CNN's Rick Sanchez Features Dubious Limbaugh Slavery Quote

Limbaugh quote graphic from 12 October 2009 edition of CNN's Newsroom | Newsbusters.orgCNN anchor Rick Sanchez read a disputed racist quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh about antebellum slavery on Monday’s Newsroom: “Limbaugh’s perceived racist diatribes are too many to name. Here’s a sample- he once declared that ‘slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back. I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.’”

Before discussing the Limbaugh controversy with his guest, former NFL player Eugene “Mercury” Morris, the CNN anchor raised the 2003 scandal involving talk show host’s comments about quarterback Donovan McNabb, reading the statement which got Limbaugh in trouble and leading to his resignation from his job as an ESPN sports commentator. After reading the alleged slavery quote, the CNN anchor read another racially-charged quote from Limbaugh: “In President Obama’s America, white children get beaten up on school buses by blacks.”

This is an actual quote from Limbaugh, which he made on his talk show on September 15, 2009. But, as in the case of the McNabb controversy, he was attacking the mainstream media. Here’s the full context:

“Hey, look, folks, the white kid on that bus in Belleville, Illinois, he deserved to be beat up.  You don’t know about this story?  Oh, there’s video of this.  The school bus filled with mostly black students beat up a white student a couple of times with all the black students cheering.  Of course the white student on the bus deserved the beating.  He was born a racist.  That’s what Newsweek magazine told us in its most recent cover.  It’s Obama’s America, is it not?  Obama’s America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now.  You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering...and, of course, everybody says the white kid deserved it, he was born a racist, he’s white.  Newsweek magazine told us this.  We know that white students are destroying civility on buses, white students destroying civility in classrooms all over America, white congressmen destroying civility in the House of Representatives.”

It’s not surprising that Limbaugh has been taken out of context yet again by the mainstream media.

Rick Sanchez, CNN Anchor | NewsBusters.orgLater in the segment, which began 18 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour, Sanchez brought up another apparent quote by Limbaugh with Morris: “Let me tell you how Rush describes the NFL- this is interesting....he says, ‘The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons’...would you feel comfortable playing for a man who describes you or your ilk that way?”

Morris, an African-American himself, didn’t react in the way that the CNN anchor expected:

MORRIS: (Laughs) Well, you know what, Rick? The answer to that is- is that, when you look at what he said and how he said it, it actually makes some relevant sense. He’s just saying it in a smart way. Let me say it to you in an educated way.

SANCHEZ: Okay.

MORRIS: In 1965, I graduated from high school. The top three problems in the country were running in the hallway, talking in class, and being late. Now- 1985, the top three problems were teen violence, teen pregnancy- teen drug use- 2005, it’s still the same. So a whole generation of young people have grown up under the stigma of the Crips and the Bloods, and these some- some of these people are playing in the NFL now. So you can’t take away from that gene pool that they have to choose from, because it’s what society has to offer them. And running in the hallway, talking in class and being late did not produce teen violence, teen pregnancy and teen drug use. The people that they draft now pretty much fit that kind of concept of where they’re coming from. Now, how they act when they get there- it’s another thing, but you can see the change in the people that have been drafted because that's the choice they have in society- that includes doctors, lawyers and anything else.

SANCHEZ: ‘The Merc,’ doing his best Bill Cosby impersonation. (Sanchez and Morris both laugh)- interesting- in defense of Rush Limbaugh! This will get picked up- I guarantee you.

MORRIS: Hey, I want him on there, because I want him to see what it’s like. You know, you can drive a NASCAR and say- I like to get out there. But you put your butt in that seat and get out there with everybody else, then you get to see what it's really like- what you're talking about what you really want to do.

SANCHEZ: Exactly.

MORRIS: I don’t think he’s not going to really understand that he’s walking into a bee’s nest here with these young brothers who think racism is when you don’t get to go into the NBA when you’re 18- you have to wait until your 20. That’s not racism. Racism comes from where I came [from] and grew up in the 1960s, like Limbaugh did. But it’s a different set of circumstances out there, and I would love to see him jump in the middle of it. The Washington Redskins was a segregated team until 1962.
Mr. Morris might be on to something about the decadence in the youth today, specifically those who aspire to be professional athletes and currently play in pro-sports.

Earlier on Monday, MSNBC featured a rant from David Zirin, who paraphrased the disputed slavery quote attributed to Limbaugh: “[Players] don’t want an owner who has said slavery was a good thing because it made the streets safer.”
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center