Limbaugh's latest: Let's bully journalists!

Paul Steiger's investigative reporting project is making Rush very angry about people who dig up "dirt."

Published October 16, 2007 5:31PM (EDT)

I'm worried about Rush Limbaugh, I really am. He seems to be losing it.

There's always been an element of entertainment to Limbaugh's bully act, but lately he's more thug than comic. Media Matters has the latest, from his Oct. 15 show: Limbaugh bragging that he once threatened a journalist doing a story on him. "We're going to find out where your kids go to school. We're going to find out who you knocked up in high school. We're going to find out what drugs you used." Limbaugh claims the result was a more positive spin on the story that was ultimately produced -- of course, he won't name names or publications, so we have no idea if it's all a drug-induced fantasy -- and the radio bully went on to promote that kind of treatment for other investigative reporters.

What spurred his nutty rant? The formation of Pro-Publica, the new nonprofit investigative reporting group headed by former Wall Street Journal editor Paul Steiger and funded by Herb and Marion Sandler. You can criticize the Sandlers' new project, sure. You can point to their history of supporting Democrats (though former GOP Rep. Jim Leach is on their board). But Limbaugh's answer is to promote the investigation and intimidation of investigative journalists. Here's what he said:

"I'll tell you, folks, the way to deal with this -- I have always said it. I don't know anybody who's doing it. Maybe I should found ProDestroya and get a bunch of people willing to do investigative journalism on these investigative journalists. You know, AntiPublica. They get to sit there -- who are these people that get to act as though they are sin-free, that they are as clean and pure as the wind-driven snow, that they've got no skeletons in their closet? They can go out and dig up dirt on -- and everybody's got dirt. They can go out and dig whatever up and then they can slant it and taint it, smear it and lie about it, do whatever they want, and nobody examines who these people are. And if you try, they get mad. 'Well, we're journalists, we're immune. You can't treat us the way we treat other people.'"

Sounds like Limbaugh's worried about some dirt and skeletons in his own closet. But I'm not sure anybody needs to dig up more dirt on Rush when he's losing his marbles in plain sight.

By Joan Walsh

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