Rush to Judgment: Talk Radio’s “Truth Detector” Blows a Fuse—Again

It wasn’t unusual that Rush Limbaugh went ballistic on his show, Nov. 13. He does that several times a day.

It wasn’t unusual that he mixed a few facts with opinion and outright lies in his three-hour daily show. Fact checking for the man who calls himself “America’s Truth Detector” is as rare as union organizers working for Walmart.

What is unusual is that Rush Limbaugh, whose web site shows a picture of him carrying a large gold-fringed American flag on a six-foot staff, spoke out against the Constitution of the United States.

Because logic and reason avoids his black-clad bouncy body, he may not have even known he was attacking the history of the United States and its Constitution. But on this Friday the 13th, the forces of evil spewed forth from his unfettered microphone mouth.

The United States had announced it was removing five persons accused of plotting the 9/11 terror from Guantanamo Bay and putting them into the federal judiciary system. Attorney General Eric Holder, at a press conference in Washington, D.C., had announced, “After eight years of delay, those allegedly responsible for the attacks of September the 11th will finally face justice. … I am confident in the ability of our courts to provide these defendants a fair trial just as they have for over 200 years [before] an impartial jury under long established rules and procedures.” He announced that the Department of Justice would “prosecute these cases vigorously,” and would seek the death penalty in each case. President Obama had said earlier that day he was “absolutely convinced that Khalid Sheik Mohammad [the alleged mastermind behind 9/11, and the other defendants] will be subject to the most exacting demands of justice. The American people insist on it, my administration will insist on it.”

Limbaugh called the decision a “disgusting travesty perpetuated here by Barack Obama.” That was just the beginning of his rant. Over the next few minutes, Limbaugh said the decision to bring terrorists to trial was solely “to satisfy the rabid, radical, far left that hates this country; that hates George W. Bush; that hates the U.S. military.”

Limbaugh opposed the use of lawyers; several times he branded them as leftist and Marxist, disregarding the reality that membership in the American Bar Association skews to the right. Although he came from a family of lawyers, he disregarded Constitutional guarantees that require even the most heinous of criminals to be assured their rights, including the right to be represented by an attorney. While erroneously claiming that terrorists have no rights, Limbaugh also objected to providing the defendants “fairness,” because in what he called the “new America,” fairness is something created by “a bunch of radical leftists.” He claimed that the defendants didn’t even deserve lawyers because, in the world of Rush Fairytale Logic, the lawyers would use the courts to attack the United States.

He attacked the federal judiciary, claiming, “There are a bunch of radical leftists on our federal bench,” all of whom apparently, if you believed the Mouth That Roared, are governed by such mundane and useless rules like—well—the Constitution of the United States. What Limbaugh didn’t say, possibly because the facts didn’t agree with his own distorted version of reality, is that there are more conservative judges than liberal judges in the federal judiciary. About one-third of all federal judges were appointed by George W. Bush, with a majority of all judges appointed by Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes. Limbaugh, in his deliberate distortion of facts also didn’t point out that 62 percent of all appeals court judges were appointed by Republican presidents, and that conservatives are the majority on 10 of the 13 appeals courts. He also failed to point out that six of the nine Supreme Court justices were appointed by Republican presidents. The Republican-dominated federal courts have cut down several unconstitutional provisions of the PATRIOT Act; the Republican-dominated Supreme Court has twice rebuked the Bush–Cheney Administration for procedures that are blatantly unconstitutional. In one major decision, conservative Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, speaking for the majority, ruled, “Any process in which the Executive’s factual assertions go wholly unchallenged or are simply presumed correct without any opportunity for the alleged combatant to demonstrate otherwise falls constitutionally short … [T]he constitutional limitations safeguarding essential liberties … remain vibrant even in times of security concerns.”

Like most conservative radio hosts and their teabag party followers, Limbaugh several times had blasted the Department of Justice for even thinking about bringing the terrorists onto the mainland, claiming the men were so evil that they would endanger all Americans. Unsaid by the talking mouths and empty heads was that the Department of Justice successfully prosecuted numerous gangsters, serial killers, and terrorists, and then successfully imprisoned them without danger to civilians.

For emphasis about how he thought a trial for the 9/11 terrorists would be unfair, Limbaugh threw veiled anti-Semitic attacks upon a possible jury pool. “Before it’s all said and done you’re going to find some whack nut jobs on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that are going to be on this jury,” said Limbaugh. The Upper West Side is largely identified as a community that was settled by refugee Jews, and which still has a significant percent of Jews.

Several times, Limbaugh stated that since the defendants had already “confessed,” the need for a trial was not necessary, and would only embarrass the U.S., placating those “leftists,” and exposing the entirety of the American intelligence community. This, said Limbaugh, is the “hidden agenda” of the Obama Administration. “They want the United States on trial,” Limbaugh cried out. Disregarding the absurdity of his own remarks, Limbaugh never acknowledged that the “confessions” were made only after severe torture. Bringing criminals, who have been subject to torture, to trial, who have confessed, said Limbaugh “is yet another internal assault on the fabric, the traditions, the institutions that have made this country great,” he told his equally rabid listeners.

Having attacked the President, the Attorney General, lawyers, judges, the Department of Justice, and Jews, Limbaugh put Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) into his cross-hairs. Sestak, said Limbaugh, is “a dangerous left-wing radical ideologue.” What drew Limbaugh’s rage was that Sestak not only supported the prosecution of the 9/11 terrorists in federal court, but that on Fox News, he argued that “Most studies have shown that [torture] does not give you evidence as readily or as credible as other means.” Persons who are tortured, said Sestak, raising concerns about the legitimacy of the terrorists’ “confessions,” will often confess to anything in order to stop the torture.

What Limbaugh didn’t tell his audience was that Sestak was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a retired vice-admiral who had led a carrier battle group, and was the first director of the Navy’s anti-terrorism unit after 9/11. Sestak’s views are the same as John McCain’s, also a Naval Academy graduate who had led an air squadron. Listeners could now choose between two war heroes, one of whom had suffered torture as a prisoner of war, and a college drop-out who, said his mother, flunked almost all of his classes in his only year in college, was declared 4-F in the draft, and now hails on 600 radio stations as the mouthpiece for the right-wing fringe.

“We are in the process of destroying American ideals; we are in the process of subordinating America’s greatness, America’s exceptionalism,” Rush Limbaugh wailed.

The reality is that flag-waving fact-impaired Rush Limbaugh has no idea what American ideals are, nor does he have respect for the legal history of the United States or the power of the Constitution.

Walter Brasch, during a 40-year work career in mass communications, has been a member of several unions, in both the private and public sectors. He is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the author of 16 books, including With Just Cause: Unionization of the American Journalist, Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution, and his latest Fracking Pennsylvania. He can be contacted at: Read other articles by Walter, or visit Walter's website.

10 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Htf said on November 17th, 2009 at 10:49am #

    and his “cousin” Glenn Beck

  2. phishybongwaters said on November 17th, 2009 at 12:23pm #

    Shouldn’t Rush have done the “right” thing and gone to prison for life when the story broke about his addiction to drugs. I mean, he very vocally called for all “addicts” to go to jail for life, maybe he should follow his own rules?

    But really, coming a man that makes fun of a person suffering from Parkinson’s, and then has the nerve to actually insinuate that said person was “faking” or “exaggerating” his symptoms, this should come as no surprise.

    The only thing exaggerated is the size of Rush’s big fat head. how is it that he can spew his hate speech on syndicated radio while the rest of us can’t even protest legally anymore?

  3. WRHofSC said on November 17th, 2009 at 12:54pm #

    Ummm…ok….so your thesis statement is …as best as can be deduced is that Rush “spoke out against the Constitution of the United States” and that he “mixed a few facts with opinion and outright lies”. All I was able to find in your rambling piece is persistent and pointless personal attacks on Rush. Which is not surprising. However, I would expect more meat on the bones from a learned professor of Journalism. So, where is he attacking the Consitution? The tradition in this Country is to handle “foreign enemy combatants” through military tribunals….not unilaterally confer on them the very Consitutional rights they seek to wipe out and ones they were never contemplated to receive. This misguided left wing political manuver will surely lead to disaster and serve no purpose other than exposing our citizens to greater danger and expose our military and civilian defense resources to danger. My humble advice is do some research…learn the facts…think and then write. Oh and avoid personal attacks….they weaken your arguments.

  4. walt brasch said on November 17th, 2009 at 1:24pm #

    Actually, I did do my research, you, apparently, haven’t. Why not get a copy of AMERICA’S UNPATRIOTIC ACTS and see what the Constitution and SCOTUS says about Constitutional rights, enemy combatants, and areas that you may wish to raed and learn from.

  5. hmmm said on November 17th, 2009 at 1:44pm #

    “It wasn’t unusual that he mixed a few facts with opinion and outright lies in his three-hour daily show.” If you cared to listen (which I don’t), you’d find out that it’s actually only 1 hour of the “show” (spewing sickness worse than H1N1 into the air) and 2 hours of commercials. Yes he knows what is really important. And, for this, he’s paid 30 million a year. Compare this to the effort, the time and the work that you do and the compensation.

  6. hmmm said on November 17th, 2009 at 1:49pm #

    “Shouldn’t Rush have done the “right” thing and gone to prison for life when the story broke about his addiction to drugs. I mean, he very vocally called for all “addicts” to go to jail for life, maybe he should follow his own rules?”

    Apparently you forgot about the time when he was caught with a planeload of (illegally obtained) Viagra in his private jet, bound to prostitute-haven Dominican Republic or Costa Rica, without his (3d?) wife. The family man, he is. The moral man. The man.

    Or the time he told his listeners that he made his would be female employees sign a legally binding pledge that they would not get pregnant, or if they did, would not miss work or ask for (paid) time off. The family man, I tell you. The moral man. The man.

  7. Don Hawkins said on November 17th, 2009 at 2:41pm #

    Sarah Palin, speaking from a hotel room here in New York City, was a guest on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show today as part of her ongoing “Going Rogue” media blitz. She declared that Democrats are sheep, people aren’t responsible for climate change, and that the GOP civil war in the NY-23 congressional election was good for the Republican Party.

    The former GOP vice presidential candidate also took a couple shots at the science behind climate change and the push for alternative energy sources, calling it “snake oil science” and questioning whether climate change is even caused by humans.
    I think there’s a lot of snake oil science involved in that and somebody’s making a whole lot of money off people’s fears that the world is… It’s kind of tough to figure out with the shady science right now, what are we supposed to be doing right now with our climate. Are we warming or are we cooling? I don’t think Americans are even told anymore if it’s global warming or just climate change. And I don’t attribute all the changes to man’s activities. I think that this is, in a lot of respects, cyclical and the earth does cool and it warms. TPM

    Oh Sarah and Rush did you happen to see this and might add from the best minds we have. That’s man has taken the lid off and we can’t put that lid back on again. That’s called a fact it’s a nobrainer. Anyway did anybody get the new book from Palin I hear it’s quite a read. Oh I forgot any idea what that means the lid off to late for the human race? For some reason I always’ saw Rush in front of a tent with bottles of snake oil. Ladies and gentleman please a little closer what we have here is a miracle of science. And the show goes on the strangeness.

    “It won’t be very long before we have to start thinking of the Arctic as an open sea. Man has taken the lid off the northern end of his planet and we can’t put that lid back on again”. Peter Wad hams, Professor of Ocean Physics and Head of the Polar Physics Group

  8. Don Hawkins said on November 17th, 2009 at 3:18pm #

    SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned on Monday that climate change posed a “catastrophic” threat in some of the sharpest comments yet on a subject the Kremlin has often seemed reluctant to confront.

    Although the United States said that the consensus amongst the 19 leaders at the weekend Asia Pacific summit in Singapore was that a climate change deal this December was unlikely, Medvedev made clear he felt it was a top priority.

    “If we don’t take joint action, the consequences for the planet may be very distressing to the point that the Arctic and Antarctic ice can melt and change ocean levels,” he said shortly before leaving Singapore.

    “All of this will have catastrophic consequences.” Reu

    Well the Russian leader seems to know and the Russian people how many know? In the States how many people know the truth? Let me add that for some reason these so called leaders always’ like to bring up sea level rise well once that sea ice is gone in about ten years not the climate but the weather in the Northern Hemisphere is going to change just a tad and crops to grow crops will be somewhat a challenge to say the least. The weather patterns Worldwide will change much, much more than they already have. Ladies and gentleman a little closer please and that noise generator pay no attention to that what I have here is a miracle and right here in my right hand is a bottle of bullshit and for the low low price just today of $9.99 it can be yours. Also my new book that will make you fabulously wealthy as Rush hold’s up the book titled, The Snake, today only for the low low price of your soul. Please don’t push I have enough for everybody.

  9. WRHofSC said on November 19th, 2009 at 9:45am #

    Mr. Brasch I have practiced law for 25 years…so I am very familiar with the topic. I fully understand the Consitutional structure, history and tradition involved here. YOU obviously don’t…nor apparently are you interested in doing any FACTUAL research and basing your opinions and writings on FACTS. “America’s Unpatriotic Acts”?? ummm…okkkk… could you give me a citation to those I will be glad to read them…if such exist (which of course you and I both know they do not). This is simply further evidence that you are not basing your opinions on facts…but some hyper inflamed knee jerk reaction to the left wing driville you consume daily. Lincoln, FDR, Truman all used military judicial structures to arrest, detain, interrogate, try and punish military combatants. NEVER before in American history has a military combatant been given constitutional rights that you and I enjoy. Now they are. It’s insane! As I said…do your research learn the facts…and let’s have an informed debate on the facts.

  10. bozh said on November 19th, 2009 at 11:17am #

    US offers not a shred of evidence that people who are labeled “enemy combattants” were US enemies.
    Those resistance fighters caught or abducted, by either the warlords or US soldiers, probably have not hurt as single american in any wise.
    If, inded, 10, 20, 20k, 50k, or 1 mn afghanis were plotting to bring the towers dwn or even knew ab that coming terror act [not likely; one doesn’t shout such an act from rooftops], US civil courts wld have been delighted to prosecute them in a fair trial; knowing that it wld be a slamdunk case and prove to each american how right US is once again.

    And US wldn’t need to prosecute more than a few hundred of ‘guilty’ people. The others cld have been prosecuted in afgh’n or punished by US in other ways.
    It is wrong to accuse afghan’s civilians, fighters of the civil war, or resistance fighters against US naked aggression of wanting to destroy constitution or parts of it.
    And then to conclude that these people cannot expect protection under the laws which they are out to cripple.

    It is an ancient ruse to relabel and event or person [such as naming resistor a combattant and to boot, an enemy combattant; implying that a US combattant is a friendly one] and use the new invention as proof that the accuser is right.

    But in a secret court, “enemy combattant” is whatever the martial court says he is and how he shld be punished.
    I wld assert that the torture of the kidnapped-abducted-captured men was carried out solely or mostly to drive fear-teror into every muslim who wld oppose US and not to obtain information.
    It was used as prewarning: u do anything US doesn’t like and we will sodomize u; piss on your qoran; debase u, etc., and release u to continue living in hell and as warning to others.