Old Media Helps Obama Push False Rush Limbaugh Immigration Quotes

-By Warner Todd Huston

Yesterday, the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe reported that the Obama campaign was releasing some new Spanish language campaign ads on TV in Florida and other markets that feature Rush Limbaugh making what appears to be anti-Mexican comments. The ads then link Limbaugh to McCain on immigration attempting to smear them both in the minds of voters. The Limbaugh quotes, however, are so out of context that their use constitutes a lie. Unfortunately, too many media outlets are allowing these lies to stand unchallenged.

As O’Keefe reported on September 17, the ads feature quotes from Rush that display a shocking anti-Mexican immigrant feel. Titled “dos caras” — or “two faces” — Rush is quoted as calling Mexicans names and telling them to “shut up and get out.”

“They want us to forget the insults we’ve put up with, the intolerance,” the television ad’s announcer says in Spanish as a picture of Rush Limbaugh appears onscreen with quotes of him saying, “Mexicans are stupid and unqualified” and “Shut your mouth or get out.”

“They made us feel marginalized in a country we love so much,” the ad continues. “John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces. One that says lies just to get our vote and another, even worse, that continues the failed policies of George Bush that put special interests ahead of working families.”

The companion radio ad uses the same script as above and then continues:

“Don’t forget that John McCain abandoned us rather than confront the leaders of the Republican Party. Many of us were born here, and others came to work and achieve a better life for their families — not to commit crimes or drain the system like many of John McCain’s friends claim. Let’s not be fooled by political tricks from John McCain and the Republicans. Vote so they respect us. Vote for a change.”

It turns out that Rush did actually say the words that the ads use against him. But, it also turns out he did not say them about Mexicans! Rush was not telling Mexicans to “get out” nor did he say that Mexican immigrants are “stupid and unqualified.”

O’Keefe, however, does not explain this in his Washington Post story. This lack of context was the same in other papers relating the story. The Chicago Tribune, for instance, didn’t fully report the truth and neither did the Wall Street Journal.

However, both Jonathan Martin of Politico and our friend Jake Tapper of ABC did report the true context of the Limbaugh quotes. And Tapper goes the extra mile with his coverage, as he always does.

On his Wednesday radio program, Limbaugh successfully proved that his words were wildly taken out of context. As to the “shut up and get out” quote, when Limbaugh said this line he was saying it in context of the immigration laws that Mexico has in its own country for foreigners wishing to live in Mexico. Mexico’s immigration laws are very strict and, as Limbaugh said, if you don’t like Mexican laws you can “shut up and get out” as far as Mexican officials are concerned. Limbaugh did not say that Mexicans here in the U.S. should “shut up and get out” if they don’t like our laws and that is the context in which Obama campaign was using this Limbaugh quote.

The second quote, “stupid and unskilled Mexicans,” was also taken out of context by the Obama campaign.

Here I’ll let Tapper explain:

Second, the quotes of Limbaugh’s are out of context.

Railing against NAFTA in 1993, Limbaugh said, “If you are unskilled and uneducated, your job is going south. Skilled workers, educated people are going to do fine ’cause those are the kinds of jobs NAFTA is going to create. If we are going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people, I’m serious, let the unskilled jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do — let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work.”

Not one of his most eloquent moments, to be sure, but his larger point was that NAFTA would mean that unskilled stupid Mexicans would be doing the jobs of unskilled stupid Americans.

I’m not going to defend how he said it, but to act as if this was just a moment of Limbaugh slurring Mexicans is not accurate. Though again, certainly if people were offended I could understand why.

On top of all these misuses of Limbaugh’s words, to link Limbaugh with McCain on immigration is also a lie. Limbaugh was strongly against John McCain’s soft immigration stance in the Senate. So, linking Limbaugh to McCain is simply absurd.

So, this Obama ad is filled with what amounts to lies. Will the rest of the Old Media follow Tapper’s and Martin’s example and expose this scurrilous Obama campaign tactic? It doesn’t look like they will because this story was out all day on the 17th and no one followed up like Tapper and Martin did. Will the rest of the media remain mum allowing this Obama lie to hang out there unaddressed?

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as newsbusters.org, townhall.com, New Media Journal, Men’s News Daily and the New Media Alliance among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of publiusforum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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