A week after asserting that "[i]t would be a shame" if Katie Couric were "hit by one of these buses" in New York City advertising her CBS Evening News debut, Rush Limbaugh stated that he had taped a "Free Speech" segment for Couric's show, set to air two days after she debuts as CBS Evening News anchor.
A week after asserting that "[i]t would be a shame" if incoming CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric were "hit by one of these buses" in New York City bearing advertisements for Couric's CBS debut, Rush Limbaugh stated, on the September 5 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, that he had taped a "Free Speech" segment for Couric's show scheduled to air on September 7, two days after Couric debuts as CBS Evening News anchor.
On the September 5 show, Limbaugh said that people had sent him emails calling him a "sellout" in response to a rumor circulated by Internet gossip Matt Drudge that Limbaugh will "help launch" Couric on CBS. Limbaugh responded that Couric had asked him to appear on the CBS Evening News and had agreed to his conditions for appearing on the show:
LIMBAUGH: Katie asked me if I would consider appearing on the first week. And I said, "Yeah, but my experience with these kind of things, Katie, leads me to ask you for certain promises, conditions. And I got those promises and conditions. They were met. So, last Thursday, we taped it in the EIB building in Manhattan after the radio show. And it wasn't until, I guess, Saturday that I found out it actually is going to run on Thursday.
Limbaugh asserted that he agreed to do a segment because "the drive-by media offer[e]d 90 seconds of a 22-minute program, an opportunity for me to express our views, my views without debate, without somebody coming on afterwards to refute it." Limbaugh concluded that the segment he taped "is our views, and they're pretty hard-hitting, and they're going to be on the CBS Evening News."
From the September 5 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: All right, ladies and gentlemen, let me -- let me deal with a rumor that circulated over the Internet. It hit the Drudge Report, I forget, I guess, this sometime Saturday or Sunday -- the rumor being that I am helping to launch -- excuse me -- or welcome Katie Couric to the CBS Evening News tonight or this week. The reporting on this was somewhat confusing and sketchy based on how you read it.
I had people emailing me all weekend long who were taking different things out of -- it's amazing to study this. This is just a little aside, but it was an amazing thing to study the way people read things. Drudge was pretty clear about what this rumor was, but I had people saying, "So, I see you're going to welcome Katie tomorrow night with [retired CBS Evening News anchor Walter] Cronkite" -- meaning tonight. "Oh, don't! What do you mean? You're going to do an interview with Katie? Why would you help Katie? What are you doing an interview for?"
And then -- and then, there was all kinds of different takes: many of you accusing me of being a sellout; a phony -- going over to the dark side -- what have you. And I sat there and I smiled in stunned amazement at this. I've been here 18 years, and I even -- I even got emails from friends. One friend sent me a note, nothing but question marks in the subject line, and I just wrote back: Do you think I'm an idiot? Do you think I'm a fool? Eighteen years, I have been sitting here in the prestigious and distinguished Attila the Hun chair and yet, there are those isolated moments in time where all of you or some of you think I'm going to be the biggest blithering idiot that you've ever encountered.
Early in August, I was approached by Miss Couric herself and she told me of a segment that they were going to do in their new newscast called "Free Speech" or "Freedom of Speech" -- "Free Speech," I think it is. And every night, there will be a commentator that will get between a minute and fifteen to a minute and thirty depending on how competent and good they are. I got the full minute-thirty. And on Friday, they're going to do comedians, and they're going to do this every night. And some nights, it's -- it's going to be a Wal-Mart shopper; some nights, it'll be a professional academic; some nights, it'll be a pundit. It'll be full of people that you know or you don't know, it's -- they hope they're going to run the gamut with -- with this.
And Katie asked me if I would consider appearing on the first week. And I said, "Yeah, but my experience with these kind of things, Katie, leads me to ask you for certain promises, conditions. And I got those promises and conditions. They were met.
So, last Thursday, we taped it in the EIB building in Manhattan after the radio show. And it wasn't until, I guess, Saturday that I found out it actually is going to run on Thursday. That's the plan now and so, the -- I don't know who's doing tonight. I don't know who's doing tomorrow night. I've heard that Clinton's done one -- that McCain's going to do one -- Giuliani -- I don't know about anybody else. I have no clue who else is doing this, other than -- and I don't know anymore than you do. All I know is that I did mine and it will air sometime in the newscast on Thursday. And a lot of you, I think, are a little shortsighted on this.
And I responded to some of the emails over the weekend questioning my loyalty to the movement, questioning my sanity, questioning my brains. When the drive-by media offers 90 seconds of a 22-minute program, an opportunity for me to express our views, my views without debate, without somebody coming on afterwards to refute it with -- and that's part of the feature by the way. They have -- they've assured me and everybody they've talked to that if you do your piece on X night, the next night is not going to be somebody responding or replying, although I have heard [actor/director] George Clooney has already asked for equal time, regarding -- to respond to me. I'm told that's not going to happen. And certainly is not going to happen the next night. I didn't mention any names in my piece. I'm not going to tell you what it's about, because I don't want to give anything of it away. But just believe me on this, folks, it is our views, and they're pretty hard-hitting, and they're going to be on the CBS Evening News, and they haven't appeared, these kinds of views haven't appeared much on the CBS Evening News or the ABC World News Tonight or the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
From the August 29 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: All right, look. You know, I've seen these things, too. And I have to tell you something. I -- I'm -- go a little bit in a different direction here first, before addressing directly what you say. I'm in New York. I am here in the Big Apple.
You cannot miss Katie Couric's face on a bus. I think they've bought -- I think -- really -- I think they've bought every bus in Manhattan. It would be a shame if Katie got hit by one of these buses when she's walkin' around town.
They're really publicizing this. They are creating all kinds of expectations. They are -- I've never seen anything like this. If I -- I don't -- if I were Katie, I would have said to 'em, "Can we just get started, like three weeks ago? This buildup; this buildup; this buildup. We're creating expectations here that are going to be pretty difficult."
Now, as to -- as to what your point is that they're showing perspectives, different perspectives on the news, I do know they're going to have a commentary in every newscast. They're calling it "Free Speech."
They're getting people from all over the country giving them their opinions about things. She could be talking about that. From what I've read, they're going to have, you know, scholars, comedians, average people that they pluck from mainstream U.S.A. to do these.
But it's tough. News is news and then, they're -- they're tryin' to promote it and they're -- and they're obviously tryin' to put a new -- a new face on it, but it is what it is and it's, you know, it's a 22-minute program -- a 22-minute newscast.
And I -- I think in the -- in the image creation here of what CBS is trying to do with this newscast, they're simply trying to establish that they're going to go about this differently than the other two.
And, you know what? I don't -- I don't care how, really. From a standpoint of being a broadcaster -- if they succeed in doing it differently -- than the other two networks do it, then it may work. At least in terms of differentiating CBS from the other people.