Which public figure can be quoted as having said something bigoted and disgusting and it doesn’t matter whether he did or not because he might have? Who can Big Media brand a racist without checking the facts? Who has to prove he did not say something racist, rather than the accuser proving he did?
I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.
It’s also been spread around that he said this, about the death of the man who assassinated Martin Luther King:
You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honour? James Earl Ray. We miss you, James. Godspeed.
Here's CNN's Rick Sanchez baldly stating at the 1.14 point that Limbaugh made the slavery comment:
Trouble is, he didn't say either of these outrageous things. And it wasn't difficult to check, as protein wisdom shows here. They originated from, er, Wikipedia and Wikiquotes. Both quotes ended up in this book – a hit job that doesn't cite any sources. They're also included in this internet list posted a year ago and endlessly ripped off ever since.
The irony is, of course, that the people reporting this as fact are the same types who are always denouncing bloggers and the internet as forces of evil intent on destroying proper journalism – proper journalism being the kind that involves checking facts. In the case of Rush Limbaugh, however, it seems to be enough that the intention (i.e. to show the talk radio host is a racist) is considered pure.
Even those who have been primary movers in spreading these malicious falsehoods – which would lead to payouts of hundreds of thousands in British libel courts if lawsuits were ever filed there – are brazenly unapologetic.
Thus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bryan Burwell pens this column containing the slavery quote and then follows up with another column with a kind-of-sort-of-well-not-really-at-all mea culpa in which he states that the quote seemed "so in character with the many things that Limbaugh has said before that we didn't verify it beyond the book".
OK, so it sounded right and it was on the internet or in a book or something so it was fine to just go ahead and print it as stone-cold fact without any attribution? I wonder which journalism school teaches that?
And Burwell caps it off by implying – nudge, nudge, wink, wink – that Limbaugh's really lying: "Fine, let's play along for the time being and take him at his word that he was inaccurately quoted in the Huberman book." I'm no fan of British libel laws but, again, if that had been printed in the UK it would have led to a hefty payout for aggravated damages.
Limbaugh is, understandably, on the war path because the smear of racism is one is very, very difficult to wipe clean:
When race is brought into it, that you can't let stand. I mean, if you, if people are trying to destroy your reputation and your credibility, your life, and your career by attacking you as a racist, then you have to stand up and, like that.
Now we are in the process behind the scenes working to get apologies and retractions, with the force of legal action, against every journalist who has published these entirely fabricated quotes about me, slavery, and James Earl Ray.
I never said them. We have tracked them. We know where they came from. We don't know the identity, but we know where they came from – a single blogger who posted the stuff on my Wikipedia page and Wikiquotes, unsourced.
Wikipedia says, 'Well, this is in dispute.' It's not in dispute. They were never uttered. I never said them. And I've even told reporters I never said them.
As Mark Steyn points out, in this instance it's for Limbaugh to prove the negative – an impossible task. And Dan Calebrese asks why if Limbaugh really is a racist then it takes bogus quotes to "prove" that he is?
What's the term for those who are setting about "racist" Rush Limbaugh right now? Ironically, it seems to be "lynch mob". And they've succeeded – word is that Limbaugh's been dropped from the consortium seeking to buy the St Louis Rams.
Half black and half of another race usually white.