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For Release: October 2, 2003
Most Attacks on Rush Limbaugh are Hypocritical, Opportunistic and Silly, Says Conservative Group ESPN Especially Hypocritical in Accepting Limbaugh's Resignation While Its Website Raises the Same Issue Limbaugh Did
"Most of those who are excoriating Rush Limbaugh for saying what he believes about media coverage of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb are hypocritical grandstanders or opportunists," says Amy Ridenour, president of The National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative group.
Ridenour cited several examples:
"An ESPN spokesman said ESPN didn't think Limbaugh's comments were racially biased, yet ESPN released a statement saying Limbaugh's comments were 'insensitive and inappropriate' and George Bodenheimer, the president of ESPN Sports, says Limbaugh's subsequent resignation from ESPN was 'the appropriate action to resolve this matter expeditiously.' Yet ESPN has posted on its website a poll asking visitors if McNabb has been overrated because of his race. Why is it inappropriate for Limbaugh to discuss media coverage of McNabb but not inappropriate when ESPN does it?"
Ridenour cited other instances of hypocrisy, such as the Washington Post's Leonard Shapiro using the beginning of an October 1 column to approvingly discuss the importance of having more black coaches in the NFL and then editorializing against Limbaugh for noting that the news media wants blacks to succeed in football. Said Ridenour: "Shapiro's article reads almost like a parody."
"Several sports reporters went out of their way to attack millions of conservatives in columns ostensibly complaining that Limbaugh had injected politics into sports. NBCSports.com's Mike Celizic complained that Limbaugh's 'fun isn't in the game. It's in inflicting his political agenda on a gullible public willing to subcontract their thinking to him. Part of that agenda is based on the basest xenophobic instincts of the human species. It's about 'them' and 'us,' and the bad guys just happen to be foreigners and minorities.'"
"Compared to Celizic's comments about conservatives," Ridenour said, "Limbaugh's comments were almost non-political, and certainly less intentionally offensive."
Ridenour also cited Milo Bryant of the Colorado Springs Gazette, who complained "it's not fine... when Limbaugh brings up characteristics that fail to be germane to the discussion" and then irrelevantly attacked the intelligence of Limbaugh listeners, saying "dittoheads may be blinded by Limbaugh's simple-minded comments."
"Even Donovan McNabb's response to this matter has been silly," said Ridenour. "He told a reporter that he hoped Limbaugh's comments wouldn't discourage young blacks from wanting to play quarterback. How could any young man intimidated by a press corps that wishes him well -- which is, after all, what Limbaugh said -- possibly succeed in a job that forces him to face a defensive line?"
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