Monday, September 21, 2009

Letter From the Editor: Limbaugh Claim of 'Buses' Remark as 'Parody' Pure B.S.

When Right-Wing Radio Talkmeister Said 'We Need Segregated Buses' After Incident on an Illinois School Bus, He Not Only Told His 'Dittohead' Listeners a Bald-Faced Lie About What Happened, He Also Crossed a Red Line By Openly Advocating the Direct Flouting of More Than 50 Years of Federal Laws and Court Rulings That Ban Racial Segregation


An open call to violate the law: That's what right-wing talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh did on Tuesday when he said "we need segregated buses" in response to an incident aboard a school bus in Bellville, Illinois in which two black teenagers attacked a white teenager. The incident was at first thought to be racially motivated, but videotape recorded by an on-board security camera led local police to rule that out. Not only did Limbaugh falsely accuse other black students aboard the bus of cheering the attackers on for racist reasons, but in saying "We need segregated buses," Limbaugh also openly advocated the reimposition of race-based segregation -- which has been illegal under federal law and a host of court rulings for more than half a century. (Photo Courtesy Premiere Radio Networks)

(Posted 5:00 a.m. EDT Monday, September 21, 2009)


Rush Limbaugh has gone too far.

The right-wing radio talk-show host has been sounding increasingly belligerent in the past year toward liberals, Democrats, women and racial and ethnic minorities. But last week, he crossed a legal "red line" he should not have crossed when he called for publicly-owned school buses to be racially segregated.

"We need segregated buses," he said, commentating on an incident aboard a school bus in which a white teenager was attacked by two black teens.

Seizing upon the incident to fire yet another slam at President Obama, Limbaugh said, "I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that's the lesson that we're being taught here today. [The] kid shouldn't have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses -- it was invading space and so forth. This is Obama's America."

Limbaugh -- never once referring to the president by his official title, or even by his first name -- continued, "In Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, 'Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on!'"

But Limbaugh told his "Dittohead" listeners a bald-faced lie -- and the proof that he lied is on videotape.


In the incident, which was captured by an on-board security camera, two black high school students pummeled a white student while on their way to school last Monday morning in the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois.

The attack was initially labeled as racially motivated, but local police later backed away from that assessment.

According to a Fox News report fed to local Fox network affiliates, Belleville police said kids on the bus repeatedly told the 17-year-old victim he could not sit beside them, so he finally pushed aside a backpack and sat anyway.

The network quoted Belleville Police Captain Don Sax as saying that the incident was "an extreme case of kids behaving poorly."

After the white student sat down, "Pretty soon the kid who he sat next to is pushing him, trying to push him out of the seat and the next thing you know he starts punching him and choking him and punching him some more," Sax said. "It's ridiculous."

Four minutes after the first attack, the victim was pummeled again by a second student.

Neither the 17-year-old victim nor his alleged attackers, aged 14 and 15, were identified, but his assailants were expected to be charged in Juvenile Court with assault.

Sax told Fox News that because the victim was white and his attackers black, "It's a strong suggestion that it was race-related." But after examining the videotape, police ruled out a racial motive for the assault.


In his Tuesday broadcast, Limbaugh claimed that the black students aboard the bus chanted "'Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on!'" while the white student was being pummeled.

But a close examination of the audio portion of the video -- which is available for viewing on YouTube and other Web sites, including Limbaugh's -- shows that Limbaugh lied. There was no "Right on!" chant -- although it did pick up one student yelling "Kick his ass!" just prior to the initial attack and shouts of "Get off the bus!" during it.

More importantly, the video clearly shows other white kids cheering on the victim's attackers, as the driver shouted frantically at the teenagers to return to their seats. Other students seated at the front of the bus -- black and white alike -- can be seen reacting with shock at what was going on.


Limbaugh point-blank used the Belleville incident to engage in deliberate race-baiting. According to a transcript of his Tuesday broadcast posted on his own Web site, the right-wing commentator said:

"Hey, look, folks, the white kid on that bus in Belleville, Illinois, he deserved to be beat up. You don't know about this story? Oh, there's video of this. The school bus filled with mostly black students beat up a white student a couple of times with all the black students cheering.

"Of course the white student on the bus deserved the beating," Limbaugh continued. "He was born a racist. That's what Newsweek magazine told us in its most recent cover.

Limbaugh's rant continues: "It's Obama's America, is it not? Obama's America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now. You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety but in Obama's America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, "Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on," and, of course, everybody says the white kid deserved it, he was born a racist, he's white."

When a caller reminded Limbaugh that Sax "did not comment on anything other than he said more investigations shows that [the incident] was not racially motivated," the right-wing talkmeister replied, " I think the guy [Sax] is wrong. I think not only was it racism, it's justifiable racism."

Then came Limbaugh's stunner: "I mean, that's the lesson that we're being taught here today. [The] kid shouldn't have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses. It was invading of space and so forth. This is Obama's America."


Reaction to Limbaugh's rant was swift and furious. Appearing Thursday night on MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," former Democratic national chairman Howard Dean compared Limbaugh to another notorious right-wing radio demagogue: Father Charles Coughlin, a Roman Catholic priest who in the 1930s used his radio program to issue blatantly anti-Semitic commentary and to rationalize the policies of Hitler and Mussolini.

"There's a lot of money to be made in passing out hate of the kind that Rush Limbaugh is just doing," Dean said. "He's always an entertainer, but he's way over the line. And this is a long -- there's a long, unfortunate American tradition of this, going back to Father Coughlin and people before that. They appeal to the very worst in people."

On the same program, Mark Potok, a spokesman for the anti-racism Southern Poverty Law Center, said by arguing that school buses be segregated, as far as Limbaugh was concerned, "this is the only way, I suppose, that white people can be protected from black people.

"I think when we have characters like Limbaugh saying that on the air to millions of Americans -- many of whom actually revere the man -- it's not surprising that people feel that 'the race wars around the corner' and that we're allowed to say these kinds of things," Potok said.


Not surprisingly, Limbaugh fired back on Friday. "This whole race tumult is being orchestrated and run out of the White House straight out of [chief of staff] Rahm Emanuel and [senior advisor David] Axelrod's office. They are promoting it; they are encouraging it. Isn't it amazing? You have black kids who beat up a white kid on a school bus. That's not racism. You have half the country criticizing a socialist health care plan, and that is racism."

Limbaugh took dead aim at Potok: "So I'm doing a total parodic rant. I mean, the sarcasm is dripping -- and this bottom-feeder at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Mark Potok, is putting it out there that I made a call for segregated buses. You know what this is like?"

"Parody," my ass. Pardon me for using blunt language, but Limbaugh's claim that his call for "segregated buses" was a sarcastic "parody" is a crock of pure, unadulterated bull----. He knew what he was doing when he said it.

I've never bought Limbaugh's namby-pamby excuse that he's "just an entertainer." Bull----! He's a demagogue. He meant what he said.


By calling for "segregated buses," Limbaugh has used his radio platform to openly advocate the re-imposition of racial segregation in a public accommodation -- which has been illegal under a host of court rulings and a passel of federal and state laws for more than half a century.

Rosa Parks -- whose refusal to yield a front seat to a white man in 1955 led to the Montgomery bus boycott that kicked off the civil rights movement -- must be turning over in her grave. Ditto Dr. Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Ralph David Abernathy, Roy Wilkins, Bayard Rustin and scores of others who devoted -- and in many cases, sacrificed -- their lives to bring an end to the evil of America's apartheid based on race.

Limbaugh has the unmitigated gall to employ reverse psychology again and again and again to not only deflect longstanding complaints against him as a demagogue, but to accuse his critics of being demagogues themselves.

But this time, Limbaugh has gone too far. He has called for the open flouting of the law.

The First Amendment bars the Federal Communications Commission from taking punitive action against Limbaugh for violating its rules that strongly condemn the use of the airwaves to promote illegal activity. But that does not mean that Limbaugh cannot be held accountable.


Not by the FCC, but by the advertisers who buy time on his show to air their spots -- a fact that Fox News host Glenn Beck has learned the hard way after his blatantly slanderous and defamatory attack on President Obama as a "racist who hates white people" without providing a scintilla of evidence to prove it.

Now he's costing Fox News hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost advertising revenue -- despite a big spike in Beck's ratings -- thanks to a advertiser boycott of his show.

Money talks and bull---- walks. It took an advertiser boycott to bring down Don Imus after he made a highly inflammatory remark about the Rutgers University women's basketball team. The multimillionaire Limbaugh can be hit where it really hurts -- in his massive bank account.

Limbaugh's show is syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, which is owned by Clear Channel Communications. Premiere also syndicates Glenn Beck's radio show, as well as that of Sean Hannity.

I see no reason why the advertiser boycott of Beck's TV show should not spread to his radio show as well. Nor do I see any reason why there shouldn't be an advertiser boycott of Limbaugh. He's a demagogue who's called for the deliberate flouting of laws banning race segregation.

If I were an advertising executive, I'd think twice before having my client's product associated with race-baiting demagogues like Limbaugh and Beck.

Skeeter Sanders
Editor & Publisher
The 'Skeeter Bites Report

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Volume IV, Number 71
Copyright 2009, Skeeter Sanders. all rights reserved.


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