February 1, 2009

Anatomy of An Urban Legend

Everyone knows that Rush Limbaugh is a hateful bigot who stooped so low that he called a 13 year old Chelsea Clinton the White House Dog, right? People don't make cartoons like those above unless the thing happened in the first place, do they? Just google Chelsea Rush Dog and you'll find umpteen links, all telling the same story:

In 1993, when Chelsea was still in braces, Rush Limbaugh took this shot: "Everyone knows the Clintons have a cat," said Limbaugh. "Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is also a White House dog?" And he held up a picture of Chelsea.

This has become the CANON.

Even "fair.org" repeats the same exact lie, as told by Molly Ivins. Fair my ass.

Now please note the nature of the story as it has been reported for many years now - as early as 1993 the report was that he had "called her The White House Dog", but it's very hard to tell when the bit about Socks and his holding up the pictures was added. The whole thing went basically like a game of Telephone, with bits being distorted and made more juicy (and flat-out changing into falsehoods) as time went by, until the actual incident bore no resemblance to the tall tale that has come to be accepted by a public willingly duped. There are people who swear they SAW IT HAPPEN - I'm one of them. But because I saw it happen I know what actually happened, and it wasn't this. So what really did happen? Let's have a look at the transcript.

Copyright 1992 Multimedia Entertainment, Inc. RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW: RUSH LIMBAUGH (9:00 PM ET) November 6, 1992, Friday 11:15 AM LIMBAUGH: Thank you. This show's era of dominant influence is just beginning. We are now the sole voice of sanity, the sole voice of reason. We are the sole voice of opposition on all television. This is the only place you can tune to to get the truth of the opposition of the one-party dictatorial government that now will soon run America. Oh, I mean, we are only beginning to enjoy dominance and prosperity. Most of these things on the in-out list are not even funny, but a couple of them--one of them in particular is. David Hinckley of--of the New York Daily News wrote this, and what he has--he's got--it's very strange. He says, In: A cute kid in the White House. Out: Cute dog in the White House.' Could--could we see the cute kid? Let's take a look at--see who is the cute kid in the White House. (A picture is shown of Millie the dog) LIMBAUGH: (Voiceover) No, no, no. That's not the kid. (Picture shown of Chelsea Clinton) LIMBAUGH: (Voiceover) That's--that's the kid. We're trying to...

The person responsible for the picture mixup was fired. Even so, the worst you can accuse Limbaugh of based on THE FACTS is that he called Millie a "cute kid", since he never said the word "dog" when Chelsea Clinton was on screen.

Important facts include that the fictions that developed later, about him "holding up" a picture of "Socks the cat" make no sense for a variety of reasons. Socks was not known to the public (nor was Chelsea, much)and was certainly not in the white house on November 6 1992 (days after the election.) Socks and Chelsea could not be part of an In/Out segment about the changing of administrations, because they were both Clintons, both on their way in. Millie, on the other hand, was known to every American, was always a clip on the humorous bits of the news, and there wasn't any chance that the audience would see Millie and not know who she was. It was obvious immediately that it was Millie up on the screen, and not just some random dog; which is why everyone knew it was a mistake with the pictures.

You could argue that he did it on purpose but that's a hell of a long way to go for a very vague non-joke that has no really clear meaning, especially in the context of a known dog and the subject of "in/out".

That is how it occurred, however. If one had listened to the radio show the next day, and the following days, and heard the media gleefully pouncing on this error, they began to proclaim that "I bet he did that on purpose, you know. I BET he was implying that Chelsea is a dog somehow," and so began the Telephone game, each lie getting a little worse, until it became just "true" that it had happened in a way completely different from what actually happened. Of course, to tell you the truth I wouldn't give a shit if he had called her a dog; but the principle of the thing is that he didn't, and that the story is false.

This is how he gets a far worse reputation than he ever deserved - the things he says tongue-in-cheek are taken as serious, the things he doesn't say are spread with stupid embellishments like these, the things he apologizes for continue being spread as though he had not apologized for them.

And now the leftist groups are spreading around a petition (Obi-wan gave them the word when he mentioned Limbaugh in an entirely inappropriate and irrelevant context, during a meeting, and they've gone full-bore into a concerted Limbaugh-attack mode - not sure if that means we're gonna try for the Fairness Doctrine or not) against him; last time the Senate sent Rush a petition, he sold it on ebay for millions of dollars, matched the funds, and sent the money to a cause that helps children orphaned by the war to college. (Then Harry Reid actually tried to take CREDIT for it! The media was silent on the matter until the auction was over.) Here's hoping you double that money this time, Rush!

What does it tell you that this lie could not only proliferate, but grow and change over the intervening 17 YEARS into a complete whopper?

Status: False

Mystery solved: Basil at IMAO wondered

Nobody ever explained to me how nearly 2-million people could get into Washington, DC, in freezing weather in one day, when 200,000 couldn’t get out of New Orleans at 80 degrees with four days notice?

"It’s obvious, isn’t it? They got on the buses this time." The truth.

"Don’t you know that nobody could get out of New Orleans because when Bush summoned Katrina with his WEATHER MACHINE OV DOOM, he also put up a force field around all the exits to the city? He obviously wanted the black people all wiped out so that he could drill for oil under their houses!" - FOR THE WIN!

15 comments:

phthaloblu said...

I've never listened to Rush before, not because I don't like him, zi just don't listen to any talk radio shows. But, I'm going to start now. lol! That part about auctioning it off on ebay and then matching the funds and giving it to a charity is GREAT! GO RUSH!

Larry said...

I remember when that happened, and then Reid, who hadn't kicked in a thin dime, tried to take credit for the money being raised.

Anonymous said...

Good on you for debunking this Limbaugh/Chelsea lie. I too am/was a fan of Rush and I didnt miss an episode of his tv show. I too saw this episode, and it happened just exactly as is described in the transcript your provide.

You provide a link to the noseyonline blog. I'm the guy who posted the transcript in the comment section of the noseyonline blog. There are quite a few comments missing from that place as the liberal deleted most of our convo/debate. At first he allowed anonymous comments. So I posted anonymously. But somewhere down the road he got tired of me and switched it, requiring registration to comment. So I registered and continued commenting. Then, after my last comment which he deleted ([EDITOR'S NOTE] Comment has been removed for blatant aggitation) he switched again requiring comment moderation, and then I couldnt get my comments posted anymore.

Anyways, he insisted the events he described happened and claimed he saw it. I posted the transcript. He lied about it occuring in another year. I challenged him to produce the transcript, or better yet, the video. Pointing out that the only thing better than a transcript was a video. He then made the mistake of telling a lie, claiming that he indeed had the video. I laughed, told him there was no way he could have a video of events that never happened and challenged him to post the video up on his blog or anywhere else on the internet he chose. I DARED him to try to prove me wrong, pointing out that if he posted such a video, he would become the hero of his fellow liberals for proving once and for all what Rush did.

That when he deleted my comment and this was in its place: "([EDITOR'S NOTE] Comment has been removed for blatant aggitation)", and thats when he also turned on comment moderation. The next comment I made after he had comment moderation on, never appeared.

"There are people who swear they SAW IT HAPPEN"

So true. I have had internet access for 12 years now, and I cant beging to count the number of liberal liars who claimed to have seen the phony version of events and have "remembered" it. Rather, they see a description of it somewhere on the internet, assume it is true, and invent this lie of having seen it themselves.

Some of them make the mistake of trying to describe more specifically what and how it was done, and they all give wildly different descriptions. One claims that he held up a picture of Chelsea in his hand (no, all pics were flashed on a video monitor. Rush held nothing in his hands except the article he weas reading from). One claims the video monitor was behind Rush in the background, another claims it was on the table right beside him, a few others claim they HEARD him do it on his radio show. I'm still running across these phonies every so often.

One guy I saw claim he was in the audience. In order to give his lie more validity, he gave specific descriptions of Rush's show that only an audience member would know. According to him, he and his three buddies were on leave from the Navy and they were all in the audience (possible), but then he went on to claim that Rush taped 90 minutes of his show live in front of the audience and then edited it down to 30 minutes and then it was upload to feed the next day. Problem with that description is that Rush taped his show live in front of an audience for 30 minutes. Not 90 minutes. And it was uploaded to satellite feed immediately following taping, not the next day.

I can go on and on and on with hundreds of examples of lying liberals who claimed to have seen the false version of events.

And when liberals are confronted with the transcript, they either claim it was faked or the events in question occured in another year (like in 1993).

The only thing that can beat the transcript is a video clip of the events in question, but you will notice in all the years this urban legend has been told, not one of Rush's critics has produced a copy. And videos of rush's show do exist as at the tail end of each and every episode, there would be a short advert promoting the sale of that days episode on videotape. (the cost was around 20-25 bucks per copy). You'd think Steve Rendall at fair.org, or whoever is running FAIR now, or any other critic of Rush, would use their resources to obtain a copy and upload the clip on their site and/or on youtube for the whole world to see. But thats never going to happen, because their version of events simply did not happen. As a result of that, the video simply doesnt exist.

AnnieMcPhee said...

Wow! Thank you so much for coming to my party - please stay!!!

That television show was my introduction to the principles of conservative thought, and I can never credit my personal Exodus from leftism to anyone else. He started it, started me studying economics. I guess it makes sense they want to bring him down - he does win people over and explain things in terms they can understand; that's a powerful thing. (Naturally being funny helps.)

I haven't even finished reading your comment; but I hope to hell you pull up a chair and keep talking!

Anonymous said...

"Thank you so much for coming to my party - please stay!!!"

Sure, I'll stick around :-) I like being where i'm wanted :-) Though I hope you dont mind if I continue to post anonymously, as I like my anonymity online.

One more thing to add to my post. I wrote: "but then he went on to claim that Rush taped 90 minutes of his show live in front of the audience and then edited it down to 30 minutes and then it was upload to feed the next day. Problem with that description is that Rush taped his show live in front of an audience for 30 minutes. Not 90 minutes. And it was uploaded to satellite feed immediately following taping, not the next day"

The reason why I know this is not because I was an audience member myself. I know this because I went to a conservative website, and I asked for people who did attend a live taping of Rush's show, what the procedure was like, how it all went down, and they gave me their descriptions of what happens before, during and after a taping of Rush's old tv show.

AnnieMcPhee said...

No, I don't mind at all - and in fact, new posts do not have any comment moderation at all; not sure why this one does. We don't need moderation here ;) Though if you'd like to give me a little signal, like R for Rushfan or something, that would be nice so I always know it's you :)

I'm not shocked, but I am disgusted, to hear that the leftists went so far as to claim they'd been there live. I've been wishing like heck some of the episodes would show up on youtube, so I'm glad to know why they haven't - though I don't think he would care for it.

When I first read the new canon, it was very surprising to me - the bit that had been added about him holding up the pictures and mentioning Socks - I didn't remember all the details, but I sure as hell know that didn't happen. Which was why when I found your post of the transcript it was tremendously awesome, and used it to bludgeon some leftists on a political humor site. They never ceded, but still. Eventually they shut the fuck up. I don't always continue to that point, but I did that time. Nothing spells Ahhhhh like a leftist shutting the fuck up.

So you can see why you were already my hero :D

rushfan said...

"Though if you'd like to give me a little signal, like R for Rushfan or something, that would be nice so I always know it's you :)"

Good idea. From now on, my moniker around here will be "rushfan".

"I'm not shocked, but I am disgusted, to hear that the leftists went so far as to claim they'd been there live. I've been wishing like heck some of the episodes would show up on youtube, so I'm glad to know why they haven't - though I don't think he would care for it"

Well, some clips of some episodes on his old tv show do exist there.

"When I first read the new canon, it was very surprising to me - the bit that had been added about him holding up the pictures and mentioning Socks - I didn't remember all the details, but I sure as hell know that didn't happen. Which was why when I found your post of the transcript it was tremendously awesome, and used it to bludgeon some leftists on a political humor site. They never ceded, but still. Eventually they shut the fuck up. I don't always continue to that point, but I did that time. Nothing spells Ahhhhh like a leftist shutting the fuck up.

So you can see why you were already my hero"

Shucks :-) About the transcript, I found it myself on the internet some years ago. Its only a partial transcript. As I understand it, the whole thing is archived on Lexis Nexis

AnnieMcPhee said...

I am sure the entire transcript is somewhere, but I found the transcript in the context of you FIGHTING for common sense, and you would be my hero there. Fighting against the lunatic left. I can't BELIEVE that there has become an accepted CANON to this story, as told by MOlly Ivins and other reporters, when in fact it is a LIE.

The fact is that I do NOT fight against the left A LA MORT - to the death - or, to the "shut up" very often. I often just fight a few steps and leave it there. In THIS case I fought to the death, and YOUR transcript helped me do so. That's where the hero bit comes from. Another case I've taken on lately was some dumb bitch who claimed that Christianity teaches Jihad. I fought to the DEATH for that, and I won. Like I say, I fight my battles, but not ALL battles. This was one. Hence, hero :) Thanks!

AnnieMcPhee said...

RL - I thought you might be interested - the subject has come up yet AGAIN at a place called PunditKitchen, and we have yet ANOTHER crackpot who claims to have seen the show and darnit, Rush most certainly DID call Chelsea a dog! He couldn't BELIEVE it! I'd love you to come and help out. You know what kind of reception awaits, but I know you're also used to it. You just happen to know a bit more on this one than I do - after all, all I know is what I saw, how the story developed in the media, what the transcript says (which matches what I saw) and how people have lied since in their game of telephone. You still know more :) Hope to see you.

AnnieMcPhee said...

Also, I don't seem to have the original link here to where you posted the transcript, I ALSO don't have the name or date of the In/Out Article and the author, and I think it's way past time we put our money where our mouths are and GOT HOLD OF THE VIDEO. Please tell me we still can, right? I'm going to put that one clip all over youtube when I get it; it's enough of these leftists claiming this nonsense and claiming they saw it. 17 years is way too damn long. So...come back! I need to know how to buy the stupid videotape! Thanks!

Anniee451 said...

UPDATE: NOW, (or, NAG) in putting Letterman in the hall of shame for his filthy joke about Willow Palin, decided in its infinite wisdom to temper their displeasure at having to do that with a slam at Rush for his Chelsea Clinton "dog joke."

Oddly enough, Rush HIMSELF got the facts slightly altered when he apologized profusely for the mixup with the pictures that has led to this false urban legend occurring and lasting for 17 years. I'm glad to see at least one media outlet reporting on the falsity of the Chelsea/Dog story besides just a few of us bloggers who have tried to keep on top of it. But I'm still a little surprised that Rush got it a little backwards even then. So read the Newsbusters article and then someone please explain to me why Limbaugh has never once just PUT THIS FUCKING THING OUT THERE ON THE NET TO SILENCE THIS URBAN LEGEND ONCE AND FOR ALL?!

rushfan said...

Hey Anniee, sorry I didnt come over to take part in the debate, but I didnt see your comment here until today. In any case you did a FANTASTIC job of taking care of those lying phonies over there yourself. :-)

rushfan said...

"someone please explain to me why Limbaugh has never once just PUT THIS FUCKING THING OUT THERE ON THE NET TO SILENCE THIS URBAN LEGEND ONCE AND FOR ALL?!"

Annie, About twen years or more after the incident in question, Rush attended a wedding in New York. Among the other attendees was Hillary Clinton. Rush apologized to her himself about this incident and this apology hit the news wires. Rush came onto his radio show to explain that after the mistake on his tv show, he promised himself two things: 1) If he ever came face to face with Hillary and/or Bill Clinton, he would personally apologize to them for the mistake, and 2) he would try to refrain from mentioning Chelsea (and the incident), on his tv and radio show as much as he can.

So, this is one phony rumor about himself he is allowing to go on and on and on. Besides which, if he ever produced the video of the incident, you know the liberals. They'll just lie through their teeth and claim that Rush was showing us the wrong episode. (many is the time I've asked liberals, "ok, if this is the wrong episode, then give me the specific air date, month, day, year, of the correct one". Of course they have no answer.

rushfan said...

"Also, I don't seem to have the original link here to where you posted the transcript,"

I only have the partial transcript. As I understand it, the full transcript is archived on lexis nexis.

"I ALSO don't have the name or date of the In/Out Article and the author,"

The author is David Hinckley. He was a columnist for the New York Daily News in which the In/Out column appeared. I do not recall the exact date of the article. Could be Nov. 5 1992, the day before Rush's show, maybe even the day before that. Maybe it was printed on the same day of Rush's show (Nov. 6). Sorry that I cant get more specific.

"and I think it's way past time we put our money where our mouths are and GOT HOLD OF THE VIDEO. Please tell me we still can, right?"

I believe so. It just has to be floating out around there someplace. I have no doubt in my mind that Rush has all the copies he needs, but due to his promise to himself, he isnt about to release it to anyone who asks.

Anniee451 said...

Ah ok, I understand now. I'm glad you know so much about this because it drives me nuts. But then there are so many lies about him that go around, I would end up letting some of them go as well. But the transcript is good enough - I have no idea why he apologized when he didn't do anything wrong, but so it goes. Well, I guess he apologized that there was any mixup at all about the pictures, which makes sense.