Limbaugh still defending his Michael J. Fox attacks; MSNBC's Slager falsely asserted Fox "has not said whether or not" he took medication before making ads

››› ››› ANDREW IRONSIDE & ROB DIETZ

Rush Limbaugh defended his criticism of Michael J. Fox, claiming: "Daffy Duck could have done a commercial for Claire McCaskill, saying the same things that Fox did, misleading about stem cell research ... and my reaction would've been the same." MSNBC's Melissa Slager said that Fox "has not said whether or not he took" his Parkinson's medication during the shooting of his political ads, even though The New York Times reported that a Fox spokesman "said his tremors were caused by his medication."

On the October 25 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, while responding to criticism of statements he made about actor Michael J. Fox's appearance in a campaign ad for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill, Rush Limbaugh claimed: "Daffy Duck could have done a commercial for Claire McCaskill, saying the same things that Fox did, misleading about stem cell research ... and my reaction would've been the same." As Media Matters for America noted, Limbaugh declared on October 23 that because Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, was "moving all around and shaking" in the ad, his physical appearance was "purely an act." Limbaugh then added that Fox "[e]ither didn't take his medication or he's acting," and has since refused to apologize for suggesting that Fox was "acting" in the ad.

Also on the October 25 broadcast, Limbaugh claimed that the media's response to his remarks has been that of "a hysterical mother who is afraid her little boy won't be able to defend himself after he picked a fight." Limbaugh also again claimed of Fox's appearance in the McCaskill ad: "This is a strategy, it is a tactic that the Democrats have used as long as I've been observing politics and, I'm sorry, the days are over where I follow the script." He concluded: "I stand by what I said. I take back none of what I said. I wouldn't rephrase it any differently. It is what I believe. It is what I think. It is what I have found to be true."

On the October 25 edition of MSNBC News Live, host Melissa Slager aired Limbaugh's non-apology and added that "Michael J. Fox has, in the past, admitted to not taking his medication before certain appearances, but he has not said whether or not he took it during the shooting of these political ads." However, according to an October 25 New York Times article, "[a] spokesman for Mr. Fox said his tremors were caused by his medication." Slager made her comment just moments after she aired Limbaugh's similar statement that "I'm just suggesting that if he's done it once, done it twice, could he have done it in the McCaskill ad?" Slager did not address Limbaugh's initial assertion that Fox's appearance in the ad was "purely an act."

From the October 25 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: This is not about Parkinson's disease to me, and this not about Michael J. Fox and it never was and, to me, it is not personal and never has been. I don't know him. I've no -- I've never met him. I know of him only through his career as an actor and a political activist.

I think when anyone climbs into the arena of ideas -- the political arena of ideas -- particularly during a heated campaign, they do not get the special privilege of being the only fighter allowed to throw a punch. There are not special people among us who get to enter the political arena of ideas and say whatever they want; they can mislead, they can misquote, they can misrepresent, they can even lie; and yet we're supposed to, if they are victims of something, stand back, be compassionate, be tolerant and understand and not respond.

Sorry, I don't follow the script. Daffy Duck could have done a commercial for Claire McCaskill, saying the same things that Fox did, misleading about stem cell research and Jim Talent, or in Maryland with Ben Cardin and Michael Steele, and my reaction would've been the same; I would have reacted and responded to Daffy Duck. Now, the idea that certain people, because of their victim status, are allowed to enter the fray with impunity is something I am not going to subscribe to.

This is a strategy, it is a tactic that the Democrats have used for as long as I've been observing politics and, I'm sorry, the days are over where I follow the script. It may sound cold-hearted or mean-spirited but, ladies and gentlemen, I have my ideas, and I have my principles, and I think they're right, and I think they should prevail. And when people -- who are running for office, represent the things I believe in -- are lied about or are misrepresented, you can rest assured I am going to defend those principles and ideas and the people who stand for them and represent them. I am not going to be fooled -- fooled or lulled into standing aside; I'm not going to be intimidated under the pretext that some people have a protected, ensured right to say whatever they want simply because they are unfortunate, they are victims or what have you.

The drive-by media today, in most instances, is acting like a hysterical mother who is afraid her little boy won't be able to defend himself after he picked a fight and so they are attacking me and others for being insensitive, cold-hearted, cruel, mocking, what have you.

I don't know whether Michael Fox assumed that he would step into the arena of ideas and have impunity, whether anybody would be prone to respond to what he said. But I stand by what I said. I take back none of what I said. I wouldn't rephrase it any differently. It is what I believe. It is what I think. It is what I have found to be true.

From the October 25 edition of MSNBC News Live:

SLAGER: There's a major controversy swirling over several campaign ads just 13 days before the election. One between actor and activist Michael J. Fox and conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. When Fox shot ads for some Democratic candidates, the effects of his Parkinson's disease were clearly visible. Limbaugh said Fox was either off his medication or acting. Limbaugh has gotten a lot of backlash for it, being called cold and insensitive. But about two hours ago, on his show, Limbaugh says he's not sorry for what he said, and he explained why.

LIMBAUGH [video clip]: I have the opportunity to set the record straight where the drive-by media is being entirely incorrect and wrong on purpose, and knowingly in my case. They're saying that I said Michael J. Fox was acting. Some of them got it right and said I said he's either acting or off his medications. I said he was off his medications, or speculated, because he's admitted that he does that in order to show the ravages of the disease -- which I said, by they way. It's not a bad thing to do when you're trying to raise consciousness about it. I was not even critical of it. I'm just suggesting that if he's done it once, done it twice, could he have done it again in the McCaskill ad? Speculated.

SLAGER: This is, of course, in regard to stem cell research, with -- which Michael J. Fox is in favor of. Michael J. Fox has, in the past, admitted to not taking his medication before certain appearances, but he has not said whether or not he took it during the shooting of these political ads.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Stem Cell Research
Network/Outlet
MSNBC, Premiere Radio Networks
Person
Rush Limbaugh
Show/Publication
The Rush Limbaugh Show, MSNBC Live
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine, 2006 Elections
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