RUSH TO JUDGMENT
The national discourse on race continues to reel forward. In his zeal to buy the St. Louis Rams, Rush Limbaugh is now part of that dialogue, having been tackled several times by MSNBC and CNN. The networks have claimed Mr. Limbaugh said that slavery “had its merits,” though the radio host has flatly denied it. But an instant feedback loop has been created: in 24 hours, critics — from the NFL Players Association to assorted sports journalists and black leaders — have emerged, questioning Mr. Limbaugh’s fitness to be the owner of a major sports team.
Enough already, says L. Brent Bozell III, founder of the Media Research Center.
“CNN and MSNBC must immediately and publicly source when Limbaugh uttered this phrase. He has unequivocally denied it. Now it is up to the same news media that reported it as fact to prove that it was, indeed, stated,” said Mr. Bozell, noting that he has sent letters to both networks demanding they provide credible sources for the “slavery” quote.
“Either Rush Limbaugh is lying, or these networks — willfully or not — are participants in the worst form of character assassination imaginable. They can prove their innocence by documenting this accusation. If they can´t, then they are 100 percent guilty of character assassination,” Mr. Bozell says.
The situation prompted Mr. Limbaugh and his staff to listen to 15 hours of audiotape, just to make sure there was not some stray utterance.
“There is not even an inkling that any words in this quote are accurate. It’s outrageous, but it’s totally predictable. It’s being repeated by people who have never listened to this program. They certainly didn’t hear it said themselves because it was never said,” Mr. Limbaugh says.
But wait. What does he really think?
“I’m colorblind. I have reached the point where everybody professes we need to go. I treat everybody equally. In the political arena, I don’t care. Male, female, black, white, gay, straight, bisexual, if you are opposed to the things I think are great for the country, I’m going to say so. I’m going to criticize you. Not because of whatever it is distinguishes you from me on a surface basis, but because of ideas,” Mr. Limbaugh says. major skittish moment for Walgreens and CVS. Both retailers have refused to carry it, with CVS pulling the supplies off its shelves on Oct. 7.
“It’s crazy. First Walgreens, now CVS dropped Chia Obama for no reason. I have no explanation. I know consumers want it, and we never got any bad press,” Joe Pedott tells Inside the Beltway.
The president of San Francisco-based Joseph Enterprises Inc., which manufactures the line — along with the Clapper and other as-seen-onTV fare, Mr. Pedott met with Mr. Obama himself in May, and even has the blessings of Jesse Jackson.
“He looked over Chia Obama and said it was a ‘fine product.’ I have three witnesses on that. I guess this rejection by retailers has to do with fear,” Mr. Pedott says. “There are always radical reactions. People think we’re showing the president in an Afro hairdo, or showing him as a ‘pet.’ That’s not it at all. The message is ‘I’m proud to be an American,’ and peace, hope and prosperity. There’s no ‘pet’ here.”
There could be a loss, considering that CVS has 7,000 stores, Walgreens 7,042. But Mr. Pedott is not discouraged. The Chia Obama has a new Web site now for those who still want one (www.chiaobama.com).
“And if people think the ‘hair’ gets too long on their Chia Obama, they can just cut it a little,” Mr. Pedott adds.
His hair grows almost as fast as the national debt: The Chia Obama is creating a lather among some retailers, namely Walgreens and CVS, who have pulled it from their shelves. The company calls the reaction “crazy.”