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Rush Limbaugh

Rush Hudson Limbaugh III (born January 12, 1951) is an American radio host and conservative political commentator. His nationally-syndicated talk show, The Rush Limbaugh Show, airs throughout the United States on Premiere Radio Networks. He has been credited with reviving AM radio in the United States, and is also considered to have been a "national precinct captain" for the Republican Party's Congressional victories in 1994. The National Review magazine, in a 1993 cover story, called him "The Leader of Conservative Principles " during the Clinton administration.

Early life

Limbaugh was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the son of Mildred Carolyn "Millie" (née Armstrong), originally from Searcy, Arkansas, and Rush Hudson Limbaugh, Jr. His father was a lawyer and a World War II fighter pilot who served in the China-Burma-India theater. The name "Rush" was chosen for his grandfather to honor the maiden name of family member Edna Rush. His family is filled with a number of lawyers including his grandfather, father and his brother David. His uncle, Stephen N. Limbaugh, Sr. is a Ronald Reagan appointed federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and his cousin, Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr., is Judge on the Supreme Court of Missouri. Rush Limbaugh, Sr., Limbaugh's grandfather, was a Missouri prosecutor, judge, special commissioner and served on Missouri's state House of Representatives from 1930 to 1932. Limbaugh's grandfather was very well respected as one of the "patriarchs" of the Cape Girardeau community. Rush, Sr., passed away at age 104, and was still a practicing attorney at the time of his death. The Federal Courthouse in Cape Girardeau is named for Limbaugh's grandfather. Limbaugh began his career in radio as a teenager in 1967 in his hometown of Cape Girardeau, using the name Rusty Sharpe.

Education

Limbaugh graduated from Cape Central High School, in 1969. His father and mother wanted him to attend college, so he enrolled at Southeast Missouri State University. He dropped out after two semesters and one summer; according to his mother, "he flunked everything", even a modern ballroom dancing class. As she told a reporter in 1992, "He just didn't seem interested in anything except radio.

Draft status

Limbaugh's birthdate was ranked as 175 in the Vietnam War draft lottery. No one was drafted above 125. However, he was classified as "1-Y" (later reclassified "4-F") due to either a football knee injury or a diagnosis of Pilonidal disease.

Professional career and rise to fame

1970s

After dropping out of college, Limbaugh moved to McKeesport, Pennsylvania. There he became a Top 40 music radio disc jockey on station WIXZ, a station that covered the Pittsburgh area. In October 1972, he broadcast over Pittsburgh station KQV under the name "Jeff Christie".

For the rest of the decade Limbaugh moved around to several radio stations before settling in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1979, after several years in music radio, he took a break from radio and accepted a position as director of promotions with the Kansas City Royals baseball team. Retired Kansas City Royals star George Brett is one of his best friends.

1980s

In 1984, Limbaugh returned to radio as a talk show host at KFBK in Sacramento, California, 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 a former president of ABC Radio, Edward F. McLaughlin, Limbaugh moved to New York City and began his national radio show. His show debuted just weeks after the Democratic National Convention, and just weeks before the Republican National Convention. Limbaugh's radio home in New York City was the talk-format station WABC-AM, 770 AM, and continues to this day as his flagship station.

1990s

The program gained in popularity and moved to stations with larger audiences eventually growing to over 650 radio stations nationwide. When the Republican Party won control of Congress in 1994, one of the first acts by many freshmen (calling themselves the "Dittohead Caucus") was to award Limbaugh the title of "honorary member of Congress" in recognition of his support of their efforts during this period.

Humor columnist and journalist Lewis Grossberger acknowledged that Limbaugh had "more listeners than any other talk show host" and described Limbaugh's style as "bouncing between earnest lecturer and political vaudevillian".

The Rush Limbaugh Show

Limbaugh's radio show airs weekdays for three hours daily, beginning at 12 noon Eastern time in the U.S. It also is carried worldwide over the Armed Forces Radio Network, and in some markets is carried on FM stations.

Radio broadcasting shifted from AM to FM in the late '70s because of the opportunity to broadcast music in stereo in FM, with better range and musical 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 the AM radio. As of 2006, Arbitron ratings indicated that The Rush Limbaugh Show had a minimum weekly audience of 13.5 million listeners, making it the largest radio talk show audience in the United States. In 2007, Talkers magazine again named him #1 in its "Heavy Hundred" most important talk show hosts. Limbaugh frequently mentions the EIB (Excellence In Broadcasting) network, but this is a mythic construction, as he told the New York Times in 1990. In reality, 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. On July 2, 2008, Matt Drudge reported that Limbaugh signed a contract extension through 2016 that is worth over $400 million, breaking records for any broadcast medium — television or radio.

Controversies

Michael J. Fox incident
On the October 23, 2006 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh imitated on the "DittoCam" (the webcam for website subscribers to see him on the air) the physical symptoms of actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson's disease and has appeared in political campaign ads for candidates who support a form of embryonic stem-cell research, and has stated that he sometimes doesn't take his medicine explicitly to show the effects of the disease. Limbaugh imitated Fox's Parkinson's symptoms as displayed on the commercial, stating that "(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." Fox had already admitted in his autobiography by this point, that during testimony to Congress several years prior he had, in fact, purposefully not taken his medication in order to have his symptoms exaggerated for effect.

Fox was offended, as were people on both sides of the political spectrum who felt Limbaugh's parody of Fox was unfair or in poor taste. The possibility of a reasoned and civil discussion of stem-cell research was quickly overshadowed by dueling website and blog attacks. Proponents of stem-cell research immediately used this incident to raise funds for several Democratic candidates running for Congress, while detractors accused Fox of being just another partisan of Democratic candidates. Fox himself appeared on numerous news programs to explain his condition and to defend his advocacy for stem-cell research. As it turns out, Michael J. Fox was actually over-medicated in his stem cell ad.

Phony soldiers controversy

Another controversy occurred during the September 26, 2007 broadcast of Limbaugh's radio show, when he used the term "phony soldiers", allegedly referencing a September 21 Associated Press story about individuals falsely claiming to be veterans in order to receive benefits. A caller, after saying he was currently serving in the Army and has been in 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 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 to the 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 suggested that Limbaugh was saying that all soldiers who disagree with the Iraq War were "phony soldiers, and their article received substantial press coverage after it was discussed in speeches by Presidential candidates John Edwards and Chris Dodd. Limbaugh argued 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 disputed the accuracy of Limbaugh's claim and defended its story.

Among Limbaugh's detractors were members of VoteVets.org who produced a series of ads that ran on their website and on YouTube taking Limbaugh to task for insulting veterans who opposed the war. The members of VoteVets, a number of whom asserted they were conservative politically, told reporters that protesting the current war policy should not be a partisan issue, but most of the support they received after the Limbaugh controversy came from congressional Democrats.

On October 19, 2007, Limbaugh announced the winning bid in an eBay auction of a letter sent to Clear Channel Communications Chief Executive Officer Mark Mays by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "We call on you to publicly repudiate these [phony soldier] comments," the letter said, ". . . and to ask Mr. Limbaugh to apologize for his comments. The auction's high bid of $2,100,100 by Betty Casey of the Eugene B. Casey Foundation set a new eBay record for largest charity bid. Shortly before the auction closed, Senator Reid addressed the Senate, saying, "I don't know what we could do more important than helping to ensure that children of our fallen soldiers and police officers who have fallen in the line of duty have the opportunity for their children to have a good education." In his radio broadcast later in the day, Limbaugh was critical of Reid's speech, saying Reid had tried "to horn in and act like he's part of this whole thing, folks." Limbaugh also said, "Senator Reid, you did not mention that I am matching whatever the final total is." Matching funds from Limbaugh would increase the total donation to the charity benefiting children of Marines and law enforcement personnel killed in the line of duty to $4,200,200.

Operation Chaos
Limbaugh has stated that there is nothing wrong with Republicans voting in the Democratic primary, as Democrats voted for John McCain in Vermont, New Hampshire, Florida, and other states. "This is getting absurd. If it weren't for independents and Democrats crossing over, Senator McCain would not be our nominee!

Dubbing the effort "Operation Chaos," Limbaugh says he intends to continue to encourage his listeners to vote for whoever is behind in the Democratic primary, to sow chaos and disunity among Democrats during a divisive primary battle. Limbaugh then began to advocate that his Republican listeners vote for Clinton, something the rules of the Texas primary permitted. According to a county volunteer, one voter declared "Rush Limbaugh sent me", another "I am voting for Hillary Clinton but I want to see the Democrats implode," and a great many others mentioning Limbaugh.

In Ohio, Limbaugh similarly encouraged his listeners to re-register as Democrats and vote for Clinton. Although Ohio does not use an open primary, voters who change their registration must attest that they support the principles of the party to which they switch. About sixteen thousand Ohio Republicans switched parties for the election. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections announced that, at the urging of Democrat Sandy McNair, the cross-overs would be investigated. Later, the Ohio Attorney General's office stated that it would be hard to prosecute anyone for falsifying a change of registration, because of the difficulty of proving a voter's fraudulent intent.

Limbaugh has said that "The dream end of this [of Operation Chaos] is that this keeps up to the Convention, and that we have a recreation of Chicago 1968 with burning cars, protests, fire, and literal riots and all of that, that is the objective here.

Television show

Limbaugh had a syndicated half-hour show from 1992 through 1996, produced by Roger Ailes. The television show discussed many of the topics on his radio show, and was taped in front of a live audience.

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 The Drew Carey Show.

Most recently, in 2007, Limbaugh has made cameo appearances on Fox News Channel's short lived 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 is fellow conservative pundit Ann Coulter. He also made a cameo in the Family Guy episode "Blue Harvest". In the episode, a parody of Star Wars, Limbaugh can be heard on the radio claiming that, among other things, the "intergalactic liberal space media" was lying about climate change on the planet Hoth, and that Lando Calrissian's administrative position on Cloud City was a result of affirmative action.

His persona has often been utilized as a template for a stereotypical conservative talk show host on TV shows and in movies, including an episode of The Simpsons (as a conservative talk radio host named Birch Barlow), as "Gus Baker" on an episode of Beavis and Butt-head, as "Lash Rambo" (host of "Perfection in Broadcasting") on an episode of The New WKRP in Cincinnati, and as "Fielding Chase" in the Columbo Mystery Movie Butterfly in Shades of Grey (played by William Shatner).

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 Marta. Sales of the ties reached over five million dollars (U.S.) in their initial sales year, but were later discontinued.

Pro football

Limbaugh has long been a fan of American football, specifically the NFL. During Limbaugh's time in Pittsburgh in the early 1970s, the Pittsburgh Steelers began to rise to dominance in the NFL in football-hungry Western Pennsylvania, where they would become "Team of the 1970's" and win four Super Bowls by the end of the decade, with Limbaugh becoming a fan of the team during this time. Limbaugh has remained a Steelers fan since, and has often mentioned the team's praise on his radio show.

In 2000, ABC considered adding Limbaugh to their Monday Night Football broadcast team before deciding on comedian Dennis Miller instead.

In July 2008, Limbaugh mentioned in an interview with the St. Louis Business Journal that he would like to buy his hometown St. Louis Rams and keep the team in St. Louis as opposed to the team possibly moving back to Los Angeles.

Sunday NFL Countdown controversy

On July 14, 2003, ESPN announced that Limbaugh would be joining ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown show as a weekly analyst when it premiered on September 7. Limbaugh would provide the "voice of the fan" and was supposed to spark debate on the show. On the September 28 episode of Countdown, Limbaugh commented about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb's role in his team's 0-2 start to the season, as well as the media's coverage of McNabb:

Sorry to say this, 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. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team.

On October 1, 2003, Limbaugh resigned from ESPN with the statement:

My comments this past Sunday were directed at the media and were not racially motivated. I offered an opinion. This opinion has caused discomfort to the crew, which I regret. I love Sunday NFL Countdown and do not want to be a distraction to the great work done by all who work on it. Therefore, I have decided to resign. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the show and wish all the best to those who make it happen.

McNabb's performance in the months following the controversial remarks contradicted Limbaugh's opinion. McNabb took his team first to the 2003 NFC Championship Game, and in the next season, on to Super Bowl XXXIX. McNabb's Eagles lost the NFC title to the Carolina Panthers. Fifteen months after Limbaugh's disparagement, McNabb ended the 2004 season by taking the Eagles all the way to the Super Bowl, which they lost to the New England Patriots.

Views

Defining the conservative movement

Limbaugh made the following comments in an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal in 2005:

  • I love being a conservative. We conservatives are proud of our philosophy. Unlike our liberal friends, who are constantly looking for new words to conceal their true beliefs and are in a perpetual state of reinvention, we conservatives are unapologetic about our ideals.
  • We are confident in our principles and energetic about openly advancing them. We believe in individual liberty, limited government, capitalism, the rule of law, faith, a color-blind society and national security.
  • We support school choice, enterprise zones, tax cuts, welfare reform, faith-based initiatives, political speech, homeowner rights and the War on Terrorism.
  • And at our core we embrace and celebrate the most magnificent governing document ever ratified by any nation — the U.S. Constitution. Along with the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes our God-given natural right to be free, it is the foundation on which our government is built and has enabled us to flourish as a people.
  • We conservatives are never stronger than when we are advancing our principles.

Balance and point of view

In his first bestseller, Limbaugh explicitly describes himself as conservative, and is sharply critical of broadcasters in all media for claiming to be objective.

Limbaugh is highly critical of environmentalism and climate science. He has disputed anthropogenic global warming, and the relationship between CFCs and depletion of the ozone layer, claiming the scientific evidence does not support them. Limbaugh has argued against the scientific opinion on climate change by stating that the alleged scientific consensus "is just a bunch of scientists organized around a political proposition. You can't have consensus in science... they think consensus is the way to sell it because, 'Oh, but all these wonderful people agree.' Limbaugh has used the term "environmentalist wacko" as a reference 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 disagrees.

Limbaugh is sharply 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 radical feminists "to whom the most important thing in life is ensuring that as many abortions as possible occur." He credited his friend Tom Hazlett, a professor of law and economics at George Mason University, with coining the term.

Limbaugh has always taken a hard-line stance on illegal immigration.

Limbaugh supports capital punishment, having said "the only thing cruel about the death penalty is last-minute stays."

On the 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. You know, these people are being fired at every day [referring to the U.S. Military service members]. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release?

Entertainment props

Limbaugh utilizes props to introduce his monologues on various topics. On his radio show, news about the homeless has often been preceded with the 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 (in My Beautiful Balloon)." 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, after which he would deny there was ever a caller, explaining that the call had been "aborted". This gag has never been used on his nationally syndicated show. According to his book The Way Things Ought To Be he used it to illustrate "the tragedy of abortion".

Questions about accuracy

Some groups and individuals have questioned Limbaugh's accuracy. The July/August 1994 issue of Extra!, a publication of the progressive group 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. Al Franken, a self-described "liberal infotainer", wrote a satirical book (Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations) in which he questioned Limbaugh's accuracy. Media Matters for America, a self-described "Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media" has also been critical.

Limbaugh has also been criticized for inaccuracies by the Environmental Defense Fund. A defense fund report authored by Princeton University endowed geosciences professor Michael Oppenheimer and Princeton University professor of biology David Wilcove lists 14 significant scientific facts which, 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."

Charitable work

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 claims to have contributed around $250,000 in 2003, 2004 and 2005. NewsMax reported Limbaugh donated $250,000 in 2006, but 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 claimed to pledge $400,000 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society after being challenged by two listeners to increase his initial pledge of $300,000.

Rush 24/7 Adopt-A-Soldier Program

Limbaugh's website maintains a page where American soldiers can register for a free subscription to Limbaugh's online premium service, Rush 24/7, through memberships purchased by donors who buy a subscription (at a reduced price) as a gift.

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/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.

Charity golf tournaments

Limbaugh attends charity golf tournaments from time to time for various causes.

Personal life

Relationships

Limbaugh was first married on September 24, 1977 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 Cape Girardeau, Missouri. In March 1980, McNeely filed for divorce, 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 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. 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 on the air, "Marta has consented to my request for a divorce, and we have mutually agreed to seek an amicable separation. As I said, it's a personal matter and I want to keep it that way. I don't intend to say any more about this on the air." The divorce was finalized in December 2004.

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 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. On November 9, 2005, following two years of investigations, Assistant State Attorney James L. Martz requested the court to set aside Limbaugh's doctor-patient confidentiality rights and allow the state to question his physicians, stating it was necessary because "I have no idea if Mr. Limbaugh has completed the elements of any offense yet. 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 ACLU 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, Limbaugh and his attorney, Roy Black, went to the Palm Beach County Jail to surrender after 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 was released after about an hour on $3,000 bail. After his surrender, he filed a "not guilty" plea to the charge. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charge if Limbaugh paid $30,000 to defray the cost of the investigation and completed an 18-month therapy regimen with his physician.

Limbaugh asserted that the state's settlement agreement resulted from a lack of evidence supporting the charge of "doctor shopping." Under the terms of the agreement, Limbaugh may not own a firearm for eighteen months and must continue to submit to random drug testing, which he acknowledges having undergone since 2003.

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.

In June 2006, Limbaugh was detained by drug enforcement agents at Palm Beach International Airport shortly after cutting the deal on the painkiller charges in April. Customs officials confiscated Viagra from 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 on his radio show, "I had a great time in the Dominican Republic. Wish I could tell you about it.

Deafness

Rush Limbaugh has described himself as being "100%, totally deaf". In 2001, he was diagnosed with a rare Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED), which, in the span of three months, left his right ear completely deaf and left ear severely deaf. On December 19, 2001, doctors at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles were able to successfully restore a measure of his hearing through a surgical procedure known as a cochlear implant surgery. Limbaugh received a Clarion CII Bionic Ear (Maier). In 2005, Limbaugh was forced to undergo "tuning" due to an "eye twitch", an apparent side-effect of cochlear implants.

Cigar aficionado

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 the popular magazine 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.

Awards and recognition

A month after Bill Clinton's defeat of George H.W. Bush in 1992, Ronald Reagan sent Limbaugh, a man he never met, 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.

Limbaugh was the 1992, 1995, 2000 and 2005 recipient of the Marconi Radio Award for Syndicated Radio Personality of the Year (given by the National Association of Broadcasters), joining the syndicated Bob & Tom Show as the only other four-time winners of a Marconi award. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993.

In 2002, Talkers magazine ranked him as the greatest radio talk show host of all time. Limbaugh is the highest-paid syndicated radio host.

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, Human Events announced Limbaugh as their 2007 Man of the Year.

Public perceptions

As of 2005, Limbaugh maintained, and had maintained for many years, the highest rated radio show in the United States, with more than 13.5 million listeners a week. In 2003, he had an audience of nearly 20 million a week. However, public polls have shown that a majority of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Limbaugh, such as a Rasmussen Reports poll illustrating a 2-1 margin of unfavorable ratings, with 62 percent of those surveyed reporting an unfavorable opinion of Limbaugh. In 2007, his favorability rating of 33 percent was slightly above Chris Matthews (26 percent) and slightly below Larry King (35 percent).

Books by Rush Limbaugh

  • The Way Things Ought to Be (1992) Pocket Books ISBN 067175145X
  • See, I Told You So (1993) Pocket Books ISBN 067187120X

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. Limbaugh acknowledges in the text of the first book that he taped the book and it was transcribed and edited by Wall Street Journal writer John Fund. In the second book, Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily is named as his collaborator.

Bibliography

  • Arkush, Michael Rush!. New York: Avon Books, 1993. ISBN 0380775395.
  • Colford, Paul D. (1995). The Rush Limbaugh Story: Talent on Loan from God an Unauthorized Biography. St. Martin's. ISBN 0312952724.
  • Davis, J. Bradford The Rise of Rush Limbaugh Toward the Presidency. Norcross, Ga.:MacArthur Pub. Group, c1994.. ISBN 0964261901.
  • Derych, Jim Confessions of a Former Dittohead. Brooklyn, N.Y. : Ig Pub., c2006.. ISBN 0975251783 (pbk.).
  • Evearitt, Daniel J. (1993). Rush Limbaugh and the Bible. Camp Hill, Pa.: Horizon House Publishers, c1993.. ISBN 0889651043.
  • Al Franken (1996). Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0141018416.
  • Jacobs, Donald Trent The Bum's Rush: The Selling of Environmental Backlash : phrases and fallacies of Rush Limbaugh. Boise, Idaho : Legendary Pub., c1994.. ISBN 096250405X.
  • Keliher, Brian Flush rush. Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed Press, c1994.. ISBN 0898156106.
  • Kelly, Charles M The Great Limbaugh Con: And Other Right-Wing Assaults on Common Sense. Fithian Press, 1994.. ISBN 1564741028.
  • King, D. Howard Rush to Us. Windsor Pub., c1994.. ISBN 0786000821.
  • Layne, Tom The Assassination of Rush Limbaugh. Red Ginger Publishing Co., Inc. ISBN 0976851504.
  • Mahurin, Cecil A Public Rebuttal to Rush Limbaugh. Vantage Press, 1993.. ISBN 0533107660.
  • Perkins, Ray, Jr. (1995). Logic and Mr. Limbaugh: A Dittohead's Guide to Fallacious Reasoning. Open Court Publishing. ISBN 0812692942.
  • Rahman, Michael Why Rush Limbaugh is Wrong, or, The Demise of Traditionalism and The Rise of Progressive Sensibility as Perceived. Mighty Pen Pub., 1995.. LCCN 95077891.
  • Rendall, Steve, Jim Naureckas, Cohen, Jeff (1995). 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. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 1-56584-260-X.
  • Seib, Philip M. (1993). Rush Hour: Talk Radio, Politics, and the Rise of Rush Limbaugh. Summit Group, 1993.. ISBN 1565301005.
  • Tucker, R. K. (1997). The Rules According to Rush : the American people vs. Rush Limbaugh. Bowling Green, Ohio : OptimAmerica ; Chapel Hill, NC : Professional Press, 1997.. ISBN 1570873399.
  • Varon, Charles Rush Limbaugh In Night School. Dramatists Play Service, c1997.. ISBN 0822215349.

See also

References

External links

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