According to Joe Williams, the senior White House reporter for Politico, Rush Limbaugh is like the "serial murderer" who was caught with "three bodies in the trunk." The veteran journalist made the outrageous comparison on Tuesday's Martin Bashir show, a program that included other liberal smears against the conservative radio host.
Before making his offensive connection, Williams highlighted his background covering the police. Regarding Limbaugh's comments about Sandra Fluke, the journalist linked: "... [Law enforcement] always would catch the serial murderer because he was driving around with a busted taillight, not because he had, like, three bodies in the trunk." He added, "I mean they would always have some incident to really capture him on and this was Rush Limbaugh's." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
MSNBC anchor Bashir could barely contain his contempt for the "offensive," "inflammatory Limbaugh. He teased the segment, trashing, "Rush Limbaugh as offensive as ever as still more advertisers flee." He later added, "Next, Rush Limbaugh is on the ropes. Stay with us."
Bashir, who makes no pretense of objectivity, began the segment this way: "Rabid radio host Rush Limbaugh is facing new uproar over his inflammatory remarks against Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke."
In addition to Williams, Bashir's other guests were the liberal David Corn and Democratic strategist Krystal Ball.
Asked about sponsors who were pulling out of Limbaugh's show, Corn piously insisted, "A bout of classiness has struck advertisers."
A transcript of the March 13 segment can be found below:
BASHIR: Plus, Rush Limbaugh as offensive as ever as still more advertisers flee.
MARTIN BASHIR: Next, Rush Limbaugh is on the ropes. Stay with us.
BASHIR: Rabid radio host Rush Limbaugh is facing new uproar over his inflammatory remarks against Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke. Limbaugh's distributor, Premiere Radio Networks alerted its affiliates to pull national ads from Limbaugh's broadcasts, even as this afternoon as Limbaugh returned to the air waves to champion women's concerns.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: The women of America want jobs and an expanding economy. They're not obsessed with birth control pills being passed out on campus or whatever anybody wants them. The regime calculated that they could create this mythical Republican war on women and look where they are.
MARTIN BASHIR: Our panel is back with us by popular demand. David Corn, Joe Williams and Krystal Ball. Krystal what do you make of Limbaugh's latest remarks? He's apparently now become the voice of defense for women. He’s defending them.
KRYSTAL BALL: Mitt Romney saying y'all and eating grits and Rush Limbaugh is the defender of women. Something has gone seriously wrong today. I mean, the idea that it's Democrats that are pushing this narrative on women is ridiculous. Let me just tell you that in 2011, across the country in 50 states across the country, there were 1100 women's health bills pushed by Republican legislators across the country. 1100. Okay, these were all legislators who were elected because they said jobs and economy and deficit and jobs. And when they got in there-
BASHIR: They focused on the uterus. Absolutely.
BALL: The agenda was totally, totally different. And that's why women are so upset.
BASHIR: Yeah. David, Rush suggests that the war on women is a myth, as Krystal says, perpetrated by Democrats. If that's the case, why are his advertisers fleeing and running away from his broadcast?
DAVID CORN: A bout of classiness has struck advertisers. And it's not just his show. You know, there was this memo that came out saying that about 100 advertisers, very big brand name chain stores and restaurants have told Premiere radio which puts out his show but also Glenn Beck and Hannity and Michael Savage, saying they don't want to be associated anymore with controversial and mean-spirited- I think that's the keyword here- mean-spirited radio talk show hosts. So this could be, you know, Rush Limbaugh could be bringing down a big part of the right wing, which is talk show radio hosts across the board. I think, ultimately, this will level out and he's going to keep his show and they will keep their shows. But it's been, I think, a tremendous blow. And it was really-.after all the terrible things he's said over the years, I'm still surprised this is the straw that broke the camel's back. But that camel was getting pretty knobbly at the knees and finally it seems to be collapsing this very week.
BASHIR: Sure. Very quickly, Krystal, you’ve got some new figures on the actual number, because we have 140 advertisers having requested that their ads be pulled. You say it's more than that.
BALL: The number that we have is 156 at StopRush, that have said we don't- they either pulled their ads or said we don't want to be on during this program. You know, it's hard actually to keep track because so many have issued statements. And then you have another number who have quietly pulled their ads without putting out any sort of statement and calling attention to themselves. But, of course, the big news we got last night too is that premier, which syndicates Limbaugh’s show has decided to pull all national ads for the next two weeks. That is how they get their revenue. So they’re saying for two weeks we're basically not taking in revenue because we need a cooling off period. We don't have enough in the inventory to continue placing national ads at local affiliates.
BASHIR: Wow. Now Joe, why would they ask for this two-week period? Does this mean do you think, that people are now seriously considering their long-term commitment to Rush Limbaugh?
JOE WILLIAMS: Well they have to. They don't really have a choice. We had, here, a campaign that went viral almost immediately. And to me, I mean to speak to David’s point. It reminds me of how, when I used to cover police, they always would catch the serial murderer because he was driving around with a busted taillight, not because he had, like, three bodies in the trunk. I mean they would always have some incident to really capture him on and this was Rush Limbaugh's. Basically, he went over the line and advertisers don't like that kind of negative publicity particularly when it goes viral on the internet and when there are boycotting campaigns that start. It's not always about what he says. It's about whether or not there's enough outrage to hit those kind of broadcasters and their advertisers right where it hurts which is in the wallet.
BASHIR: Right. I have to give credit to you for championing this. And we’re now hearing from other activists are calling on the FCC to actually take him off the air. Do you think that's possible?
BALL: I don't know if it's possible. I don't know the ins and outs of that. What I would say is that what we've been doing by just calling on the sponsors of the programming, has been so successful that I think we should really try to use the free market approach, which is what we're doing and see if we can get a success that way, first.