Rush Limbaugh is a right-wing radio talk show host syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, a property of Clear Channel Communications. Limbaugh's hours-long commentaries are syndicated on hundreds of radio stations nationwide. He promotes tobacco interests and climate denialism, calling for all those promoting the “global warming hoax” to be “named and fired, drawn and quartered”.
- 1 Drug addict
- 2 Tobacco lobbyist
- 3 Controversies
- 4 Against indecency restrictions
- 5 Divorce
- 6 Related topics
- 7 Contact information
- 8 Resources
In October 2003, under criticism and closer scrutiny for his McNabb comments, Limbaugh admitted he was addicted to OxyContin (oxycodone hydrochloride), a long-acting slow-release opioid known colloquially as "hillbilly heroin", and other opioid drugs. Limbaugh checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic in Arizona. Upon returning to his program, Limbaugh lashed out at investigators who served warrants on Dec. 4 at offices of several physicians who he had visited. Search warrants indicated investigators suspect Limbaugh shopped for doctors willing to prescribe opioids, tranquillizers and anxiolytics. Limbaugh earlier reported trouble with his hearing, nearly leaving his job because of an almost total loss of hearing. Deafness is associated with Acetaminophen overuse, and Acetaminophen is often combined with opioids (e.g. Vicodin). He was able to return to broadcasting after receiving an implant that allows him to hear monotone sounds. From time to time he has to take time away from work to return to California due to difficulties and checkups of the implant. Limbaugh was criticized for having condemned drug users and mocking claims of rehabilitation before his own drug problems were revealed.
Rush Limbaugh has been a consistent supporter of the tobacco industry's positions on issues. Tobacco industry documents contain numerous examples of proposals and plans to enlist the help of conservative talk show hosts to advance tobacco company positions and opinions on issues. Rush Limbaugh is listed repeatedly as a host to contact. A November 1993 Philip Morris strategy plan to deal with the proliferation of smoking bans nationally lists a strategy to,
- Use media and third party organizations to advance the position that it is becoming politically incorrect to be politically correct by exposing the hypocrisy and absurdity of the established movement toward political "correctness."(Relate public smoking issue to other absurd politically correct issues...Publicize absurdity of bigotry and intolerance [towards smokers].
A bullet after this states, "Place commentary ideas with personalities who can then expound on the issue, e.g. Rush Limbaugh."  In 1994, after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration took steps to implement workplace smoking restrictions, a proposal to fight the OSHA effort writtten by the Washington-based public affairs firm Powell-Tate (and found in the files of the Lorillard Tobacco Company) stated, "Today radio talk shows represent the playing field for many issues in the public arena. Witness the...enormous audience of talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh. Powell Tate has experience in working with radio talk show producers and hosts across the country. The agency will work to ... entice the host to discuss the issue on the show using attention-grabbing examples of "life after the passage of the OSHA regulations."
On his April 29, 1994 radio program Limbaugh stated, "There is no conclusive proof that nicotine's addictive...and the same thing with cigarettes causing emphysema, lung cancer, heart disease."  He stated this despite the fact that the U.S. Surgeon General's Report of 1988 declared the nicotine in cigarettes to be an addictive substance, the 1984 Surgeon General's report definitively linked smoking with emphysema, and the 1964 report linked it with lung cancer.  A 2000 R.J. Reynolds report titled "'Reframing the Debate' Communications Plan" lists a goal of "Shift[ing] the debate and framework under which cigarette-related issues are evaluated in the future." RJR's plan lists Rush Limbaugh as a selected media outlet to approach for assistance in carrying out this plan.
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox appeared in a new political ad on stem cell research which "debuted prominently Saturday night [October 21, 2006,] during Game 1 of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers, and became the "subject of widespread discussion" "after conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh claimed Fox was 'either off his medication or acting'," the Associated Press/CBS News and other media outlets reported. "A victim of Parkinson's disease, Fox speaks out in the ad for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill, who supports embryonic stem cell research." Limbaugh said on his syndicated show that "I think this is exploitative in a way that's unbecoming of either Claire McCaskill or Michael J. Fox" and, appearing to "back away from his accusation", Limbaugh added "All I'm saying is I've never seen him the way he appears in this commercial for Claire McCaskill ... So 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, especially since people are telling me they have seen him this way on other interviews and in other television appearances."
Fox responded to Limbaugh in an interview with CBS, saying: "He used the word victim and on another occasion used the word pitiable. Understand that nobody in this position wants pity. We don't want pity. I'm not a victim."
On September 28, 2003, shortly after Limbaugh became a commentator on ESPN's Countdown, he made the following comment:
- I think the sum total of what you're all saying is, Donovan McNabb is regressing, he's going backwards. And my, I'm sorry to say this, I don't think he's been that good from the get-go. I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well, for instance, black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. I think there is a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he really didn't deserve.... The defense carried this team, I think, and he got credit for it.
On October 2, after heavy criticism, he stepped down as an ESPN commentator, saying:
- What happened was that some of my cast members began to be made to feel uncomfortable by the press and others who couldn't believe that they had not responded to what I said so the path of least resistance became for me to resign.
In 2004, Limbaugh provoked controversy by making light of evidence of torture at the Abu Ghraib detention center in Baghdad:
- The babes are meting out the torture.... It looks just like anything you'd see Madonna, or Britney Spears do on stage.... This is something that you can see on stage at Lincoln Center from an NEA grant, maybe on Sex in the City -- the movie. 
- This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off? 
- I think the reaction to the stupid torture is an example of the feminization of this country. 
- Sounds to me in the context of war this is pretty good intimidation ... Maybe the people who ordered this are pretty smart. Maybe the people who executed this pulled off a brilliant maneuver. Nobody got hurt. Nobody got physically injured. But boy there was a lot of humiliation of people who are trying to kill us -- in ways they hold dear. Sounds pretty effective to me if you look at us in the right context.
- if you have the passwords to these various porn sites, you can see things like this ... [Maybe the soldiers] are simply acting out what they've on these websites or something, just for the fun of it. Or maybe other reasons. 
- ... there's a lot of false phony concern for these Iraqi detainees. This is not about people genuinely outraged about this. ... The Democrats and the media don't give a rat's rear end about what happened to those prisoners. ... It's all political. They don't give a hoot about those prisoners. 
- I mean, don't be surprised if [liberal financier] George Soros puts up a few hundred million dollars for a torture institute at the new torture university to teach people how it's really done, to show how Bush and Rumsfeld are inept. 
Sandra Fluke Comments
On February 29, 2012 Limbaugh unleashed an on-air slew of misogynistic and derogatory comments towards Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke. Fluke was attacked by Limbaugh after she testified before an unofficial hearing convened by Democrats. She criticized the health insurance policies of Georgetown, a Jesuit university, saying the school's lack of contraception coverage has a harmful impact on female students. "I'm an American woman who uses contraceptives," she declared. 
On his show, Limbaugh slammed Fluke and claimed that she asked the government to subsidize her sex life. "What does that make her?" he asks. "It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex."  The next day next Limbaugh added, "if we're going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch." He also said [Fluke] was having "$3000 worth of birth control pills worth of sex." 
As advertisers began to pull out from Limbaugh's show, and criticism came from both political parties, Limbaugh issued a rare apology:
“For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke. I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level. My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.” 
As of March 8, 2012, a little over a week after Limbaugh's comments, 50 advertisers had pulled their sponsorship from Limbaugh's show.  Although Limbaugh is taking heat from sponsors, radio behemoth Clear Channel is standing by their man. Limbaugh's contract with Clear Channel runs until 2016. Clear Channel told the Associated Press: "We respect the right of Mr. Limbaugh, as well as the rights of those who disagree with him, to express those opinions." 
Against indecency restrictions
Following controversial comments broadcast by Bubba the Love Sponge Clem and Howard Stern, Clear Channel executives were required to appear before a February 2004 House Energy and Commerce telecommunications subcommittee. This followed the Federal Communications Commission proposed to fine Clear $755,000 for Clem's broadcasts . The FCC, is headed by Republican appointee Michael Powell, and regulates indecency standards on radio. Clear Channel was fined. After the hearing St Peterburg Times journalist Eric Deggans noted that even though the FCC was headed by a Republican appointee and indecency on radio had been regulated on radio since 1936, Limbaugh railed against the possibility that Democrats could constrain what could be said on radio. "Smut on TV gets praised. . . . On radio, there seems to be a little bit of a different standard ... If we sit by and let a federal government start to define what is okay for someone to say on radio . . . what happens if a whole bunch of John Kerry . . . Terry McAuliffe types end up running this country?" Limbaugh complained.  (McAuliffe is Democratic National Committee chairman).
Limbaugh's brother, David Limbaugh, an attorney, is also a regular contributor to conservative media outlets WorldNetDaily, Townhall.com, and The Washington Times. Limbaugh is carried on American Forces Radio and Television Service.
Related SourceWatch articles
- See how you compare to Rush Limbaugh
- Interview with John K. Wilson, author of The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, Media Matters with Bob McChesney, 29 August 2011.
- George Grow, "Rush Limbaugh's Hearing Loss", Science Report, Voice of America, November 7, 2001.
- Tim O'Meilia, "Abuse of painkiller could cause sudden hearing loss", Palm Beach Post, October 3, 2003.
- Limbaugh admits addiction to pain medication, CNN, October 11, 2003.
- Warrants: Limbaugh Was 'Doctor Shopping' Investigators Raid Rush Limbaugh's Offices, Associated Press, December 4, 2003.
- "Limbaugh on Drugs: People Like Limbaugh Should Go to Jail, Says Limbaugh", Extra!, November/December 2003.
- Eric Deggans, http://www.sptimes.com/2004/02/27/Columns/Clear_Channel_becomes.shtml "Clear Channel becomes conveniently 'responsible',"] St. Petersburg Times, February 27, 2004.
- Scott McCabe, "Limbaugh, third wife parting after 10 years", Palm Beach Post, June 12, 2004.
- "Limbaugh charged in Florida drug fraud probe," Reuters, April 28, 2006.
- "US radio pundit on drugs charge," BBC, April 29, 2006: "US radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been charged with fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs."
- "Rehab, $30,000 to keep Limbaugh out of court. Attorney: Prosecutor to drop charge after 18 months of treatment," CNN, April 29, 2006.
- "Limbaugh: Michael J. Fox Exploited Disease. Conservative Talk Show Host Says He'll Apologize If Fox Wasn't 'Acting' In Political Ad," CBS News/Associated Press, October 24, 2006.
- John Aravosis, "Limbaugh attacks Michael J. Fox, says his Parkinson's is just 'faking.' Do Talent, Steele, and Green agree?" and "CNN on Michael J. Fox being attacked by Rush Limbaugh who doesn't believe Fox's Parkinson's symptoms are real," AMERICAblog, October 24, 2006.
- "Limbaugh likened Michael J. Fox to "Jersey Girls," declared stem cell ad part of 'a script that they (Democrats) have written for years' in which 'victims' are 'infallible'," Media Matters for America, October 24, 2006.
- David Montgomery, "Rush Limbaugh On the Offensive Against Ad With Michael J. Fox," Washington Post, October 25, 2006.
- "Michael J Fox makes stem cell ads," BBC, October 25, 2006.
- Stephen M. Silverman, "Rush Mocks Michael J. Fox Political Ad," People Magazine, October 25, 2006.
- Judd Legum, "Limbaugh on Michael J. Fox: ‘I Take Back None of What I Said’," Think Progress, October 25, 2006.
- "Limbaugh still defending his Michael J. Fox attacks; MSNBC's Slager falsely asserted Fox 'has not said whether or not' he took medication before making ads" and "Media falsely reported Limbaugh 'apologized' for attacking Michael J. Fox," Media Matters for America, October 25, 2006.
- Katie Couric, "My Interview With Michael J. Fox," CBS News, October 26, 2006. Think Progress has the video link.
- "Mr. Showmanship. Attack on actor Michael J. Fox reveals Rush Limbaugh's single priority: showbiz," Houston Chronicle, October 26, 2006.
- "Limbaugh falsely claimed of Michael J. Fox: '[E]very one of his ads is run for the benefit of a Democrat'," Media Matters for America, October 26, 2006.
- Russell Shaw, "The Real Reasons Rush Limbaugh Said What He Did," The Huffington Post, October 26, 2006.
- "Fox-Limbaugh Battle Gets Uglier," NBC10.com, October 27, 2006.
- Keith Olbermann, Commentary: "'World’s Worst' Person: Rush Limbaugh," Countdown with Keith Olbermann/MSNBC, October 27, 2006.
- "Fox 'not acting' in campaign ads," BBC, October 27, 2006.
- Deborah Charles, "Actor Fox sparks debate, support for stem cells," Reuters, October 27, 2006.
- Linwood Barclay, "Everyone knows Rush Limbaugh's just faking," Toronto Star, October 27, 2006.
- Tom Baldwin, "Digging to new depths for dirt," The Australian, October 28, 2006.
- John Nichols, "Limbaugh's Savage Crusade," The Nation Blog, October 28, 2006.
- William Saletan, "Limbaugh Outfoxed," Washington Post, October 29, 2006.
- Jamie Hollly, "Colbert’s Word On Limbaugh," Crooks and Liars, October 31, 2006.
- John Amato, "Limbaugh’s 'Barack the Magic Negro,' on-air song has workers up in arms," Crooks and Liars, April 27, 2007. re Barack Obama/Barack Obama: U.S. presidential election, 2008
- John Aravosis, "'Barack, the Magic Negro' - a new song played on the Rush Limbaugh show," AMERICAblog, April 29, 2007.
- John Aravosis, "Limbaugh broadcasts song mocking black people's inability to speak 'proper' English," AMERICAblog, April 30, 2007.
- "US DJ criticised over Obama song," BBC News, May 10, 2007.
- Faiz Shakir, "A Challenge For Lawmakers Who Voted To Attack MoveOn Ad: Will They Now Condemn Limbaugh?" Think Progress, September 27, 2007.
- Faiz Shakir, "Senate Democratic Leaders Demand Apology For Limbaugh’s ‘Outrageous,’ ‘Unconscionable’ Remarks," Think Progress, September 28, 2007.
- Matt Corley, "Do Rush’s Senate Friends Still Think ‘There’s Nothing Inflammatory About Anything’ He Says?" Think Progress, September 28, 2007.
- Jane Hamsher, "Wes Clark Says Remove Limbaugh from Armed Forces Radio Network, Too," Firedoglake Blog, October 2, 2007.
- Matt Corley, "Morgan Echoes Limbaugh: Soldiers Like Iraq War Vet Jon Soltz Are ‘Anti-America’ ‘Fake’ ‘Posers’," Think Progress, October 2, 2007.
- Matt Corley, "Fox Circles The Wagons Around Rush; Attacks Reid, Media Matters, And ‘The Left’," Think Progress, October 2, 2007.
- "‘Phony soldier’ responds to Rush," Think Progress, October 2, 2007.
- Amanda Terkel, "Limbaugh Compares Purple Heart Recipient In Vote Vets Ad To A Suicide Bomber," Think Progress, October 2, 2007.
- "Robertson's CBN News lies for Limbaugh," Radamisto Blogspot, October 4, 2007. re Vets for Freedom's Pete Hegseth
- McDonald, Frank (2011 [last update]). The real climate hoax: denying reality and demonising scientists - The Irish Times - Sat, Jul 09, 2011. irishtimes.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
- Szalavitz, Maia (2012 [last update]). Maia Szalavitz: Rush, Deafness, Hillbilly Heroin and Opioids. huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved on February 2, 2012. “Acetaminophen”
- Limbaugh on Drugs. fair.org (2012 [last update]). Retrieved on February 2, 2012.
- Page 5
- Rush Limbaugh vs. Sandra Fluke: A timeline, The Week, March 7, 2012
- Jack Mirkinson, Rush Limbaugh: Sandra Fluke Comments Were 'Uncalled For,' A 'Shame' Advertisers Left, Huffington Post, March 5, 2012
- Katherine Fung, Rush Limbaugh On Sandra Fluke, Obama Call: Having 'So Much Sex'; Parents Should Be 'Embarrassed, Huffington Post, March 2, 2012
- Kirsten West Savali, Limbaugh Issues Apology For “Slut” Comment, News One, March 3, 2012
- Amanda Cuda, St. Vs pulls ads from Limbaugh show, CT Post, March 7, 2012
- Adam Peck, Rush Limbaugh’s Advertisers Facing Social Media Firestorm, Think Progress, March 2, 2012
- Emily Osborne, Clear Channel Stands Behind Limbaugh, PRWatch, March 6, 2012
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