Following Limbaugh, conservative media push baseless charge that Obama administration helped kill his Rams bid
Research ››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN & MORGAN WEILAND
Following Rush Limbaugh's failed bid to purchase the St. Louis Rams football team, the right-wing media have echoed Limbaugh's baseless claim that the Obama administration was involved in torpedoing his NFL ambitions. Limbaugh has claimed that the Obama administration "corrupted" the NFL bidding process because the head of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, once served as counsel for Attorney General Eric Holder.
Limbaugh's conspiracy theory: Obama "corrupted" NFL new-owner bidding process
Limbaugh: "Obama people have got their hooks in the NFL now." Limbaugh claimed that "[t]he NFL is as politicized as anything else is in this country, and for lack of a better word, when DeMaurice Smith, and Al Sharpton, and Rev. Jackson can pressure the commissioner into saying who can and cannot even apply and go through the vetting process, then they've got their own slippery slope and they're admitting that politics is here. And DeMaurice Smith is an Obama-ite. The transition team. A big donor. Close buddy of Eric Holder. So Obama, the Obama people have got their hooks in the NFL now." [Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/16/09]
Limbaugh: Obama "corrupted" November elections, Nobel Peace Prize, NFL bidding process. Limbaugh declared that in "each of these instances, Obama's success begins and ends with corrupting the voting process. And not just the November elections. I'll mention me first, the process where bids are taken for NFL owners to vote on new owners. The vote process has been totally corrupted." [Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/16/09]
Smith served as counsel for Holder in the 90s. According to his NFL Players Association biography, Smith previously "served as Counsel to then Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder in the U.S. Department of Justice before entering private practice. His duties revolved around national security issues, congressional relations, and DOJ budget and finance allocation. He was also responsible for the development of business and strategic plans for prison construction, as well as budget development and component management of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshals Service." A July 14 Associated Press article reported that Smith "served on the Obama transition team and also worked for Eric Holder before Holder became attorney general."
Right-wing media run with Limbaugh conspiracy theory
American Thinker: "Limbaugh Targeted by Obama Official." A October 16 blog post by Joseph Ashby detailed the conspiracy theory, stating, "we know that a former Obama official and political ally -- who was chosen by the NFLPA specifically for his political clout and connections to the highest rungs of power in government -- directly attacked Limbaugh for the radio-talker's political commentary." Ashby added: "Historically politicians have been prone to vindictive and petty behavior, but never in American history has someone had so much power to pummel his political opponents as President Obama. With control over banks, insurance companies, car companies, media (sports media included) and unions (like the NFL players union), Obama tentacles seem to penetrate into nearly every corner of the nation."
Instapundit flogs reader claim that this is "something Nixon" would "have done." Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds highlighted the American Thinker post and added a reader response which read in part, "[T]his is a big, big deal, and something Nixon ( or maybe Gene Talmadge or George Wallace in his heyday.) would have done."
On Fox News, Juan Williams suggested Obama administration was "involved in this." NPR's Juan Williams said while guest-hosting for Bill O'Reilly on the October 16 O'Reilly Factor, "Now everybody knows that Rush is a huge critic of the Obama administration. But here is something that you probably did not know. Smith worked on President Obama's transition team. And he also used to work with Attorney General Eric Holder. Did you know that?" He later added: "What we've seen here is so much information coming out about how the Obama administration and their friends were all involved with this."
Fox Nation links to Limbaugh claim. After Limbaugh floated his conspiracy theory, Fox Nation linked to a video of Limbaugh's October 16 comments initially under the headline, "Did a Former Obama Official Kill Limbaugh's NFL bid?" From Fox Nation: