On the August 24 broadcast of the nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh Show, guest host Mark Steyn sought to "explain" his use of the word "gooks" in reference to the Vietnam War, a statement he had made on the program roughly 45 minutes earlier, as Media Matters for America documented. Steyn stated that he had used the term "in a period context," but "the trouble is, if you're a writer like me," when using terms like "gooks" in a column, "you put these words in quote marks, and when you're on the air, you forget that sometimes people don't see the quote marks." Steyn added that "I should say that I was using that word with period quote marks around it," and that "if anyone was offended, I apologize, and I will try to offend you in a more contemporary sense in, in the next, in the course of the next hour."
As Media Matters noted, earlier in the broadcast, Steyn had contrasted the threat posed by "jihadists" today to that of "the gooks in Vietnam" during the Vietnam War, stating: "[B]asically, if you want to find an exit strategy for Iraq, then pretty soon, you're going to ... have to be finding an exit strategy for a lot of other places because those jihadists, they're not like the gooks in Vietnam. They're not just going to be content to take over Vietnam. If America pulls out of Iraq, they're going to follow us wherever we go."
From the August 24 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
STEYN: This is Mark Steyn sitting for Rush, trying in vain to be proportionate in a, in a difficult world. Mark Steyn here till -- for the rest of this hour -- and then Walter Williams will be in tomorrow, and everyone loves Walter when he's filling in for Rush.
I wanted to talk about -- first of all, I wanted to say something. I said -- I used a word in a, in a period context. And you know the way it is these days. You always have to go back and explain these things.
I dusted off a word from the Vietnam era, and I referred to "the gooks." And the trouble is, if you're a writer like, like me and you write for the Chicago -- I write for the Chicago Sun-Times and National Review and all kinds of things. And when you're typing you, you put these words in quote marks, and when you're on the air, you forget that sometimes people don't see the quote marks.
I should say that I was using that word with period quote marks around it. It's, it's -- and, basically, these days, unless you're [Sen.] John McCain [R-AZ] and you have that special media immunity, then it's hard to get away with saying those words.
But I had, I had, -- I was writing about the second World War once, and I used the term "Japs." And, again, the, the newspaper that that piece appeared in received all these complaints and everything. And I was -- I thought I was using it in, in a kind of archaic, anachronistic context, but you can't, you can't be too careful these days.
So if anyone was offended, I apologize, and I will try to offend you in a more contemporary sense in the, in the next, in the course of the next hour.