremacy, inferiority. There’s no color attached to it. America is not a color. America is a series of unique and great ideas which have been systematically attacked and ridiculed, and in some cases, gotten rid of over the years because there are people that don’t like America and there are so many reasons for that that it would be impossible to list them all.
And to simply react — here’s how it would go. So Trump’s at a rally. “And we’re gonna Make America Great Again, and that doesn’t mean we’re gonna make it white again.” And the critics would have a field day. The critics would think they’re on Trump’s mind. The critics would think they’re living rent free in Trump. It’s not the way to do it. I know why you want him to do it. It’s because it’s also being said about you. You’re not a racist. But you support Trump. You support making America great again.
Then you hear these nincompoops out there saying that “what that means is make America white again.” Even Pelosi says it. You want somebody to push back. You want somebody to slap ’em in the face and say, “Ain’t no way. You’re lying about us.” But that’s not the way to effectively deal with it, because it’s not true, they’re not even trying. They want people to think it’s true, but it isn’t true and the reasons they’re doing it are not because they’re really worried that Trump is a white supremacist.
They’re trying to discredit him. They’re creating a series of lies. This is what the left does. The left doesn’t deal in the arena of ideas. They don’t want to debate these ideas that we’re arguing about. They want to snuff out all opposition and eliminate it. And the way they go about doing it is discrediting anybody they fear is effective and able to defeat them in said arena of ideas.
But to take a meaningless, lying sack-of-you-know-what allegation and waste time defending it is not going to refute it. In fact, it may elevate it. It’s gonna call attention to it. “Mr. President, what do you mean, make America great is not about white supremacy?” Here comes the press gaggle. “What do you mean by that?” And you got a whole subject on something that’s not even true. Look. I share your frustration with this.
RUSH: So I realized, “Well, Rush, that doesn’t help us. There’s nothing you can do.” There is something to do, folks. And this is not a simplification. It’s not a cop-out. The thing to do is to defeat these people. You have to realize there’s gonna be some of them always.
The idea is to keep them an electoral minority. This requires the ongoing education and the ongoing informing of Americans and keeping them interested, keeping them inspired, keeping them motivated, continue to get them motivated to vote and keeping these people that we’re talking about here leveling these baseless allegations, make sure they remain an electoral minority.
It’s always been the end result of everything that happens here, is to create an army of informed, educated people that will show up at every election and just dwarf these people in number, just outnumber ’em, just defeat them politically, keep them away from power.
But let me give you an example, a shameless example. When I was on Fox News this morning to talk about our Stand Up for Betsy Ross T-shirt, turn on the side Dittocam here once again. I will put it up for display. This is the last day that I’m gonna be doing this. This shirt that we began selling this past Monday as an effort to push back against Nike and Kaepernick and all these others like the women’s soccer team who seem to just not be able to help themselves into ripping the symbols of this country to shreds, acting like there is a daily grievance associated with living in this country, we’re tired of it, we’re fed up with it.
These are people who have been made very successful, very wealthy by virtue of the fact that they live here, they get these platforms, and what they do with the platform is begin insulting us, insulting our heritage, insulting the country, and then they get paid for that.
Then the media picks it up and starts championing them. For two days the Drive-By Media was also breathlessly excited about who Megan Rapinoe might endorse for the Democrat nomination. Megan Rapinoe was the latest to take out Donald Trump. Megan Rapinoe maybe could do it. Now she’s a flash in the pan and she’s gone.
So we pushed back with this shirt. We’ve had to go reorder I can’t tell you how many times. Look. The reason I’m reluctant to give numbers — and they are astronomical — I don’t know. It kind of defeats the purpose. We’re not doing this to demonstrate our strength and power at retail. We’re doing this to give people an opportunity to push back, and we’re raising money, a portion of the proceeds go to a great charity, Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which by now you know they take care of people that lost family on 9/11, first responders, military personnel.
When I was on Fox this morning, I mentioned the fact we had 70 knockoffs. That means 70 fraudsters, 70 people are purposely trying to defraud you. On their websites they are advertising this shirt, their own very similar, very close design, even down to having my signature, and they’re trying to convince people that they are the real thing. Essentially that we have licensed other sellers to sell these shirts. And we haven’t.
The only legitimate shirt with our unique, great — there’s no T-shirts like ours, folks. I mean, even if Trump made T-shirts, his would not be as excellent and great as these are, let me tell you. The fabric of these shirts is what everybody who gets one comments on, and the artwork on this shirt is just the creme de la creme. It’s the best. And it’s the antique look of the Betsy Ross flag. What’d Betsy Ross ever do to anybody anyway? Why the hell tear her down?
The point is, this morning at 8:30 on Fox we had 70 knockoffs, 70 different fraudsters. And I mentioned this. I mentioned this as evidence of how wildly popular this is, that 70 different fraudsters have gotten into this thinking they can make a little money on it at the same time. You know how many there are now? 120. We have discovered 50 new, additional fraudsters since 8:30 this morning.
At one point we had 35,000 people in the store at the same time shopping. There are apps for that, you know. Kathryn runs around — this is so funny — she’s got an app on the phone that every time there’s a sale, she gets an alert on the phone, and the sound effect is cha-ching. And her phone never stops. We have to turn the mute switch on. It’s the funniest thing.
The point is after mentioning that there were 70 knockoffs and after ripping them to shreds and after telling everybody that there are just basically a bunch of fraudsters, did the number go down? No. It went up. We were talking about the fraudsters. We were making it known that there are fakes that people can buy.
So what happened? More and more people entered the market attempting to sell fakes. I tell you the same thing would happen if Trump were to go up there and say, “By the way, Make America Great Again does not mean make America white again.” It would have the exact opposite effect. The way to deal with this is to defeat these people, as Trump is doing.
That is the only way to do this, to keep them an electoral minority. This requires informing millions and millions a week. This requires keeping those people motivated and inspired, keeping them aware. It involves validating, finding people who already are offended and resentful of this stuff. Letting them know there’s an outlet for them to push back and so forth. It’s a never-ending project.
Now, my project here as a radio guy is to have the most successful radio show, the largest legitimate audience so I can charge confiscatory advertising rates. But part and parcel of that is the opportunity to be honest. And I’m genuinely worried, as I said earlier in the program, I’m really worried about the rising amount of mainstream ignorance and stupidity that starts in mainstream journalism.
The amount of rage and anger and lying ignorance and stupidity that then informs millions of people every day is scary to me. And it needs to be stopped, it needs to be opposed, it needs to be forever rendered a minority. So there are many aspects that go into a program here each and every day. There’s some overriding themes, missions, goals, accomplishments that we seek to make. And those are just a few of them.
But it’s the age-old argument: How do you deal with critics? How do you silence the critics? And the bottom line is, you don’t. They’re never gonna go away. If you’re effective — this is the thing, the really tough thing to learn, that all of this criticism is rooted in the effectiveness of the person being criticized.
Trump is being ripped to shreds because he’s so damn good at what he’s doing. He’s being ripped to shreds because he’s effective. He’s scaring the hell out of these people. He’s being ripped to shreds by everybody in Washington because he’s turning the town upside down in terms of how you do it.
Look at Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan is quoted in this book by Tim Alberta (paraphrasing), “Oh, my God. It was a disaster when Trump got here. He didn’t have the slightest idea how government worked.” Isn’t that what Pelosi is basically saying about Ocasio-Cortez? Pelosi says (imitating Pelosi), “Look, if you’re gonna do this, do it inside the tent, not outside.” Pelosi is trying to tell Cortez, “You don’t know how to do this. You don’t know how this works.”
That’s what they were telling Trump. “You don’t have any idea how government works.” Trump says, “I’m not here to make the government you guys had running working. I’m here to change it.” Which he is. Change is very hard. These people that have been entrenched in the Washington establishment for years don’t want any change in the way they’ve been running things. They don’t want any change in who has been running things.
Trump has come in, turned it all upside down. Pelosi is worried that Ocasio-Cortez is trying the same thing. And it’s a testament to the effectiveness of the person being criticized. They don’t criticize you if you’re not a factor. They don’t criticize you if they’re not worried about you. And most of this criticism, by the way, is coming from invisible little people that are the equivalent of wearing their pajamas in their parents’ basements. They’re people that haven’t done anything in their lives. These are nameless, faceless people on Twitter.
One of the things I’m getting so worn out on. I’m reading mainstream news articles, and here comes the phrase or the headline or the subheadline: Twitter blew up today” or “the internet blew up today.” What is Twitter blew up? Who cares what happened on Twitter? They’re trying to convert Twitter into the way to measure mass public opinion. It isn’t. Ditto with the internet.
So if you can create a meme or if you can create a narrative that causes, quote, unquote, the internet to go crazy, then you are considered to be an influencer and somebody who is affecting massive change. And I would submit to you that most of these people don’t make much change at all and they’re largely irrelevant.
And the media being lazy, it’s much easier to go look at a bunch of tweets and then pretend that the tweets represent public opinion instead of actually going out there and finding public opinion. Especially if you can find a bunch of tweets that simply tweet your views, if you hate Trump you’re a journalist and there’s some tweets out there criticizing Trump, you run with ’em and you pass them off as mass public opinion, when they’re not.
They’re just a bunch of faceless, anonymous people who have nothing better to do all day, who haven’t accomplished anything. They’re sitting out there dreaming about mattering, dreaming about having followers, dreaming about having likes, dreaming about having gigantic influence. When you get right down to it, very few of them have any to speak of.
But when the Drive-By Media reports Twitter blew up or the internet blew up or whatever, something went viral, what’s the definition of going viral? A million people watch it? Chump change, a million people watch, chump change in the big scheme of things.
So people end up being malinformed, ill-informed with a bunch of bias, a bunch of stupidity, and a bunch of ignorance. They end up believing it. Then they see what becomes popular. They start echoing it. And it becomes a repeating and never-ending cycle. And the stupidity and the ignorance grow. And they expand. At some point it’s gonna cancel itself out, I hope.