Rush Limbaugh Show is a conservative American talk radio show
Rush Limbaugh on Premiere Networks. Since its nationally
syndicated premiere in 1988, The
Rush Limbaugh Show has become the
highest-rated talk radio show in the United States.
1 Show airtime and format
1.2 Notable guests
2 Program staff
3 Stand-ins for Limbaugh
3.1 Recent substitute hosts
3.2 Former substitute hosts
6 Show history
7 Dan's Bake Sale
8 Rush to Excellence Tours and Cruises
9 Controversial incidents
9.1 Armed Forces
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox controversy
9.3 "Barack the Magic Negro" parody
9.4 Phony soldiers controversy
9.5 Comments on Obama's policies
9.6 "Leader of Republican Party"
9.7 Comments regarding Sandra Fluke
10 Operation Chaos
12 External links
Show airtime and format
Rush Limbaugh, the show's host
Rush Limbaugh Show has a format which has remained nearly
unchanged since the program began. The program airs live and consists
primarily of Limbaugh's monologues, based on the news of the day,
interspersed with parody ads, phone calls from listeners, and a
variety of running comedy bits (some live, some taped). Limbaugh also
does live commercials during the show for sponsors. He sometimes
promotes his own products, such as his political newsletter, The
Limbaugh Letter, or his Rush Revere children's history books.
Occasionally, Limbaugh features guests, such as a politician or fellow
commentator. A toll-free telephone number is announced for incoming
calls from listeners. However, Limbaugh generally takes far fewer
calls per show than most other national talk radio programs.
The listeners to the show are referred to as "Ditto-heads". Early in
the show's run, listeners began to use the variations on the
expression "ditto" to speed up the beginnings of calls, which tend to
open with the listener expressing his or her gratitude to the host and
an appreciation of the show. Mr. Limbaugh claims the term originated
with a caller who said "ditto what the previous caller said".[citation
An edited instrumental version of The Pretenders' “My City Was
Gone” has been Limbaugh's theme song since the start of his show.
Briefly in 1999, Limbaugh stopped playing the song after a "cease and
desist" order was issued by EMI. After the song's writer, Chrissie
Hynde, said in a radio interview she did not mind the use of the song,
an agreement was reached with EMI. The show airs live on weekdays from
noon to 3 p.m. Eastern time. A limited, and decreasing, number of
stations (such as WHO in Des Moines) air it on tape delay. The program
normally originates from Limbaugh's studios near his home in Palm
Beach County, Florida, where Limbaugh has lived since 1996. WJNO,
Limbaugh's affiliate in Palm Beach County, serves as the de facto
flagship station. In the early years of the program, it normally
originated from the studios of WABC in
New York City
New York City (the program's
original flagship station), which as of 2013 still served as the home
to some of the program's staff and broadcast facilities. As of late
2013, his show is now heard in the New York market on iHeartMedia's
(parent of Premiere Networks) WOR-AM. Limbaugh stated in 2009 that
he avoids New York as much as possible due to that state's high taxes
and that he, at the time, spent an average of 15 days in the state,
usually to keep updated with his staff and as a backup in the event of
a hurricane (in the latter case, he was seeking an alternative
location). Despite Limbaugh's physical location in Florida, WABC
introduced Limbaugh with Johnny Donovan's announcement: "Broadcasting
from high atop the WABC broadcast center, overlooking Madison Square
Garden in midtown Manhattan, this is New York City‘s most listened
to talk radio host: Rush Limbaugh." Limbaugh announced he would
officially sever his ties with WABC at the end of 2013. Limbaugh also
produces a "Morning Update", a 90-second monologue recorded after the
show that airs on many of Limbaugh's stations the next morning.
Rush Limbaugh Show airs on a network of approximately 590 AM and
FM affiliate stations throughout the United States, almost all of
which air the program live. Limbaugh also hosts his own online
Internet streaming audio and video broadcast, through Streamlink. This
broadcast is restricted to members of Limbaugh's “Rush 24/7”
service, but can also be heard on some stations' streaming audio
feeds. Premiere Networks, a division of iHeartMedia, the largest
U.S. radio station owner, owns distribution rights to the program. The
program is not heard on any stations in Canada, although stations
along the northern border of the United States give the show coverage
in much of southern Canada. The show has never been carried on any
satellite radio service, and is one of the few nationally syndicated
talk radio programs not to be featured on satellite radio. Limbaugh
attributes this decision to a desire to maximize value for his
terrestrial radio affiliates.
Rush Limbaugh Show is unusual among syndicated radio programs in
that it is fee-based; that is, radio stations pay iHeartMedia hundreds
of thousands of dollars (the exact amount depends on market size) for
the rights to carry his show, in addition to giving up 15 minutes of
daily ad time for barter advertisements and the Morning Update.
An official weekend edition of the program, consisting of "best of"
clips from the weekday show, entitled The
Rush Limbaugh Week in
Review, launched in January 2008.
In 1992, President George H. W. Bush made an appearance on
Charlton Heston called in to the show in 1995 to
read from Michael Crichton's book Jurassic Park. Secretary of State
Colin Powell appeared on the show in November 2003 when Roger
Hedgecock was guest-hosting the show.
George W. Bush
George W. Bush has appeared six times on the program.
The first time was during the 2000 presidential campaign. Then, in
2004, he "called in" to a live broadcast during the week of the 2004
Republican National Convention to give a preview of his nomination
acceptance speech. He called in again in 2006. The fourth time was
April 18, 2008, when Limbaugh asked the White House to speak with Bush
to thank him for the ceremony welcoming Pope Benedict XVI, which
awed Limbaugh. The fifth call was during the show's 20th anniversary
celebration, in which then-President Bush (and George H. W. Bush
and Jeb Bush) congratulated Limbaugh. He appeared a sixth time for an
interview regarding his autobiography, Decision Points, on November 9,
Dick Cheney has made multiple appearances.
In 2007, California Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger called in to a live
broadcast of the show a day after having called Limbaugh "irrelevant",
adding, "I'm not his servant. I'm the people's servant of California,"
on an appearance on NBC's Today show.
Other notable guests who have called in to Limbaugh's show include
former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, unsuccessful Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork,
economist Thomas Sowell, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan
Greenspan, and television writer Joel Surnow, who took calls about
events in his show, 24. In December 2006,
Sylvester Stallone made an
appearance on the show to discuss his upcoming movie Rocky Balboa. On
February 27, 2004, actor
Jim Caviezel called in to the program to
discuss The Passion of the Christ, in which Caviezel played the role
Jesus Christ. Republican vice presidential nominee Governor Sarah
Palin (R–AK) also called into a show before a rally in October 2008
to discuss the election and the economic distortion and impact of
Senator Obama's tax policy; Palin returned to the show in November
2009 to discuss her book Going Rogue: An American Life. Phil Gingrey,
a congressman who compared shows such as Limbaugh and
Sean Hannity to
"throwing bricks" in January 2009, gave an interview on Limbaugh's
show the following day.
Limbaugh has also had author and
Washington Times columnist Bill Gertz
on his show to discuss Gertz's books as well as national security
issues. In 2007, Limbaugh (among numerous other hosts) interviewed
Supreme Court Justice
Clarence Thomas and was the first to interview
Tony Snow after his departure from his post as White House press
secretary. He also interviewed
NBC News host
Tim Russert in 2004.
In May 2010, country musician John Rich reported for Limbaugh on the
May 2010 Tennessee floods.
Donald Trump appeared on the show April 15, 2011, and donated $100,000
to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, for which Limbaugh holds an
annual radiothon. Trump also called in multiple times during his 2016
campaign. On December 6, 2012, Limbaugh landed an interview with
Jim DeMint shortly after he announced his resignation
from his seat to head the Heritage Foundation. Each year, Rush and
Kathryn Limbaugh make a sizable contribution to the Cure-a-Thon.
Rush Limbaugh Show uses music as a significant part of the show.
This comprises "Updates" (songs usually played at full length leading
into a particular themed story, such as "Ain't Got No Home" by
Clarence "Frogman" Henry for a story about homeless people or an
eccentric New Wave version of "You Don't Own Me" by underground artist
Klaus Nomi for a homosexual-themed story), parodies (see below), and
bumper music, most of which spans the classic hits and classic rock
eras of the 1960s through 1980s (roughly corresponding to Limbaugh's
time as a disc jockey). On occasion, Limbaugh will feature a
particular song that he likes, which will often have a positive impact
on the song's sales. For instance, after playing Waldo de los Rios's
version of Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, the album
that contained the song briefly jumped to the top of Amazon.com's
sales charts. During the
Christmas season, Limbaugh often plays
Mannheim Steamroller as bumper music coming back from an "obscene
profit break" in the programming. Limbaugh recently discussed the
process involved in selection of the "bumper music" (music clips at
the beginning and end of segments transitioning to and from the show
and paid advertisements) when a listener commented that artists like
"The Pretenders" reportedly did not 'approve' of the use of songs such
as "My City Was Gone" as the band is decidedly liberal. Limbaugh
mentioned that he selects music with some sarcasm taken into
consideration. He also said that some bands had complained about his
use of their music but since the "bumper music" clips were less than
eight seconds, the use of the music is legally considered "fair
Rush Limbaugh Show will air political parodies from
voice humorist Paul Shanklin, in conjunction with a variety of
political news examined on the show. These satires range from parodies
of well known songs to audio skits in which the voices of politicians
are imitated by Shanklin. Such contributions from
Paul Shanklin have
been aired on the show since 1993. Some of these, such as "Barack the
Magic Negro", referring to the titled
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times article
written by David Ehrenstein, gained considerable notoriety. From 1993
through 1997 a series of parodies written and performed by the
similarly named Paul Silhan, including take-offs on
Bob Dylan tunes referred to by Limbaugh as the "Bob Zimmerman" songs,
were also played on his show. (Bob Zimmerman is the birth name of Bob
Dylan.) Silhan created his parodies by writing and then recording all
the voices and instruments himself using simul-synch recording
techniques. The six albums of Silhan's Limbaugh parodies are available
on the Web.
As with most commercial radio programming, The
Rush Limbaugh Show has
slots allotted for the local affiliates to fill with news segments,
traffic, weather, and local commercials. The “Rush 24/7” live
internet broadcast of the show usually fills these time slots with
The official "program-observer" and call screener. His real name is
James Golden. With other staff members, he assists with research
as part of preparation for the show and is in the control booth as the
show is being broadcast. He co-hosted a Sunday night talk show, James
and Joel, on WABC with Joel Santisteban from 1992 to 1998. Snerdley is
a pseudonym Limbaugh invented many years earlier when he was a disc
jockey on WIXZ (when Limbaugh went by the name Jeff Christy); he would
use the name Snerdley for supposed-listeners who would write or call
in, usually professing to be big fans and part of the "Christy
Nation". More recently, the name Snerdley has been used for his call
screeners, both male and female. During a show in 2004, Limbaugh was
not at the microphone for the last segment of the second hour (it was
only about ten seconds), and Snerdley came on instead: "This is Bo
Snerdley, Rush will be right back on the
EIB Network (Excellence in
Broadcasting)." It was one of the very rare times his voice was heard
on the program before 2008. "Bo" Snerdley screens callers at the Palm
Florida broadcasting location and in New York City. In February
2008, Snerdley, who is African-American, was appointed by Limbaugh
as the show's Official Criticizer of Barack Obama: "certified black
enough to criticize" On the July 24, 2009 show, "Bo" was put on
the air as the "Official Obama Criticizer", and spoke for roughly five
minutes with Rush about the incident with Cambridge police. On October
16, he requested (and received) air time to air a five-minute rant
that criticized NFL players, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and media
commentators who opposed Rush Limbaugh's potential bid on the St.
The Rush 24/7 Internet site webmaster. This is a nickname, given by
Limbaugh when Koko put a gorilla suit on for a gag on Limbaugh's TV
show. His real name is George Prayias, and he is currently the
webmaster for www.RushLimbaugh.com.
Koko’s wife is Cookie Gleason, who is Executive Producer of The Rush
Limbaugh Show. She has been with Rush since 1992, starting on his
television program. She does research and produces all of the audio
sound bites played on Rush's show. She's most known for her audio
montages, such as "Gravitas". She got her nickname from Rush's
television show where she played "Cookie Gleason", a take-off on Cokie
EIB network broadcast engineer.
Transcribes caller comments onto a computer screen to aid Limbaugh,
who hears via a cochlear implant and therefore can sometimes have
difficulties clearly understanding callers.
Christopher "Kit" Carson
“Chief of staff”. Also known as “H.R.”, Carson was Limbaugh's
first employee and screened calls when Limbaugh broadcast from New
York City, among other things. Carson's role was reduced as a result
of the show's departure from New York along with his own battle with
brain cancer beginning in 2011; Carson died January 26, 2015.
His duties consisted of call screening and board operations, and
serving as backup when the others are out or unavailable. Left the
show in spring 2006.
Program announcer who sometimes voices Paul Shanklin's parodies.
Stand-ins for Limbaugh
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Every so often, Limbaugh is absent from his show, whether for various
personal reasons or because of extended trips. For instance, in early
2005, Limbaugh took a weeklong trip to
Afghanistan to report on
postwar conditions; he's also participated in various celebrity pro-am
golf events, especially when he represents his parent company, Clear
Channel. On those occasions, Limbaugh allows “EIB certified talk
show hosts” (sometimes called "Associate Professors from the
Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies") to fill in for
him. Typically, these hosts are well-known conservatives, and since
Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia since 2014) acquired the network which
syndicates the program, they have often been iHeartMedia radio hosts.
Recent substitute hosts
Host of The
Mark Belling Late Afternoon Show on fellow iHeartMedia
station WISN in Milwaukee.
A Canadian journalist, columnist, and film and theater critic. Steyn
traditionally hosts from his home in New Hampshire, referred to as EIB
- Ice Station Zebra.
Dr. Walter E. Williams
economics professor, strong proponent of laissez-faire capitalism, and
former chairman of the economics department at George Mason University
in Virginia. He most often hosts on Fridays and is a fan
favorite. Williams has been guest hosting since
October 1992. However, in recent years, Williams has not been guest
hosting on Rush's show for unknown, possible personal
Award-winning Motion Picture Producer, former Broadway impresario,
occasional actor, raconteur, "paying subscriber to Rush 24/7," also
known as America's Guest Host, Urbanski first hosted three times in
2010, left the rotation to produce films on location (during which he
briefly hosted a competing program on Westwood One) and returned to
the substitute host rotation in mid-2012.
Founder and editor of
RedState and radio host at WSB. Erickson first
served as substitute host in 2014.
Radio host based at WMAL in Washington, DC.
Former mayor of San Diego, California, and a talk radio host at Clear
Channel talk station KOGO there. He was, as of 2007, the most used
stand-in, and was also a fan favorite. Hedgecock spent several years
out of the substitute rotation but has since returned.
A host on WHP in
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and
WPHT in Philadelphia,
subbed for Rush on July 14, September 1, November 24 and December 26,
A host on
KTTH in Seattle, Washington, debuted as a guest host for a
vacationing Rush on August 24, 2017. He did the show again on August
25, 2017, and again on January 2, 2018.
An actor who stars on the FX show Justified, he debuted as a guest
host for a vacationing Rush on December 27, 2017.
Former substitute hosts
By general rule, a person who currently has a national radio show on a
network other than Premiere is not eligible to substitute host on the
program. Premiere hosts are technically exempt from this (e.g. Matt
Drudge and, during his time with Premiere, Jason Lewis), but are still
used very rarely.
Editor-in-chief of the online version of Human Events. Has so far only
sub-hosted one episode (July 17, 2008). He has more recently
substituted for other shows, but not Limbaugh's.
In his first book, The Real America,
Glenn Beck stated that "[a]fter
doing a total of maybe 40 hours of talk radio, [he] was asked to host
a national show." A photo showing him set up at Rush's studio follows
the text. He has not hosted the
Rush Limbaugh Show since.
Bob 'B-1' Dornan
Dornan was a substitute host several times starting in 1991 and during
Bill Clinton's first term as president. He still substitutes for other
shows, but not Limbaugh's.
Host of The Mark Davis Show, a talk show that at the time was on WBAP
in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Davis joined the lineup of
substitute hosts on March 4, 2008 (after ABC News & Talk, which
had carried his local show on tape delay in Limbaugh's time slot, shut
down). The Mark Davis Show was on WBAP for 18 years until March 31,
2012 when station ownership decided not to renew his contract; Davis
substituted for Rush three times after his departure from WBAP, on
April 19 and 20, and again on May 14, 2012. Davis moved to Salem
KSKY on June 4 of that year, putting an end to
Editor of the
Drudge Report and (at the time) host of his own Sunday
night Clear Channel talk program. He hosted only twice during the 2003
Host of The
Bill Handel Show and Handel on the Law on
KFI in Los
Angeles. First substituted September 11, 2001. Limbaugh was
unavailable, and with the infamous terrorist attacks having taken
place just hours before air, Handel, who was already broadcasting on
an impromptu syndication network at the moment, continued to host for
another three hours in Limbaugh's place nationwide. He would go on to
host at least twice more before having a falling-out with Limbaugh.
Host of Fox News' political debate show Hannity.
Hannity has not
subbed since his radio show became nationally syndicated in 2001. The
Golden EIB Microphone fell and hit the table at the WABC
the first time he guest hosted.
Radio Free Minnesota, a radio show on KTCN-AM 1130 in the Twin
Cities. Lewis was a regular substitute host from August 2007 until
February 2009, when Premiere gave Lewis his own national show. He is a
now a Congressman from Minnesota.
News anchor and political commentator; substituted for Limbaugh on the
program once during the late 1990s, and has never substituted again
due to negative fan reaction because of his liberal political beliefs.
Republican strategist, wife of Democratic strategist James Carville,
and former talk show host on the
CBS Radio Network
CBS Radio Network in the 1990s. To
date, has only substituted once: April 23, 2012.
Medved was a substitute host from 1993–1998, when he got his own
nationally syndicated radio show.
Host of a radio show on KOA in
Denver during the University of
Colorado at Boulder controversy with former professor Ward Churchill.
Republican political consultant and former White House Deputy Chief of
Staff to George W. Bush. His one and, to date, only substitute hosting
came on August 9, 2010.
National security editor for Glenn Beck’s
TheBlaze TV. Sexton's
already existing program on
Radio Network, which airs
opposite Limbaugh's, was simulcast over the
EIB Network while Limbaugh
received his second cochlear implant on April 18, 2014. Sexton took
over as host of America Now February 1, 2017.
Paul W. Smith
Talk show host from
WJR in Detroit. He first substituted as host of
the show on December 13, 2005.
White House Press Secretary
White House Press Secretary for President George W. Bush. He
sometimes guest hosted during the 1990s before launching his own show
Talk in 2003. Snow died from colon cancer in July 2008.
Talk show host on KFBK in Sacramento, California, who is also a
financial advisor for Wells Fargo Securities, and the business news
editor for KFBK. Limbaugh hosted his talk show locally on KFBK before
going to New York City. He has not hosted in several years; the fact
that he has taken his KFBK show national with
prevent him from guest hosting on the show for the foreseeable future.
When Limbaugh is absent and no substitute is available, most
frequently on major holidays such as
Thanksgiving or Christmas, a
"Best of" show will air.
In addition, a portion of the show on the day before each Thanksgiving
is always set aside for a reading of the real story of Thanksgiving.
During this segment, Limbaugh reads from a section of his book "See, I
Told You So" regarding the first few years of the
Mayflower crew in
Plymouth Colony. Limbaugh says, based upon excerpts from the personal
journal of William Bradford, that the pilgrims, on orders from the
investor group Merchant Adventurers had attempted to set up an early
form of communism in the colony but failed, and when the colony went
to a free enterprise system the colony began to thrive. In addition,
Limbaugh also reads from President George Washington's 1789 National
Thanksgiving Proclamation. In the event that Limbaugh cannot broadcast
on the day before
Thanksgiving (as occurred in 2006), a substitute
host will read the excerpt.
Limbaugh traditionally breaks from his usual Open Line Friday format
the day before each
Super Bowl to interview NFL players regarding the
game. In 2011, he interviewed
James Farrior and Larry Foote, both from
the Pittsburgh Steelers, and retired cornerback
Rodney Harrison on the
Super Bowl XLV. In 2012, prior to
Super Bowl XLVI,
Limbaugh interviewed personal friend Ken Hutcherson, former middle
linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys.
Limbaugh uses his own on-air jargon, some of which he invented and
some of which he popularized. Notable examples include:
"Caller Abortion" (Limbaugh's term for disconnecting an unwanted
caller, accompanied by the sound effects of screams, a vacuum cleaner
and a toilet flushing);
"The Chi-Coms" (The Communist Chinese government);
"Club Gitmo" (The U.S. prison for terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
and an allusion to Club Med/Club Fed);
"Drive-by media" (The mainstream media, analogous to "drive-by
"Feminazi" (a portmanteau of "feminist" and "Nazi" that Rush uses to
describe a specific subset of feminists);
"The Four Corners of Deceit": (Limbaugh originally used this
commenting on the Climatic Research Unit email controversy,
referencing: Government, universities, science, and
"The New Castrati" ("...basically these are people that just have been
bullied into total acquiescence to the liberal agenda.");
"The Ninth Circus Court of Appeals" (Refers to The United States Court
of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, noted for its size and for its
controversial decisions that are reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court
more often than any other U.S. circuit court);
"Operation Chaos" (An effort promoted by Limbaugh to cause chaos in
the Democratic Party primaries by encouraging Republican voters to
either cross over or change parties in order to vote for whichever
candidate is trailing, thus prolonging the primary process);
"State-run media" (Limbaugh's more recent term for the Mainstream
media, particularly during the presidency of Barack Obama);
"Low-information voters" (Popularized in a broadcast following the
2012 presidential election);
"Gorbasm" (The feeling of euphoria that liberals and the left-wing
media had for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev);
"Skrewl" (American public schools);
"Obscene Profit Break" (commercial break);
"Inside/outside the beltway" (inside/outside Washington politics);
"The Clinton Crime Family Foundation" (The Clinton Foundation);
"The Norks" (The North Korean Communist government);
"Phony-Baloney, Plastic Banana, Good-time Rock ‘n’ Roller"
(Anything false or fake);
"The Huffing and Puffington Post" (The Huffington Post);
"The Congressional Black Caucasians" (The U.S. Congressional Black
"Meet the Depressed" (Sunday morning news television broadcast Meet
"Deface the Nation" (Sunday morning news television broadcast Face the
Limbaugh also coins his own nicknames for various people in the news.
"President Kardashian" (Limbaugh's nickname for Barack Obama, in
reference to Obama's perceived celebrity status, like unto the
“Barack Hussein O” (Also a nickname for Barack Obama);
"Michelle "My Belle" Obama", "Mooch-elle" (Michelle Obama, in a
reference to the Beatles song "Michelle");
"Banking Queen" (Limbaugh's term referring to the Chairman of the
House Finance and Banking Committee, Barney Frank);
"Calypso Louie" (Limbaugh's nickname for Louis Farrakhan, a play on
his early career in calypso music);
"Chuck-You Schumer" (Limbaugh's nickname for US Senator Chuck
"Crazy Bernie" (his nickname for far-left socialist senator and former
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders);
"David 'Rodham' Gergen" (his nickname for David Gergen, Presidential
adviser to Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton and now CNN
"F. Chuck Todd" (nickname for Chuck Todd, Chief White House
Correspondent for NBC News);
"DiFi" (pronounced die-fie -- nickname for Democratic Senator Dianne
"Dingy Harry" (nickname for former Democratic Senate Minority Leader
Harry Reid, analogous to Dirty Harry);
"Debbie Blabbermouth Schultz" (nickname for Democratic National
Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
"The Fruit of Kaboom Bomber" (Umar Mutallab, a Muslim Nigerian citizen
who attempted to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear while
Northwest Airlines Flight 253
Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on
Christmas Day, 2009; a parody
Fruit of the Loom
Fruit of the Loom brand clothing);
"Lindsey Grahamnesty" (Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a
portmanteau referencing Graham's support for the "Amnesty
"The Loser" (1988 Democratic presidential candidate Michael
"Ronaldus Magnus" (Latin for "Ronald the Great" in reference to
President Ronald Reagan)
"IL Papa" (Pope Francis)
"Ma Richards" (former Democratic
Texas governor Ann Richards,
analogous to Miriam A. Ferguson's nickname "Ma Ferguson")
"Pencil Neck" (Democratic U.S. Representative Adam Schiff)
"Mario The Pious" (Latin for "Mario the devoutly religious" in
reference to former Democratic New York Governor Mario Cuomo)
"Andrew the Pious" (Latin for "Andrew the devoutly religious" in
reference to Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo)
"Fredo Cuomo" (Nickname for
Chris Cuomo in reference to
Fredo Corleone of the Godfather series)
"The Adult Eddie Munster" (Judge Andrew Napolitano)
"The Forehead" (Democratic political consultant and political
commentator Paul Begala)
Fareed Zakaria Global Positioning Satellite" (In reference to the CNN
Fareed Zakaria and his show
Fareed Zakaria GPS)
"Mr. Newt" and "The Newtster" (former Republican Speaker of the United
States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich)
"Dick Turban" (Democratic U.S. Senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin)
"Fauxcahontas" (a nickname for U.S. Senator
Elizabeth Warren that
combines "fake" and "Pocahontas", referencing Warren's claim of her
Indian heritage and that she was "of Native American descent" when she
applied to Harvard)
Ruth Buzzi Ginsburg" (a nickname for U. S. Supreme Court Associate
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg referencing actress Ruth Buzzi)
"Maude Behar" (a nickname for liberal
The View (talk show)
The View (talk show) television
co-host Joy Behar, likely a reference to the 1970s sitcom Maude (TV
"The Oprah" (a nickname for television personality and actress Oprah
"Thomas 'Loopy' Friedman" (a nickname for liberal journalist Thomas
"Puff Daschle" (a nickname for retired
South Dakota Senator Tom
Daschle, a reference to the former stage name "Puff Daddy" of rapper
"Strzok-Stroke" (pronounced "struck stroke," a nickname for F.B.I.
agent Peter Strzok)
"Chatsworth Osborne Jr." (an "affectionate" nickname for Fox News
Channel host Tucker Carlson, a reference to the character from the
television sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis)
”Camera Hogg” (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student and
anti-gun political activist David Hogg)
Throughout the years on The
Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh has
established several nicknames with which he describes himself on the
air. Others also ascribe nicknames or titles and credentials that
Limbaugh then uses for entertainment or political satire. Often
Limbaugh furthers his schtick of "making (himself) look good" by
giving himself accolades with phrases praising his own
performance. Examples include:
"Maha-Rushi" (from Maharishi, a great sage);
"Defender of Motherhood" (socially conservative stance, including
opposition to abortion);
"Mayor of Realville";
"Having more fun than a human being should be allowed to have"
"Serving humanity just by being here, and it doesn't matter where here
"Half my brain tied behind my back, just to make it fair"
"Talent on loan from God"
"The views expressed by the host on this program documented to be
almost always right 99.7% of the time"
"On the cutting edge of societal evolution"
"Titular Head of the Republican Party";
"Doctor of Democracy"
"Your guiding light"
"Don't doubt me!"
"Meeting and surpassing audience expectations on a daily basis"
"The Epitome of Morality and Virtue"
"Saying more in five seconds than most talk show hosts say in a whole
"Harmless loveable little fuzzball and all around good/nice guy" (the
nickname Limbaugh created for himself in response to the claim that he
is the "most dangerous man in America").
This section details only events which were primarily about the show
and not about Limbaugh himself; of course, because Limbaugh and his
show are so intertwined, it can be difficult to separate the two.
Rush Limbaugh for events in Limbaugh's life which may have
impacted the show.
After several years of employment with the
Kansas City Royals
Kansas City Royals and in
the music radio business, which included hosting a program at KMBZ in
Kansas City, in 1984, Limbaugh started as a regular talk show host on
AM radio station KFBK in Sacramento, California. He succeeded Morton
Downey Jr. in the time slot.
Based on his work in Sacramento, Limbaugh was signed to a contract by
EFM Media Management, headed by former ABC
Radio executive Edward
McLaughlin. Limbaugh became syndicated on August 1, 1988 through EFM
and his show was drawing five million listeners after two years of
syndication. Lacking a name for the network during the early
years, he coined the name "EIB (Excellence In Broadcasting) Network,"
which has remained associated with the show even after joining an
actual radio network.
Jacor Communications, a publicly traded company, acquired
EFM. Later that year,
Jacor merged with Premiere Radio
Networks. In 1999,
Jacor merged with Clear Channel
Communications, which rebranded as iHeartMedia in 2014; Clear
Channel and iHeart have maintained what is now branded as Premiere
Networks as their syndication wing since acquiring it.
Limbaugh and Clear Channel signed an eight-year, $400 million contract
extension in July 2, 2008. He signed a new contract for four
additional years in a deal announced August 2, 2016, after Limbaugh
publicly contemplated retirement. Limbaugh is believed to have taken a
pay cut to remain on the air after advertisers pulled funding in
response to boycotts around his criticism of
Sandra Fluke (see
Controversial Incidents) and industry-wide advertising declines.
Dan's Bake Sale
The initial idea for Dan's Bake Sale was conceived on The Rush
Limbaugh Show in 1993. One caller, "Dan" from Fort Collins, Colorado,
Rush Limbaugh that he was photocopying a coworker's subscription
to the Limbaugh Letter, Rush's monthly magazine that covers current
events. The reason was that Dan's wife was not a fan of the show, and
would not allocate the funds needed from the family budget to
subscribe to the Letter. Limbaugh light-heartedly informed Dan that he
disapproves his photocopying printed material, and offhandedly
suggested that Dan organize a bake sale to raise funds for a
subscription, spoofing then-recent bake sales to raise funds to reduce
the national debt.
After Dan's call ended, the next caller to the show stated that he
felt Rush was a bit harsh, and that he intended to attend Dan's Bake
Sale. Rush again dismissed the topic. The next caller stated that he
would like to attend Dan's Bake Sale. Rush repeatedly announced they
would take no more "bake sale" calls but the gig was on and everyone
calling in for the next week or so put in a plug for Dan's Bake Sale.
Limbaugh never seriously proposed a Bake Sale and neither did "Dan."
But the landslide of support for Dan and his bake sale was on.
Eventually, some 65,000 people from all over the United States and as
far away as
Australia showed up in Fort Collins for Dan's Bake
Jay Leno even made jokes about it on The Tonight Show.
Limbaugh attended, and had a brief presentation, giving Dan his first
issue of his subscription.
Dan considered making it an annual event, but agreed with Limbaugh's
assessment that the original just could never again be replicated.
Rush to Excellence Tours and Cruises
In the 1990s Limbaugh sponsored several Rush to Excellence Tours at
venues across the country, including the Masonic Temple in Detroit,
Michigan. He also sponsored Rush to Excellence Cruises on ocean
This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the
article's neutral point of view of the subject. Please integrate the
section's contents into the article as a whole, or rewrite the
material. (August 2009)
On May 26, 2004, the article "Rush's Forced Conscripts" appeared on
the online news and opinion magazine Salon.com. The article
discussed the controversy surrounding the fact that American Forces
Television Service (AFRTS), (which describes itself as
"[providing] stateside radio and television programming, 'a touch of
home', to U.S. service men and women, DoD civilians, and their
families serving outside the continental United States"), carries the
first hour of Limbaugh's show. Melvin Russell, director of AFRTS,
defended Limbaugh's presence, by pointing to Limbaugh's high ratings
in the US: "We look at the most popular shows broadcast here in the
United States and try to mirror that. [Limbaugh] is the No. 1 talk
show host in the States; there's no question about that. Because of
that we provide him on our service." In addition,
AFRTS produced a
ballot of radio and television shows asking troops worldwide, "Who do
you want that we don't at present carry?" The
Rush Limbaugh Show was
not listed on the ballot, but won the vote as a write-in by the
troops. A later poll by Lund Media Research found that a majority of
soldiers preferred that talk show programs be replaced by hip hop and
rap stations, bringing into question the future of content such as the
Rush Limbaugh Show on AFRTS.
Critics have pointed out that other programs, such as the
eight-million listener per week Howard Stern Show, are absent from
AFRTS. (This statement was made before Stern left for satellite radio
in 2006.) Other claims—for example, that there is no political
counterbalance to Limbaugh on AFRTS—have been rebutted by Byron
York, a columnist for the predominantly conservative National Review:
"American military men and women abroad have access, for example, to
the talk show of liberal host
Diane Rehm ...
Jim Hightower and CBS
News anchorman Dan Rather." Another possible political counterbalance
to Limbaugh is Harry Shearer, who emphasizes his presence on
the end of every episode of his satirical Le Show.
On June 14, 2004, U.S. Senator
Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced an
amendment to the 2004 Defense Authorization bill that called for AFRTS
to fulfill its stated goal of providing political balance in its news
and public affairs programming. The amendment passed unanimously in
the Senate. Limbaugh responded by calling the move "censorship". On
his June 17 radio show, he commented that: "This is a United States
senator [Tom Harkin] amending the Defense appropriations bill with the
intent being to get this program—only one hour of which is carried
on Armed Forces Radio—stripped from that network." The amendment
never became law. As of 2005, the first hour of Limbaugh's show is
still on AFRTS. Limbaugh visited US forces in
Afghanistan in 2005.
This treatment of The
Rush Limbaugh Show proved to set a precedent for
Congressional debate on
AFRTS content. The
Ed Schultz show, a liberal
talk radio show with over one million listeners a week, was originally
scheduled to be broadcast on
AFRTS on October 17, 2005. It was
subsequently pulled, with some alleging political motivation, which
was later debated in Congress. A few weeks after this debate, AFRTS
added Schultz to the line-up along with other talk show hosts: Al
Franken and Sean Hannity.
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox controversy
On the October 23, 2006, broadcast of his radio show, Limbaugh
imitated on the "DittoCam" (the webcam for
Web site subscribers to see
him on the air) the physical symptoms actor
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox showed in a
television commercial raising awareness of Parkinson's
disease. He said "[Fox] is exaggerating the effects of the
disease. He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an
act ... This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he
didn't take his medication or he's acting." Three days later, on
October 26, Limbaugh denied that he was ridiculing Fox, stating that,
after seeing Fox without his medication, "I [was] stunned because I
[had] never seen
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox that way." Limbaugh said that he was
"mov[ing] around like [Fox] does, but never once was I making fun of
him. I was trying to illustrate for my audience watching on the
Dittocam what I had seen."
Fox later appeared on
Katie Couric and said he was actually
dyskinesic at the time, a condition that results from
However, Fox has admitted that he has, at times, deliberately not
taken his medication—such as in an appearance the U.S.
Senate—in order, he claimed, to demonstrate the effects of
Parkinson's disease. During Limbaugh's October 26, 2006 show he said,
in a discussion with a caller, "[I]n his own book [Lucky Man: A
Memoir], he has written in chapter eight that before Senate
committees he goes off the medication so that people can see the
ravages of the disease."
"Barack the Magic Negro" parody
Main article: Barack the Magic Negro
On March 19, 2007, Limbaugh referred to a
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times editorial
David Ehrenstein which claimed that
Barack Obama was filling the
role of the "magic negro", and that this explained his appeal to
voters. Limbaugh then later played a song by Paul Shanklin
entitled "Barack the Magic Negro," sung to the tune of "Puff the
Phony soldiers controversy
Main article: Phony soldiers controversy
During the September 26, 2007, broadcast of Limbaugh's radio show,
Limbaugh used the term "phony soldiers" when speaking to a caller who
had questioned if the previous caller was really a
soldier. The caller, saying he was currently
serving in the Army for 14 years, said, "They never talk to real
soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the
blue and spout to the media." Limbaugh interrupted, "The phony
soldiers." The caller continued, "The phony soldiers. If you talk to a
real soldier, they are proud to serve. They want to be over in Iraq.
They understand their sacrifice, and they're willing to sacrifice for
their country." Several minutes later, after the caller had hung
up, Limbaugh read from the AP story describing the story of Jesse
Macbeth. Macbeth joined the Army but did not complete basic training,
yet falsely claimed in alternative media interviews that he and his
unit routinely committed war crimes in Iraq. On June 7,
2007, Macbeth pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and was sentenced to five
months in jail and three years probation. Media Matters
noted Limbaugh's use of the term "phony soldiers" in an article on
their website. The article claimed that Limbaugh was saying that all
soldiers who disagree with the
Iraq War were "phony soldiers",
and this assertion was repeated in speeches by Presidential candidates
John Edwards and Chris Dodd. Limbaugh said that, when he had made
the comment about "phony soldiers", he had been speaking only of
Macbeth and others like him who claim to be soldiers and are not, and
that "Media Matters takes things out of context all the time".
Media Matters pointed out that Limbaugh did not mention Jesse Macbeth
on his September 26 radio show until one minute and 50 seconds after
talking about "phony soldiers" with the caller." Limbaugh
addressed Media Matters' accusations during an interview on Fox News,
explaining that the caller, after discussing the phony soldiers, went
into a discussion of weapons of mass destruction. Limbaugh said
that he allowed the caller to continue down that tangent while, off
mic, he searched for the commentary on
Jesse Macbeth to present to his
audience, thus accounting for the delay. The unedited transcript of
the radio show in question can be found on Rush Limbaugh's
Comments on Obama's policies
On January 16, 2009, Limbaugh read a letter on his radio show that he
had received a request from a national print outlet: ... "If you
could send us 400 words on your hope for the Obama presidency, we need
it by Monday night, that would be ideal." He responded, "I don't need
400 words, I need four: I hope he fails." He explained that he didn't
want "absorption of as much of the private sector by the US government
as possible, from the banking business, to the mortgage industry, the
automobile business, to health care. I do not want the government in
charge of all of these things. I don't want this to work." He
continued, "What is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails?
Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously
close to the precipice here."
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."
"Leader of Republican Party"
Limbaugh was the keynote speaker at the 2009 Conservative Political
Action Conference; his speech attracted widespread attention. On
March 1, 2009, CBS's
Face the Nation
Face the Nation asked White House Chief Of Staff
Rahm Emanuel who he thought represented the Republican Party; Emanuel
named Limbaugh as his choice.
In remarks aired by
CNN on March 1, 2009, Republican Party Chairman
Michael Steele said that Limbaugh is "an entertainer" and his rhetoric
at the convention was "incendiary" and "ugly". Steele later
telephoned Limbaugh and apologized. Limbaugh stated he would not want
to run the RNC in its "sad sack state".
On March 2, 2009, Limbaugh responded to Emanuel, and on March 4,
2009, Limbaugh challenged President
Barack Obama to a debate on his
radio program. Limbaugh offered to pay all of Obama's expenses
including travel, food, lodging, and security. On March 6,
Byron York of the
Washington Examiner that his ratings
for his radio show had significantly increased since he had begun
criticizing the Obama Administration.
Comments regarding Sandra Fluke
Main article: Rush Limbaugh–
Sandra Fluke controversy
On February 29, 2012, Limbaugh said that Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown
University law student and women's rights activist, supposedly was a
"slut" and a "prostitute" on his radio show, in response to testimony
that Fluke gave to Congressional Democrats in favor of requiring
contraception to be included in insurance provided by employers,
including religiously affiliated organizations that object to its
usage. The negative response included boycott campaigns by social
media groups pressuring the show's advertisers; as of March 8, up to
forty-five advertisers had withdrawn or suspended their advertising on
the show, and two radio stations,
KPUA in Hilo, Hawaii, and WBEC
in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, announced they would no longer broadcast
In March 2012, social media boycott promoters claimed that an
additional 96 advertisers had dropped the show, but the Washington
Post later reported that this was just a regular quarterly notice ,
not specific to the controversy. Premiere responded to the
boycott campaigns with an aggressive campaign to circumvent the
traditional advertising agencies and account executives to solicit new
advertisers, not just for Limbaugh but for its other talk properties
as well; Premiere declared success with this strategy in June 2013, at
which point many of the advertisers had long since returned and those
that had not had been replaced. Competing networks Cumulus Media
Dial Global both blamed the controversy for advertising losses at
their networks; in Cumulus's case, it was also a factor in the
company's decision to drop Limbaugh from all of their stations
(including several of Limbaugh's top-10 market affiliates, most of
which were former ABC owned-and-operated stations) when the company's
bulk carriage contract with Limbaugh expired at the end of
2013. (Cumulus backed down and signed a bulk-carriage
contract extension at the end of 2013; all of Limbaugh's Cumulus
affiliates except WABC were included.) The show has also been dropped
by other stations such as
WRKO in Boston and
KFI in Los Angeles
resulting it in being carried by weaker stations in major
In late February 2008, Limbaugh announced "Operation Chaos," a
political call to action with the initial plan to have voters of the
Republican Party temporarily cross over to vote in the Democratic
primary and vote for Hillary Clinton, who at the time was in the midst
of losing eleven straight primary contests to Barack Obama. Limbaugh
has also cited the open primary process in the early primary states of
New Hampshire and South Carolina, which allowed independent voters to
cross over into the Republican primaries to choose John McCain over
more conservative candidates (such as Fred Thompson), as an
At the point in which Limbaugh announced his gambit, Obama had seemed
on the verge of clinching the Democratic nomination. However,
Clinton subsequently won the
Ohio primary and the
Texas primary (while
Texas caucus and the overall delegate split) with large
pluralities from rural counties; thus reemerging as a competitive
opponent in the race.
On April 29, 2008 Limbaugh declared an "operational pause" in
Operation Chaos, saying that Obama's defeat in the 2008 Pennsylvania
primary and fallout from statements from Obama ally Reverend Jeremiah
Wright could have damaged his campaign to the extent superdelegates
would shift to Clinton's side. Determining Obama had weathered
that storm, Limbaugh lifted the pause the next day and renewed his
call for his listeners to vote for Clinton in the upcoming
North Carolina primaries. Obama won the North Carolina
primary but was narrowly defeated in Indiana, where Clinton won
decisively in rural counties that normally vote Republican in
The overall legality of Operation Chaos in several states, including
Ohio and Indiana, is disputed. In Ohio, new party members are required
to sign a pledge of loyalty to the party they join for a minimum of
one year, making participation in "Operation Chaos" a possible felony
(election falsification) in that state. However, the state attorney
general there refused to press charges on anyone, saying that it would
be nearly impossible to enforce because of difficulties proving voter
intent and concerns that a loyalty oath would violate freedom of
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^ Tom A. Peter (October 4, 2007). "'Phony soldiers' comments continue
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Science Publishing Society. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
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Iraq War Veteran" video, peacefilms.org, retrieved May 23,
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^ "Statement on Jesse MacBeth interview in Justice". Socialist
Alternative. May 26, 2006. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
^ Seattle Times – Man who lied about actions in
Iraq admits faking
^ Seattle Post Intellegencer – Poster soldier for anti-war movement
was a fake
^ Limbaugh: Service members who support U.S. withdrawal are "phony
soldiers" Media Matters September 27, 2007
^ Dems Criticize Limbaugh's Comments AP September 28, 2007
^ "Phony Soldiers" is a Phony Story
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Rush Limbaugh on His EBay Letter".
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Conservative Icon Limbaugh". The Washington Post. pp. A01.
^ "GOP chief apologizes for Limbaugh remarks". March 3, 2009.
Rahm Emanuel on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’, CQ
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^ a b "A Few Words for Michael Steele". The
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Rush Limbaugh 'Slut' Comment Is
Attempt To Silence Women". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 3,
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^ RealClearPolitics - HorseRaceBlog - Is This Race Over?
^ RealClearPolitics - HorseRaceBlog - Obama, Small Town Whites, and
the Super Delegates
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^ WISH-ful Thinking in Indianapolis; Operational Pause Officially
North Carolina Primary Results". The New York Times. Retrieved May
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Dispatch. 28 March 2008.[dead link]
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