Where Were His Sponsors During The Last 20 Years?

If there is anybody left who doesn’t know Rush Limbaugh and his history of angry, racist, abusive monologues, here is a primer:

October, 2003

“I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.”

Limbaugh, as a commentator on ESPN’s NFL Sunday Countdown, was speaking about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who he felt had been glamorized in the media. McNabb fired back two days later to the Philadelphia Daily News: “It’s sad that you’ve got to go to skin color. I thought we were through with that whole deal.”

His words sparked an outrage in the black community, with influential politicians like Howard Dean and Wesley Clark calling on ESPN to fire Limbaugh. Shortly after, the TV host resigned his spot on the show. “My comments this past Sunday were directed at the media and were not racially motivated. I offered an opinion. This opinion has caused discomfort to the crew, which I regret.”

October 2006

“This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting.”

His body wracked by tremors, Parkinson’s Disease-afflicted actor Michael J. Fox appeared in a campaign ad supporting Missouri senator Claire McCaskill, a supporter of stem-cell research. But Limbaugh publicly aired his accusation that the actor wasn’t being truthful. “He is exaggerating the effects of the disease,” he said.

After outrage from media and disability-rights critics, Limbaugh issued an apology, though it was one veiled in doubt. “I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox, if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act.”

May 2007

“Yeah, the guy from the L.A. paper / Said he makes guilty whites feel good / They’ll vote for him, and not for me / ‘Cause he’s not from the hood.”

Written by songwriter and satirist Paul Shanklin for Limbaugh’s show, “Barack the Magic Negro” was a tune set to the same background music as “Puff the Magic Dragon.” Shanklin, a white conservative, sings from the point of view of Rev. Al Sharpton, a frequent political candidate.

Limbaugh explained the song’s seemingly offensive title was based off of a Los Angeles Times column. But the ditty, which came just a few months after Don Imus’ infamous racial comments over the radio waves, had politicians up in arms, including Newt Gingrich, who told the New York Times, “This is so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it.” But Limbaugh defended his use of the song, saying it had been played a number of times in the past without outrage and blamed the media for spinning the story out of control.

January 2011

“He was speaking and they weren’t translating. They normally translate every couple of words. Hu Jintao was just going ching chong, ching chong cha.”

Limbaugh stirred controversy in the Asian-American community when he openly mocked the Chinese language on his radio show. In speaking about Chinese president Hu Jintao’s visit to the U.S., he explained that he was watching Hu on Fox News, unaccompanied by any translation, so he was unable to understand. Limbaugh then launched into a 20-second imitation of Hu’s speech – and was forced to deal with a backlash lasting many weeks. Asian-American politicians railed against Limbaugh for his comments. “You think you’ve arrived and all of a sudden get shot back to the reality that you’re a second-class citizen,” said California state Senator Leland Yee.

Limbaugh did not offer an apology for his comments, and instead highlighted society’s sensitivity: “”Back in the old days, Sid Caesar, for those of you old enough to remember, was called a comic genius for impersonating foreign languages that he couldn’t speak. But today the left says that was racism.”

February 2009

“So what is so strange about being honest and saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation?”

In a speech that CNN analyst Bill Schneider called  “mocking, bullying and full of contempt,” Limbaugh doubled-down on his wish for Obama to fail. Naturally, the statement was greeted with thunderous applause from the room full of conservatives.

But it wasn’t the first time he’d said it: the statement initially came up on his radio show a month earlier, when he noted that he wouldn’t need 400 words to describe his hope for Obama’s presidency, but just four: “I hope he fails.” It’s a statement he’s stuck with and for which he’s refused to apologize, despite catching heat from even his own party. Michael Steele, then-Chairman of the Republican National Committeelashed out against Limbaugh’s comments: “His whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it’s incendiary. Yes, it’s ugly.”

Just a few of the more memorable examples: I remember 15 years ago when Rush used to mount his soap box daily over “Feministas,” and how dikes, lesbo’s, and women in general were trying to take over the world. So, LegalZoom and the others, I ask you: Was it somehow OK for Rush to use derogatory and mean-spirited language in 1995, but not in 2012? Where were your protests then? Oh … that’s right … thankfully, we have instant retribution now through social media. Random Joe’s and Jane’s can actually make a difference now – instantly. We’re in the new Social Age. Hooray for us. And, see you later, Rush. It was awful knowing you.


About Steve King

iPeopleFINANCE™ Chief Operating Officer. Former CEO of Endymion Systems, Inc. a $36m Information Systems Services company. Co-founder of the Cambridge Systems Group, the creator of ACF2, the leading IBM Mainframe Data Center Security product; acquired by Computer Associates. IBM, seeCommerce, marchFIRST, Connectandsell alumni. UC Berkeley alumni. View all posts by Steve King

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