Responding to a February 4 CBS Evening News report that documented both his 2003 and 2005 remarks that the media had lauded Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb because he is African American, nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that "I didn't say it last week. I said it back in 2003. But CBS Evening News' Dan Rather tries to make it look like I said this the week before the Super Bowl."
In fact, while Limbaugh's original claim -- which prompted Limbaugh's resignation from a brief stint as a commentator on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown -- that McNabb benefited from "a little social concern" because "the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well" occurred in September 2003, Limbaugh expressed a very similar view on his radio show on January 24, 2005, as Media Matters for America noted. On the latter program -- which occurred two weeks prior to the February 6 Super Bowl, in which McNabb played -- Limbaugh maintained that "when the defense ... was propping the Eagles up," the media "were still giving McNabb credit -- because there's this social hope." In its report, CBS played audio clips of both Limbaugh's 2003 and 2005 remarks about McNabb.
From the February 14 edition of the Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: Did you see what CBS did on the Friday before the Super Bowl? CBS' Dan Rather -- Dan Rather, probably the happiest he's been in nine months or so, did a report on me and Donovan McNabb. And he tried to make it sound like I had made these comments recently. Here's Dan Rather promoing the upcoming piece on me and McNabb and the Super Bowl:
RATHER [clip]: Coming up next on the CBS Evening News: There he goes again -- radio personality Rush Limbaugh sounds off this time about black quarterback and Super Bowl starter Donovan McNabb."
LIMBAUGH: (Laughing) Now, folks, this is a year-old story. It's a year-and-a-half-old story. This is Friday night before the Super Bowl, and Dan Rather wants his audience ... "There he goes again, radio personality sounds off, this time about black quarterback and Super Bowl starter Donovan McNabb."
And let's see. Let's go straight to cut 19. I've got to get it here. Yeah, the reporter here was [CBS News correspondent] Jim Acosta, and he went back. They play my 2003 ESPN comments like it was just yesterday:
ACOSTA [clip]: On Sunday, Donovan McNabb becomes only the third African-American quarterback to start a Super Bowl. But few are paying much attention to this achievement, a signal perhaps the black quarterback is no longer a novelty in the NFL.
LIMBAUGH [clip]: The specific thing about Donovan McNabb --
ACOSTA [clip]: That is, unless you're Rush Limbaugh, who last week said on his talk show said sports reporters give too much credit to McNabb.
LIMBAUGH [2005 clip]: They look the other way when the defense of the Eagles was propping the Eagles up and were still giving McNabb credit -- because there's this social hope --
ACOSTA [clip]: A social hope, Limbaugh said, for black quarterbacks.
LIMBAUGH: [2003 clip] I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL --
LIMBAUGH: I didn't say it last week. I said it back in 2003. But CBS Evening News' Dan Rather tries to make it look like I said this the week before the Super Bowl. Now, is there any wonder CBS is where they are in the evening news race?
I mean, this does not approach the scale of forged documents, but to take what I said a year and a half ago, and I've updated it since then. I have been asked, "Has your opinion of McNabb changed?" I said, "Yeah, he's obviously gotten better." They don't put any of that in their story because they don't know I've said it. They've gone back to my ESPN show appearance -- it was either late September or early October of 2003, almost a year and a half ago -- and made it look like I said this just last week.
Then they had to go get commentary from McNabb, and Stuart Scott works at ESPN, and put that in the report:
ACOSTA [clip]: Virtually the same remark that got him canned by ESPN in 2003. This week McNabb fired one down Limbaugh's throat.
McNABB [clip]: I don't lower myself to -- to anyone else because, you know, the type of person they are.
ACOSTA [clip]: For many the sportscasters covering the Super Bowl Limbaugh's comments are a non-issue. The question is being raised, "Do these statements say more about Donovan McNabb or Rush Limbaugh?" ESPN's Stuart Scott believes football has moved on. Limbaugh hasn't. What's going on there?
SCOTT [clip]: Rush Limbaugh is ignorant. That's what's going on. I mean, this -- this shouldn't have been an issue with Doug Williams [the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl] many, many years ago.
ACOSTA [clip]: Is the African American quarterback no big deal anymore?
LIMBAUGH: Well, who's doing the story on it? CBS News is doing the story on it! It's been a story. It was the story all week leading up to the Super Bowl. Washington Post did a story. All kinds of outfits did stories on the fact.
Even at the Pro Bowl last night, they were making a big deal on all three NFC quarterback starters were black, Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb and -- I'm having a mental block. Who was the other one? Daunte Culpepper.
It's these guys that keep making it a big deal. That was my whole point all along. It's these guys in the media who make it a big deal. They went out and they talked to Doug Williams the week before the Super Bowl about this. They went and talked to professors of black studies.
They misrepresent what I said the week before the Super Bowl. They went back to my 2003 comments, repeated them as though I had made them just last week.