Rush Hudson Limbaugh III (/ˈlɪmbɔː/ LIM-baw; born January 12,
1951) is an American radio talk show host and conservative political
commentator. He currently resides in Palm Beach, Florida, where he
Rush Limbaugh Show. According to December 2015
Rush Limbaugh has a cume (cumulative
weekly audience) of around 13.25 million unique listeners (listening
for at least five minutes), making his show the most listened-to
talk-radio program in the US.
Since he was 16, Limbaugh has worked a series of disc jockey jobs. His
talk show began in 1984 at
Sacramento, California radio station KFBK,
featuring his ongoing format of political commentary and listener
calls. In 1988, Limbaugh began broadcasting his show nationally from
radio station WABC in New York City, and the show's flagship station
became WOR in 2014.
In the 1990s, Limbaugh's books
The Way Things Ought to Be
The Way Things Ought to Be (1992) and
See, I Told You So (1993) made
The New York Times
The New York Times Best Seller list. In
his books and on his show, Limbaugh frequently criticizes what he
regards as liberal policies and politicians, as well as what he
perceives as a pervasive liberal bias in major U.S. media. Limbaugh is
among the highest-paid people in U.S. media, signing a contract in
2008 for $400 million through 2016. In 2017,
Forbes listed his
earnings at $84 million for the previous 12 months, and ranked him the
11th highest-earning celebrity in the world. His most recent
contract, signed on July 31, 2016, will take his radio program to
2020, its 32nd year.
1 Early life
2 Professional career
Rush Limbaugh Show
2.7 Television show
2.8 Other media appearances
3 Influence and legacy
4 Awards and recognition
6.3 Capital punishment
6.4 Dismissal of consent in sexual relations
6.5 Drug abuse
6.6 Environmental issues
6.8 Iraq prisoner abuse
6.9 Obama's policies
7 Use of entertainment props
8 Controversies and claims of inaccuracy
8.1 Michael J. Fox
8.2 Phony soldiers
8.3 Sandra Fluke
9 Charitable work
9.1 Leukemia and lymphoma telethon
9.2 Marine Corps–Law Enforcement Foundation
10 Personal life
10.1 Prescription drug addiction
10.3 Cigar aficionado
12 Further reading
13 External links
See also: Limbaugh family
Limbaugh was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the son of Mildred
Carolyn "Millie" (née Armstrong) and Rush Hudson Limbaugh, Jr. His
father was a lawyer and a U.S. fighter pilot who served in the China
Burma India Theater of World War II. His mother was a native of
Searcy, Arkansas. The name "Rush" was originally chosen for his
grandfather to honor the maiden name of family member Edna Rush.
Limbaugh is of part German ancestry. His family has many lawyers,
including his grandfather, father and brother David. His uncle,
Stephen N. Limbaugh, Sr. is a federal judge in the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. His cousin,
Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr., is currently a judge in the same court,
appointed by George W. Bush. Rush Limbaugh, Sr., Limbaugh's
grandfather, was a Missouri prosecutor, judge, special commissioner,
member of the
Missouri House of Representatives
Missouri House of Representatives from 1930 until 1932,
and longtime president of the Missouri Historical Society. The
Federal Courthouse in Cape Girardeau is named for Limbaugh's
Limbaugh began his career in radio as a teenager in 1967 in his
hometown of Cape Girardeau, using the name Rusty Sharpe.
Limbaugh graduated from
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Cape Girardeau, Missouri Central High School
in 1969. He played football. Because of his parents' desire to
see him attend college, he enrolled in Southeast Missouri State
University but left the school after two semesters and one summer.
According to his mother, "he flunked everything," and "he just didn't
seem interested in anything except radio."
Limbaugh's biographer states that a large part of his life has been
dedicated to gaining his father's respect and approval.
After dropping out of college, Limbaugh moved to McKeesport,
Pennsylvania. In 1972, he became a
Top 40 music disc jockey on WIXZ, a
AM radio station that reached much of the
Pittsburgh area. He
started with an afternoon show and later did mornings, broadcasting
under the name Jeff Christie. Limbaugh moved to
Pittsburgh station KQV
in 1973 as the evening disc jockey, succeeding Jim Quinn. He was fired
in late 1974, when the station was sold to Taft Broadcasting. Limbaugh
was reportedly told by management that he would never make it as
on-air talent, and should consider going into sales. Unable to find
another job in local radio, Limbaugh moved back home to Cape
Girardeau. He became a lifelong fan of the
Pittsburgh Steelers from
his time in the region.
For the rest of the decade Limbaugh took jobs at several radio
stations, working in music radio, before settling in Kansas City. In
1979, he left radio and accepted a position as director of promotions
Kansas City Royals
Kansas City Royals baseball team. There he developed a
close friendship with then-Royals star third baseman and future Hall
of Famer George Brett; the two remain close friends.
In 1984, Limbaugh returned to radio as a talk show host at KFBK in
Sacramento, where he replaced Morton Downey, Jr. The repeal of the
Fairness Doctrine—which had required that stations provide free air
time for responses to any controversial opinions that were
broadcast—by the FCC in 1987 meant stations could broadcast
editorial commentary without having to present opposing views. Daniel
Henninger wrote, in a Wall Street Journal editorial, "Ronald Reagan
tore down this wall (the Fairness Doctrine) in 1987 ... and Rush
Limbaugh was the first man to proclaim himself liberated from the East
Germany of liberal media domination."
On August 1, 1988, after achieving success in Sacramento and drawing
the attention of former ABC Radio President Edward McLaughlin,
Limbaugh moved to
New York City
New York City and began his national radio show. He
debuted just weeks after the Democratic National Convention, and just
weeks before the Republican National Convention. Limbaugh's radio home
New York City
New York City was the talk-formatted WABC (AM), and this remained
his flagship station for many years, even after Limbaugh moved to West
Palm Beach, Fla., from where he continues to broadcast his show.
Limbaugh's show moved on Jan. 1, 2014 to WABC's cross-town rival WOR
(AM), its current New York outlet.
In December 1990, journalist Lewis Grossberger wrote in The New York
Times that Limbaugh had "more listeners than any other talk show host"
and described Limbaugh's style as "bouncing between earnest lecturer
and political vaudevillian." Limbaugh's rising popularity
coincided with the Persian Gulf War, and his support for the war
effort and his relentless ridicule of peace activists. The program
gained more popularity and was moved to stations with larger
audiences, eventually being broadcast on over 650 radio stations
In 1992, Democrat
Bill Clinton was elected president of the United
States. Limbaugh satirized the policies of Clinton and First Lady
Hillary Clinton, as well as those of the Democratic Party. When the
Republican Party won control of Congress in the 1994 midterm
elections, the freshman Republican class awarded Limbaugh an honorary
membership in their caucus. This event confirmed him as an influential
figure on the national political scene.
Limbaugh had publicized personal difficulties in the 2000s. In late
2001, he acknowledged that he had gone almost completely deaf,
although he continued his show. He was able to regain much of his
hearing with the help of a cochlear implant in 2001.
In 2003, Limbaugh had a brief stint as a pro football commentator with
ESPN. He resigned a few weeks into the 2003
NFL season after making
comments about the press coverage for quarterback
Donovan McNabb that
caused controversy and accusations of racism on the part of Limbaugh.
His comment about McNabb was: "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. They're interested in black coaches and black
quarterbacks doing well. I think there's a little hope invested in
McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that
he really didn't deserve. The defense carried this team." A
sportswriter construed the comment as racist against himself and other
sportswriters. Another sports analyst wrote Limbaugh's viewpoint
was shared by "many football fans and analysts" and "it is ... absurd
to say that the sports media haven't overrated
Donovan McNabb because
In 2003, Limbaugh stated that he was addicted to pain medication, and
sought treatment. In April 2006, Limbaugh turned himself in to
authorities, on a warrant issued by the state attorney's office, and
was arrested "on a single charge of prescription fraud." His
record was later expunged.
In 2013, news reports indicated that Cumulus Media, some of whose
stations carried Limbaugh's program in certain major markets,
including New York, Chicago, Dallas, Washington D.C. and Detroit, was
considering dropping his show when its contract with Limbaugh expired
at the end of that year, reportedly because the company believed that
its advertising revenues had been hurt by listener reaction to
controversial Limbaugh comments. Limbaugh himself said that the
reports were overblown and that it was a matter of routine
dollars-and-cents negotiations between Cumulus and his network
syndication partner, Premiere Networks, a unit of Clear Channel
Communications. Ultimately, the parties reached agreement on a new
contract, with Limbaugh's show moving from its long-time flagship
outlet in New York, the Cumulus-owned WABC, to the latter's cross-town
rival, the Clear Channel-owned WOR, starting Jan. 1, 2014, but
remaining on the Cumulus-owned stations it was being carried on in
Rush Limbaugh Show
Main article: The
Rush Limbaugh Show
Limbaugh's radio show airs for three hours each weekday beginning at
noon Eastern Standard Time on both AM and FM radio. The program is
also broadcast worldwide on the Armed Forces Radio Network.
Radio broadcasting shifted from AM to FM in the late 1970s because of
the opportunity to broadcast music in stereo with better fidelity.
Limbaugh's show was first nationally syndicated in August 1988, in a
later stage of AM's decline. Limbaugh's popularity paved the way for
other conservative talk radio programming to become commonplace on AM
radio. The show became so popular in the 1990s, even some FM stations
picked it up. In March 2006, WBAL in
Baltimore became the first major
market radio station in the country to drop Limbaugh's nationally
syndicated radio program. In 2007,
Talkers magazine again named
him No. 1 in its "Heavy Hundred" most important talk show hosts.
Limbaugh frequently mentions the EIB (Excellence In Broadcasting)
Network, trademarked in 1990. In the beginning, his show was co-owned
and first syndicated by Edward F. McLaughlin, former president of ABC,
who founded EFM Media in 1988, with Limbaugh's show as his first
product. In 1997, McLaughlin sold EFM to Jacor Communications, which
was ultimately bought up by Clear Channel Communications. Today,
Limbaugh owns a majority of the show, which is syndicated by the
Premiere Radio Networks.
According to a 2001 article in U.S. News & World Report, Limbaugh
had an eight-year contract, at the rate of $31.25 million a year.
In 2007, Limbaugh earned $33 million. A November 2008 poll by
Zogby International found that
Rush Limbaugh was the most trusted news
personality in the nation, garnering 12.5 percent of poll
Limbaugh signed a $400 million, eight-year contract in 2008 with what
was then Clear Channel Communications, making him the highest-paid
broadcaster on terrestrial radio. On August 2, 2016, Limbaugh signed a
four-year extension of the 2008 contract. At the announcement of
Premiere Radio Networks
Premiere Radio Networks and iHeartMedia announced that
his show experienced audience growth with 18% growth in adults
25–54, 27% growth with 25–54 women, and ad revenue growth of 20%
year over year.
Limbaugh had a syndicated half-hour television show from 1992 through
1996, produced by Roger Ailes. The show discussed many of the topics
on his radio show, and was taped in front of an audience. Rush
Limbaugh says he loves doing his radio show, but not a TV
Other media appearances
Limbaugh's first television hosting experience came March 30, 1990, as
a guest host on Pat Sajak's
CBS late-night talk show, The Pat Sajak
Show. ACT UP activists in the audience heckled Limbaugh
repeatedly; ultimately the entire studio audience was cleared. In
2001, Sajak said the incident was "legendary around CBS".
On December 17, 1993, Limbaugh appeared on the Late Show with David
Letterman. Limbaugh also guest-starred (as himself) on a 1994
episode of Hearts Afire. He appeared in the 1995
Billy Crystal film
Forget Paris, and in 1998 on an episode of The Drew Carey Show.
In 2007, Limbaugh made cameo appearances on
Fox News Channel's
The 1/2 Hour News Hour in a series of parodies portraying
him as the future President of the United States. In the parodies, his
vice president was fellow conservative pundit Ann Coulter. That year,
he also made a cameo in the
Family Guy episode "Blue Harvest," a
parody of Star Wars in which Limbaugh can be heard on the radio
claiming that the "liberal galactic media" were lying about climate
change on the planet Hoth, and that Lando Calrissian's administrative
position on Cloud City was a result of affirmative action. More recent
Family Guy appearances have happened in the 2010 episode "Excellence
in Broadcasting," and 2011's "Episode VI: It's a Trap!," a parody of
Return of the Jedi.
Influence and legacy
As a result of his television program, Limbaugh became known for
wearing distinctive neckties. In response to viewer interest, Limbaugh
launched a series of ties designed primarily by his then-wife
On January 30, 2010, Limbaugh was a judge for the 2010 Miss America
pageant in Las Vegas. In early 2011, Limbaugh was the subject of
the third season of Golf Channel's The Haney Project, in which
Hank Haney coached him in eight episodes.
Awards and recognition
Ronald Reagan sent Limbaugh a letter in which he thanked him
"for all you're doing to promote Republican and conservative
principles ... [and] you have become the Number One voice for
conservatism in our Country."
In 1994, Republicans in the
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. House of Representatives made
Limbaugh an honorary member.
Limbaugh was awarded the Marconi Radio Award for Syndicated Radio
Personality of the Year in 2014 (given by the National Association of
Broadcasters). He has won the award four times previously (in
1992, 1995, 2000, and 2005). He was inducted into the National
Radio Hall of Fame in 1993. He was later inducted into the
National Association of Broadcasters
National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1998.
Talkers Magazine ranked him as the greatest radio talk show
host of all time. Limbaugh is the highest-paid syndicated radio
On March 29, 2007, Limbaugh was awarded the inaugural William F.
Buckley, Jr. Award for Media Excellence, by the Media Research Center,
a conservative media analysis group.
On January 5, 2008, the conservative magazine
Human Events announced
Limbaugh as their 2007 Man of the Year.
On December 1, 2008,
TV Guide reported that Limbaugh was selected as
one of America's top ten most fascinating people of 2008 for a Barbara
Walters ABC special that aired on December 4, 2008.
On February 28, 2009, following his self-described "first address to
the nation" lasting 90 minutes, carried live on
Fox News and
recorded for C-SPAN, Limbaugh received CPAC's "Defender of the
Constitution Award", a document originally signed by Benjamin
Franklin, given to someone "who has stood up for the First
Rush Limbaugh is for America, exactly what Benjamin
Franklin did for the Founding Fathers ... the only way we will be
successful is if we listen to Rush Limbaugh."
Zev Chafets, whose book Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One was published
May 25, 2010, wrote after the first primaries of the 2010 U.S.
election season that Limbaugh was "the brains and the spirit behind"
the Republican Party's "resurgence" in the wake of the 2008 election
of President Barack Obama. In his May 20, 2010, New York Times op-ed
column, Chafets pointed among others to Sen. Arlen Specter's defeat,
after being labeled by Limbaugh "Republican in Name Only," and to
Sarah Palin, whose "biggest current applause line—Republicans are
not just the party of no, but the party of hell no—came courtesy of
Mr. Limbaugh." More generally, Chafets wrote, Limbaugh has argued the
Ronald Reagan conservative course for the Republicans
vigorously, notably since six weeks after the Obama inauguration, and
has been fundamental to, and encouraging to, the more prominently
noted Tea Party movement.
Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the
Hall of Famous Missourians on May
14, 2012. A bronze bust of Limbaugh is now on display in the
Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City. It is the only such
bust with its own security camera to discourage vandalism.
The Children's Book Council named Limbaugh their 2014 Author of the
Year for his book Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel
Adventures with Exceptional Americans.
The Way Things Ought to Be
The Way Things Ought to Be (1992) Pocket Books ISBN 0-671-75145-X
See, I Told You So (1993) Pocket Books ISBN 0-671-87120-X
Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims (2013) Threshold Editions
Rush Revere and the First Patriots (2014) Threshold Editions
Rush Revere and the American Revolution (2014) Threshold Editions
Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner (2015) Threshold Editions
Rush Revere and the Presidency (2016) Threshold Editions
In 1992, Limbaugh published his first book, The Way Things Ought To
Be, followed by See, I Told You So in 1993. Both became number one
on the New York Times Best Seller list, The Way Things Ought to Be
remaining there for 24 weeks. The text of the first book was taped
by Limbaugh, and transcribed and edited by Wall Street Journal Journal
writer John Fund. In the second book,
Joseph Farah of
named as his collaborator.
In 2013, Limbaugh authored a children's book titled Rush Revere and
the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel with Exceptional Americans. The
book was released on October 29, 2013. It won Limbaugh the Author
of the Year Award at the Children's Choice Book Awards in 2014.
In 2014, Limbaugh authored his second children's book titled Rush
Revere and the First Patriots: Time-Travel with Exceptional Americans.
For his new series, Limbaugh was selected as an author-of-the year
finalist for the annual Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards.
In late 2014, Limbaugh authored his third children's book titled Rush
Revere and the American Revolution. Limbaugh and his wife, Kathryn,
dedicated the third book to the U.S. military and their families.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Rush Limbaugh
In his first New York Times best seller, Limbaugh describes himself as
conservative, and is critical of broadcasters in many media outlets
for claiming to be objective. He has criticized political centrists,
independents, and moderate conservatives, claiming they are
responsible for Democrat Barack Obama's victory over Republican John
McCain in the
2008 U.S. Presidential Election
2008 U.S. Presidential Election and inviting them to
leave the Republican party. He calls for the adoption of core
conservative philosophies in order to ensure the survival of the
James Rainey of the
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times quoted Limbaugh as saying after
the 2008 election of
Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United
States that the Democrats will "take your 401(k), put it in the Social
Security Trust Fund."
Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade to be "bad law" and supports
overturning it, leaving the decision to the states.
Limbaugh has been noted for making controversial race-related
statements with regard to African-Americans. He once opined that all
newspaper composite pictures of wanted criminals resembled Jesse
Jackson, and another time that "the
NFL all too often looks like a
game between the
Bloods and the
Crips without any weapons."
While employed as what he describes as an "insult-radio" DJ, he used a
derogatory racial stereotype to characterize a black caller he could
not understand, telling the caller to "take that bone out of your nose
and call me back." In March 2010, Limbaugh used the similarity of
recently resigned Rep. Eric Massa's surname to the slavery-era
African-American pronunciation of "master" to make a pun on the
possibility that Gov. David Paterson, New York's first
African-American governor, would pick Massa's replacement: "Let's
assume you're right [caller]. So,
David Paterson will become the massa
who gets to appoint whoever gets to take Massa's place. So, for the
first time in his life, Paterson's gonna be a massa. Interesting,
Limbaugh has asserted that African-Americans, in contrast with other
minority groups, are "left behind" socially because they have been
systematically trained from a young age to hate the United States
because of the welfare state.
Limbaugh supports capital punishment, saying "the only thing cruel
about the death penalty is last-minute stays."
Dismissal of consent in sexual relations
Limbaugh dismisses the concept of consent in sexual relations. He
views consent as "the magic key to the left."
Limbaugh has been an outspoken critic of what he sees as leniency
towards criminal drug use in America. On his television show on
October 5, 1995, Limbaugh stated, "too many whites are getting away
with drug use" and illegal drug trafficking. Limbaugh proposed that
the racial disparity in drug enforcement could be fixed if authorities
increased detection efforts, conviction rates, and jail time for
whites involved in illegal drugs.
Limbaugh is critical of environmentalism and climate science. He
has disputed claims of anthropogenic global warming, and the
CFCs and depletion of the ozone layer, saying the
scientific evidence does not support them. Limbaugh has argued
against the scientific consensus on climate change saying it is "just
a bunch of scientists organized around a political proposition."
Limbaugh has used the term "environmentalist wacko" when referring to
left-leaning environmental advocates. As a rhetorical device, he
has also used the term to refer to more mainstream climate scientists
and other environmental scientists and advocates with whom he
Limbaugh has written that "there are more acres of forestland in
America today than when Columbus discovered the continent in 1492," a
claim that is disputed by the
United States Forest Service
United States Forest Service and the
American Forestry Association, which state that the precolonial
forests have been reduced by about 24 percent or nearly 300 million
Limbaugh is critical of feminism, saying that: "Feminism was
established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the
mainstream of society." He also popularized the term "feminazi",
referring to about two dozen feminists "to whom the most important
thing in life is ensuring that as many abortions as possible
occur." He also used the term referring to the half-million large
2017 Women's March
2017 Women's March as the "Deranged
Feminazi March". He credited
his friend Tom Hazlett, a professor of law and economics at George
Mason University, with coining the term.
Iraq prisoner abuse
Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse
Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal, Limbaugh said,
"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."
On January 16, 2009, Limbaugh commented on the (then-upcoming) Obama
presidency, "I hope he fails." Limbaugh later said that he wants
to see Obama's policies fail, not the man himself. Speaking of
Obama, Limbaugh said, "He's my president, he's a human being, and his
ideas and policies are what count for me."
Use of entertainment props
Limbaugh utilizes props to introduce his monologues on various topics.
On his radio show, news about the homeless has often been preceded
Clarence "Frogman" Henry song "Ain't Got No Home." For a
time, Dionne Warwick's song "I Know I'll Never Love This Way Again"
preceded reports about people with AIDS. These later became
"condom updates" preceded by Fifth Dimension's song, "Up, Up and
Away". For two weeks in 1989, on his Sacramento radio show,
Limbaugh performed "caller abortions" where he would end a call
suddenly to the sounds of a vacuum cleaner and a scream. He would then
deny that he had "hung up" on the caller, which he had promised not to
do. Limbaugh claims that he used this gag to illustrate "the tragedy
of abortion" as well as to highlight the question of whether abortion
constitutes murder. During the Clinton administration, while
filming his television program, Limbaugh referred to media coverage of
Socks, the Clintons' cat. He then stated, "But did you know there is
also a White House dog?" and a picture of
Chelsea Clinton was shown.
When questioned about it, Limbaugh claimed that it was an accident and
that without his permission some technician had put up the picture of
Controversies and claims of inaccuracy
Some groups and individuals have criticized Limbaugh's accuracy. The
July–August 1994 issue of Extra!, a publication of Fairness and
Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), alleges 50 different inaccuracies and
distortions in Limbaugh's commentary. Others have since
joined FAIR in questioning Limbaugh's facts. Comedian Al Franken, who
later became a Senator, wrote a satirical book (
Rush Limbaugh Is a Big
Fat Idiot and Other Observations) in which he accused Limbaugh of
distorting facts to serve his own political biases.
Of Limbaugh's controversial statements and allegations they have
Politifact has rated 84% as ranging from "Mostly False"
to "Pants-On-Fire" (a signification for extremely false), with 5% of
Limbaugh's contested statements rising to the level of "Mostly True"
and 0% rated "True." These debunked allegations by Limbaugh
include suggestions that the existence of gorillas disproves the
theory of evolution, that
Ted Kennedy sent a letter to Soviet Leader
Yuri Andropov seeking to undercut President Reagan, that a recent lack
of hurricanes disproves climate change, and that President Obama
wanted to mandate circumcision.
Limbaugh has been criticized for inaccuracies by the Environmental
Defense Fund. A defense fund report authored by Princeton University
endowed geoscience professor
Michael Oppenheimer and professor of
biology David Wilcove lists 14 significant scientific facts that, the
authors allege, Limbaugh misrepresented in his book The Way Things
Ought to Be. The authors conclude that "Rush Limbaugh ...
allows his political bias to distort the truth about a whole range of
important scientific issues."
On October 14, 2011, Limbaugh questioned the U.S. military initiative
Joseph Kony and his
Lord's Resistance Army
Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), based on the
assumption that they were Christians. "They are fighting the Muslims
in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove
them from the battlefield, which means kill them." Upon learning about
the accusations leveled against Kony, which included kidnapping whole
schools of young children for use as child soldiers, Limbaugh stated
that he would research the group. The show's written
transcript on his website was not changed.
Michael J. Fox
In October 2006 Limbaugh said Michael J. Fox, who suffers from
Parkinson's disease, had exaggerated the effects of his affliction in
a political TV advertisement advocating for funding of stem cell
research. Limbaugh said that Fox in the ad had been "shameless" in
"moving all around and shaking", and that Fox had not taken "his
medication or he's acting, one of the two". Fox said "the irony
of it is I was too medicated," adding that there was no way to
predict how his symptoms would manifest. Limbaugh said he would
apologize to Fox "bigly, hugely...if I am wrong in characterizing his
behavior on this commercial as an act." In 2012, Fox said
Limbaugh in 2006 had acted on "bullying instincts" when "he said I
faked it. I didn't fake it," and said Limbaugh's goal was to have him
marginalized and shut down for his stem cell stance.
Main article: Phony soldiers controversy
In 2007, Media Matters' reported that Limbaugh had categorized Iraq
War veterans opposed to the war as "the phony soldiers." Limbaugh
later said that he was speaking of Jesse MacBeth, a soldier who
falsely claimed to have been decorated for valor but, in fact, had
never seen combat. Limbaugh said
Media Matters was trying to smear him
with out-of-context and selectively edited comments. After Limbaugh
published what he claimed was the entire transcript of phony soldiers
Media Matters said that over a minute and 30 seconds of
the transcript was omitted without "notation or ellipsis to indicate
that there is, in fact, a break in the transcript." Limbaugh
said during the minute and a half gap
Media Matters had pointed out,
he was waiting for relevant ABC news copy on the topic, and the
transcript and audio edits were "for space and relevance reasons, not
to hide anything." Senator Harry Reid and 41 Democrats, including
Hillary Clinton, signed a letter asking the CEO of Clear Channel to
denounce Limbaugh. Instead, he gave the letter to Limbaugh to auction.
It raised over $2 million for the Marine-Corps Law Enforcement
Main article: Rush Limbaugh–
Sandra Fluke controversy
On February 29, 2012, Rush Limbaugh, while talking about contraceptive
mandates, included remarks about law student
Sandra Fluke as a "slut"
and "prostitute." Limbaugh was commenting on Fluke's speech the
previous week to House Democrats in support of mandating insurance
coverage for contraceptives. Limbaugh made numerous similar statements
over the next two days, leading to the loss of 45 to "more than
100" local and national sponsors and Limbaugh's apology on his
show for some of his comments.
Leukemia and lymphoma telethon
Limbaugh holds an annual fundraising telethon called the "EIB
Cure-a-Thon" for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In
2006, the EIB Cure-a-Thon conducted its 16th annual telethon, raising
$1.7 million, totaling over $15 million since the first
cure-a-thon. According to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society annual
reports, Limbaugh personally contributed between $100,000 and $499,999
from 2000–2005 and 2007, and Limbaugh said that he contributed
around $250,000 in 2003, 2004 and 2005. NewsMax reported Limbaugh
donated $250,000 in 2006, and the Society's 2006 annual report
placed him in the $500,000 to $999,999 category. Limbaugh donated
$320,000 during the 2007 Cure-a-Thon, which the Leukemia and
Lymphoma Society reported had raised $3.1 million. On his radio
program April 18, 2008, Limbaugh pledged $400,000 to the Leukemia and
Lymphoma Society after being challenged by two listeners to increase
his initial pledge of $300,000.
Marine Corps–Law Enforcement Foundation
Limbaugh conducts an annual drive to help the Marine Corps–Law
Enforcement Foundation collect contributions to provide scholarships
for children of
Marines and law enforcement officers and agents who
have died in the line of duty. The foundation was the
beneficiary of a record $2.1 million eBay auction in October 2007
after Limbaugh listed for sale a letter critical of him signed by 41
Democratic senators and pledged to match the selling price. With
the founding of his and his wife's company Two if by Tea, they pledged
to donate at least $100,000 to the MC–LEF beginning in June
Limbaugh has had four marriages, three divorces, and no children.
He was first married at the age of 26 to Roxy Maxine McNeely, a sales
secretary at radio station
WHB in Kansas City, Missouri. They were
married at the Centenary United Methodist Church in Limbaugh's
hometown of Cape Girardeau on September 24, 1977. McNeely filed
for divorce in March 1980, citing "incompatibility." They were
formally divorced on July 10, 1980.
In 1983, Limbaugh married Michelle Sixta, a college student and
usherette at the
Kansas City Royals
Kansas City Royals Stadium Club. They were divorced
in 1990, and she remarried the following year.
On May 27, 1994, Limbaugh married Marta Fitzgerald, a 35-year-old
aerobics instructor whom he met on the online service
1990. They were married at the house of U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Clarence Thomas, who officiated. They were separated on
June 11, 2004. Limbaugh announced his divorce on the air. It was
finalized in December 2004. In September 2004, Limbaugh became
romantically involved with then-
CNN news anchor Daryn Kagan, and they
broke up in February 2006.
Limbaugh has lived in Palm Beach since 1996. A friend recalls that
Limbaugh "fell in love with Palm Beach...after visiting her over
Memorial Day weekend in 1995." Unlike New York,
Florida does not
tax income, the stated reason Limbaugh moved his residence and
established his "Southern Command".
On December 30, 2009, while vacationing in Honolulu, Hawaii, Limbaugh
was admitted to
Queen's Medical Center
Queen's Medical Center with intense chest pains. His
doctors attributed the pain to angina pectoris.
He dated Kathryn Rogers, a party planner from Florida, for three
years before he married her on June 5, 2010. During the
wedding reception after the ceremony,
Elton John entertained the
wedding guests for a reported $1 million fee; however, Limbaugh
himself denied that the $1 million figure was accurate on his
September 7, 2010, radio show.
Through a holding company, KARHL Holdings (KARHL meaning "Kathryn and
Rush Hudson Limbaugh"), Limbaugh launched a line of bottled iced tea
beverages called "Two if by Tea" a play on the line from Henry
Wadsworth Longfellow's "Paul Revere's Ride "one if by land, two if by
sea". KARHL Holdings features a Rush Revere website where
children can send notes to Liberty, the time-traveling, talking
Prescription drug addiction
On October 3, 2003, the
National Enquirer reported that Limbaugh was
being investigated for illegally obtaining the prescription drugs
oxycodone and hydrocodone. Other news outlets quickly confirmed the
investigation. He admitted to listeners on his radio show on
October 10, 2003, that he was addicted to prescription painkillers and
stated that he would enter inpatient treatment for 30 days,
immediately after the broadcast. Limbaugh stated his addiction to
painkillers resulted from several years of severe back pain heightened
by a botched surgery intended to correct those problems.
A subsequent investigation into whether Limbaugh had violated
Florida's doctor shopping laws was launched by the Palm Beach State
Attorney, which raised privacy issues when investigators seized
Limbaugh's private medical records looking for evidence of crimes. Roy
Black, one of Limbaugh's attorneys, stated that "
Rush Limbaugh was
singled out for prosecution because of who he is. We believe the state
attorney's office is applying a double standard." On November 9,
2005, following two years of investigations, Assistant State Attorney
James L. Martz requested that the court set aside Limbaugh's
doctor–patient confidentiality rights and allow the state to
question his physicians. Limbaugh's attorney opposed the
prosecutor's efforts to interview his doctors on the basis of patient
privacy rights, and argued that the prosecutor had violated Limbaugh's
Fourth Amendment rights by illegally seizing his medical records. The
American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement in agreement and
filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Limbaugh. On
December 12, 2005, Judge David F. Crow delivered a ruling prohibiting
the State of
Florida from questioning Limbaugh's physicians about "the
medical condition of the patient and any information disclosed to the
health care practitioner by the patient in the course of the care and
treatment of the patient."
On April 28, 2006, a warrant was issued for his arrest on the charge
of doctor shopping. According to Teri Barbera, spokeswoman for the
sheriff, during his arrest, Limbaugh was booked, photographed, and
fingerprinted, but not handcuffed. He was then released after about an
hour on $3,000 bail. After his surrender, he filed a
"not guilty" plea to the charge. Prosecutors explained that the
charges were brought after they discovered he received about 2,000
painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months, at a pharmacy
near his Palm Beach mansion. In 2009, after 3 years of prolonged
discussion regarding a settlement, prosecutors agreed to drop the
charge if Limbaugh paid $30,000 to defray the cost of the
investigation, completed an 18-month therapy regimen with his
physician, submitted to random drug testing, and gave up his right to
own a firearm for eighteen months. Limbaugh agreed to the
settlement, though he continued to maintain his innocence of doctor
shopping and asserted that the state's offer resulted from a lack of
evidence supporting the charge.
Before his addiction became known, Limbaugh had condemned illegal drug
use on his television program, stating that "Drug use, some might say,
is destroying this country... And so if people are violating the law
by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be
convicted and they ought to be sent up."
In June 2006, Limbaugh was detained by drug enforcement agents at Palm
Beach International Airport. Customs officials confiscated
Limbaugh's luggage as he was returning from the Dominican Republic.
The prescription was not in Limbaugh's name. After he was
released with no charges filed, Limbaugh joked about the incident on
his radio show, claiming that he got the
Viagra at the Clinton Library
and was told they were blue M&M's. He also stated that "I had a
great time in the Dominican Republic. Wish I could tell you about
In the early 1990s, when the cigar boom was gaining momentum, Limbaugh
was seen frequently with a cigar in hand and by the end of the 1990s,
cigars had become Limbaugh's staple in many public appearances. Often
starting segments of his show with the phrase, "Amid billowing clouds
of fragrant and aromatic first, second and sometimes third-hand
premium cigar smoke" as well as mentioning a story print-out in his
"formerly nicotine-stained fingers," cigars became a common topic of
discussion. In the spring of 1994, Limbaugh appeared on the cover of
Cigar Aficionado and shared the story of his conversion
to cigars. He has since been a frequent participant in many events
such as "The Big Smoke," hosted throughout the year by the magazine.
Limbaugh has participated in many charity cigar auctions hosted by the
magazine, and is known to talk frequently with his listeners about his
and their cigar interests, preferences and recommendations. "I think
cigars are just a tremendous addition to the enjoyment of life."
He is also frequently seen in his studio smoking a cigar during his
Rush Limbaugh has described himself as being "100 percent, totally
deaf." In 2001, Limbaugh announced that he had lost most of his
ability to hear: "I cannot hear television. I cannot hear music. I am,
for all practical purposes, deaf – and it's happened in three
months." He said that the condition was not genetic. He was
diagnosed with autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED) and medications
failed to work. On December 19, 2001, doctors at the House Ear Clinic
in Los Angeles were able to successfully restore a measure of his
hearing through cochlear implant surgery. Limbaugh received a Clarion
CII Bionic Ear.
When questioned whether Limbaugh's sudden hearing loss was caused by
his addiction to opioids, his cochlear implant doctor,
otolaryngologist Jennifer Derebery, said that it was possible but that
there is no way to know for sure without performing tests that would
destroy Limbaugh's hearing completely. "We don't know why some people,
but apparently not most, who take large doses may lose their
In 2005, Limbaugh was forced to undergo "tuning" due to an "eye
twitch," an apparent side-effect of cochlear implants.
On April 8, 2014, on his radio program, Limbaugh announced his
decision to 'go bilateral.' "I'm going to get an implant on the right
side," he said. After bilateral tuning, there was 100%
improvement. "Coming from total deafness, it is miraculous! How can
you not believe in God?" Limbaugh said in his national daily
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Rush Limbaugh Named Miss America Judge: Conservative Radio Host
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Hank Haney will dissect Rush
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Activists, Subversives, and Prisoners of Conscience. ABC-CLIO.
p. 387. ISBN 978-1-59884-764-2.
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Intellectual Devotional Modern Culture: Revive Your Mind, Complete
Your Education, and Converse Confidently with the Culturati. Rodale.
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Million", The Palm Beach Post, July 20, 2001, pp. 1D.
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Rush Limbaugh to accept media excellence
award at MRC 20th anniversary gala Archived October 24, 2008, at the
Library of Congress. March 20, 2007.
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OpEd by Zev Chavets, The New York Times, May
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Rush Limbaugh Inducted Into Hall of Famous Missourians".
Fox2now.com. May 14, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
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22, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
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Rush Limbaugh Show".
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What your kids actually like to read". CNN.com. Turner Broadcasting
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critics want to set the facts straight, but it's not easy". Chicago
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Archived from the original on June 16, 2001. Retrieved July 19,
Rush Limbaugh writes children's book "Rush Revere"". Fox News.
September 5, 2013. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
^ "Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with
Exceptional Americans: Rush Limbaugh: 9781476755861: Amazon.com:
Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
^ Quinn, Annalisa. "Book News:
Rush Limbaugh Wins Children's Book
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book award". The Washington Times. March 22, 2014.
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Revolution Available for Pre-Order!". Premiere Radio Networks. October
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Hands". Rushlimbaugh.com. November 6, 2008. Archived from the original
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Rush Limbaugh on Abortion". On the Issues. Retrieved 29 January
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p. 4. For all his bravado, however, Limbaugh is immensely
sensitive to charges of insensitivity. When asked about the racist
they-all-look-alike connotation of a statement like `Have you ever
noticed how all newspaper composite pictures of wanted criminals
resemble Jesse Jackson?` this professional talker from a family of
lawyers pleads total innocence.`You may interpret it as that, but I,
no, honest-to-God, that's not how I intended it at all. Gee, don't get
me in this one. I am the least racist host you'll ever find.`
Recalling a stint as an `insult-radio` DJ in Pittsburgh, he admits
feeling guilty about, for example, telling a black listener he could
not understand to `take that bone out of your nose and call me
^ "Limbaugh: "For the first time in his life, Paterson is gonna be a
massa" if he chooses Massa's replacement". The
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Rush Limbaugh Says 'Rape Police' Left Cares Too Much About Consent.
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which we live. The Universe of Lies, the Universe of Reality".
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^ RushLimbaugh.com. Transcript Archived April 2, 2007, at the Wayback
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Rush Limbaugh Show. December 1, 2004. Archived from
the original on October 21, 2007.
^ Rush Limbaugh; Wednesday Morning Update (January 24, 2001). "Rush
Limbaugh on energy & oil".
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Retrieved April 5, 2012.
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Limbaugh". Time magazine.
^ Rush H. Limbaugh, The Way Things Ought to Be, Pocket Books, 1992
^ "Drive-By Media Normalizes Deranged
Feminazi March". The Rush
Limbaugh Show. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
^ Rush H. Limbaugh, The Way Things Ought to Be, Pocket Books, 1992
"I prefer to call the most obnoxious feminists what they really are:
feminazis. Tom Hazlett, a good friend who is an esteemed and highly
regarded professor of economics at the University of
Davis, coined the term to describe any female who is intolerant of any
point of view that challenges militant feminism. I often use it to
describe women who are obsessed with perpetuating a modern-day
^ Sontag, Susan (May 23, 2004). "Regarding the Torture of Others". The
New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
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'Media-Generated': CBS' Meyer Says Beware".
CBS News. May 6, 2004.
Retrieved November 9, 2008.
^ a b "Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails". The
Rush Limbaugh Show,
Transcript. January 16, 2009. Archived from the original on March 26,
2009. Retrieved March 23, 2009.
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Conservative Icon Limbaugh". The Washington Post. pp. A01.
^ a b Grossberger, Lewis (December 16, 1990). "The Rush Hours". The
New York Times. p. 58.
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Chelsea Clinton finally came of age". The Guardian. London.
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^ The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error : Over
100 Outrageously False and Foolish Statements from America's Most
Powerful Radio and TV commentator, Rendall, Steve; Naureckas, Jim; and
Cohen, Jeff; W.W. Norton and Company, 1995
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Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other
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