Thursday, May 25, 2006

Limbaugh: Idiot for Life

Rush spent much of the first hour railing, stomping, and wiping tears from his eyes over this ABC News report from Brian Ross regarding an apparent investigation into Dennis Hastert and his ties with Jack Abramoff (transcript when available).

Now, one can debate the merits of this story, but what caught our attention at Blogoland was a call that Rush fielded. The gist? That dinja know, Brian Ross, was the very same Brian Ross of that infamous staged GM explosion story? And that he was later fired for it. The caller assured Rush that you could "Google it." Rush also said that his call screener performed some "research" on the matter and deemed it accurate. He was just really struck by the fact that Ross had been involved with the GM story.

Except they're all completely super-dead wrong. What a surprise.

No, Ross was never involved in the GM story. According to an article from USA Today on March 23, 1993 (no link), three producers were fired and Michele Gillen, the reporter, was reassigned. Brian Ross was not a part of the story, though he was later involved in a controversial story regarding cataract surgery, for which NBC was sued (the suit was dropped) .

Perhaps Rush and his caller were looking at this completely wrong story at, which notes: "GM subsequently filed an anti-defamation lawsuit against NBC. The lawsuit in question was quickly settled by NBC and as a result Brian Ross and a few persons responsible for the incident were fired from NBC..."

Uh, no.

How long should we hold our breath for a Rush retraction?

UPDATE. God, what an idiot. He just came on again and actually corrected the record about who the real reporter on the story was, but then said, citing, (unbelievably) Wikipedia, that Ross was somehow involved and still fired. Doesn't Limbaugh have Lexis-Nexis?

Washington Post, July 11, 1994 (no link):

Longtime NBC investigative reporter Brian Ross has jumped to ABC News, where he gets the title of "chief investigative correspondent for ABC News" -- and a reported annual salary of $ 1 million.

Ross, 45, whose four-year contract with NBC expired in April, has been negotiating with both networks; as recently as last week, NBC thought it had him wrapped up. He had been with the network for 18 years. NBC on Friday would say only that "we were unable to reach a mutual agreement."


Friday Ross acknowledged that the decision to leave NBC, which had put a major counter-offer on the table in recent days, had been tough. He said that after 18 years with the network, "it was time for a new challenge."

Ross said a word of encouragement from Diane Sawyer helped him decide to make the change.

"She told me that 'the safest thing to do is take a chance,' and I decided
to follow her advice."

No, he wasn't fired, Rush, you fat, lazy idiot.

UPDATE II: Wow, Rush actually got his facts straight, and partially retracts. Still, he can't help but note that Ross and NBC were sued over the cataract story and not so subtly suggests that this is a reason why he left (all reporting suggests this is not the case).

UPDATE III: Unsurprisingly, Rush doesn't post a transcript of this meltdown. But he does helpfully explain to his listeners why people shouldn't trust those who dispense false information:

Brian Ross can be a menace, folks. I've had my own little run-ins with him where he has gotten it totally wrong about me, and when that happens to you, it's quite natural that you begin to doubt other things that people report when you discover that. Like who would ever believe Dan Rather again, for example?

You said it, pal.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 1:15 PM

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