Donald Rumsfeld appeared on The Rush Limbaugh Show to discuss the growing number of retired U.S. military generals calling for his resignation, just a few weeks after Rush Limbaugh called the woman who alleged she was raped by members of Duke's lacrosse team a "ho." Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney have appeared on Limbaugh's show various times in recent years, despite the fact that Limbaugh has consistently used the program as a vehicle for spreading extreme, hateful speech and falsehoods.
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Just weeks after radio host Rush Limbaugh called the woman who alleged she was raped by members of Duke University's lacrosse team a "ho," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld appeared on the April 17 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show to discuss the growing number of retired U.S. military generals who are calling for his resignation over his handling of the situation in Iraq.
During the interview, Rumsfeld told Limbaugh that calls for his resignation "would pass," and that "the sharper the criticism comes, sometimes the sharper the defense comes from people who don't agree with the critics." The interview marked at least the third appearance by Rumsfeld, who was also on the show on May 16, 2002, and December 16, 2005. Vice President Dick Cheney and President Bush have also appeared on Limbaugh's show, Cheney several times in recent years, despite Limbaugh's consistent use of his program as a vehicle for spreading extreme, hateful speech and falsehoods, as Media Matters for America has documented.
Limbaugh's interviews with Bush administration officials are also re-broadcast by other outlets. ABC's World News Tonight, for example, aired portions of Rumsfeld's April 17 interview on that night's broadcast -- without noting the controversial comments Limbaugh is known for. In addition, government websites routinely post transcripts of Limbaugh's radio interviews, further legitimizing his broadcast for visitors to the White House's and Defense Department's websites.
Recent Limbaugh comments that Media Matters has documented include the following:
- On March 31, Limbaugh called alleged Duke rape victim a "ho."
- On March 3, in assessing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) presidential chances, Limbaugh stated that she "sounds like a screeching ex-wife."
- On March 23, Limbaugh blasted three members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, who were rescued in Iraq in a British-led military operation, stating that "these self-absorbed, self-inflated, self-important people have made this all about them." When the activists' kidnapping was first reported, Limbaugh had said: "I like any time a bunch of leftist feel-good hand-wringers are shown reality. ... I'm telling you, folks, there's a part of me that likes this."
In addition, Limbaugh has made a series of controversial comments about the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, frequently downplaying it as "hazing" and "an out-of-control fraternity prank."
Limbaugh has also consistently smeared Democrats and others with whom he disagrees politically:
- On July 11, 2005, Limbaugh repeatedly called Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) "Obama Osama" and "Osama Obama." In criticizing a July 10 speech by Obama in Eatonville, Florida, Limbaugh added "Osama" to the senator's name seven times. Limbaugh justified his use of the phrase by explaining that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) had once done so (mistakenly).
- On September 26, 2005, Limbaugh attacked the motivations of Cindy Sheehan in engaging in anti-war activities, stating that she is being "inculcated" and "manipulated." Limbaugh added that Sheehan "doesn't have the sense to come in out of the rain" and "doesn't have the IQ of a pencil eraser."
- During his November 21, 2005, broadcast, Limbaugh asserted that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) -- who had called for the immediate redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq -- was "just the useful idiot of the moment."
From the April 17 broadcast of ABC's World News Tonight:
ELIZABETH VARGAS (host): The Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld responded today to the unprecedented chorus of retired generals publicly calling for his resignation. The generals, at least six so far, are sharply critical of how Rumsfeld's handled the war in Iraq. Rumsfeld spoke out on Rush Limbaugh's radio program.
LIMBAUGH: What does it feel like to you to go through these ups and downs and to have practically the entire media jump on the case of these six generals demanding your ouster?
RUMSFELD: Well, you know, this too will pass. I think about it, and I must say, there's always two sides to these things, and the sharper the criticism comes, sometimes the sharper the defense comes from people who don't agree with the critics.