On April 25, Denver's mainstream media weighed in on syndicated yakker Rush Limbaugh's recent wisecrack about dreaming of riots in Denver at the time of August's Democratic National Convention. In the Denver Post's piece, for example, interview subjects included Glenn Spagnuolo, spokesman for Recreate '68, an organization whose moniker specifically references the last Democratic convention that got out of control. (The confab gave birth to the Chicago Seven, whose members, including Abbie Hoffman and former Jane Fonda spouse Tom Hayden, were eventually acquitted of conspiracy charges.) "We don't need another 5,000 illiterate Limbaugh listeners coming to Colorado," Spagnuolo commented -- and while the statement doesn't make much sense, it earned points for equating Limbaugh with his brother in blather, state rep Douglas "Illiterate Peasants" Bruce.
Still, what may be most interesting about this dustup is the response to it by Clear Channel Denver, the corporate entity that broadcasts Limbaugh's program on its flagship station, KOA. On April 24, the firm issued a press release attempting to clarify the comments at roughly the same time that another Clear Channel host, KHOW's Dan Caplis, was scolding Limbaugh.
Here's the release:
RUSH LIMBAUGH accused of CALLING FOR violence at 2008 Democratic National Convention
Denver, CO, April 24, 2008…Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who can be heard on Newsradio 850 KOA from Noon to 3PM on weekdays, is in the spotlight after being accused of calling for riots in Denver during the August 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Limbaugh was reacting to comments from Al Sharpton, a Barack Obama supporter, who had said there would be “trouble” in Denver if the election was taken away from Obama.
A review of the full transcript from Limbaugh’s show on Wednesday, April 23 shows that Limbaugh was not advocating violence in Denver at the Democratic National Convention, but trying to make the point that if there were riots in Denver it would hurt the Democrats’ chances of winning the 2008 Presidential election.
“Riots in Denver at the Democrat Convention would see to it we don't elect Democrats,” said Limbaugh. “And that's the best damn thing (that) could happen for this country as far as anything I can think.” Prior to that statement Limbaugh had said, “Now, I am not inspiring or inciting riots. I'm dreaming (singing to the tune of White Christmas) I'm dreaming of riots in Denver.”
The full transcript from the April 23 Rush Limbaugh Show is available at 850koa.com.
The aforementioned transcript page doesn't exactly prove that Limbaugh's remarks were meant figuratively instead of literally; he explicitly states that Mile High rioting would help delineate the differences between Democrats and Republicans to the latter's benefit. Nevertheless, the transcript's intro takes a shot at the "local drive-by media" (note the use of a favorite Limbaugh term), which was accused of "falsely reporting that Rush is calling for violence at the convention." A link to this Channel 7 report was presented as exhibit A.
Turns out, though, that Caplis, taking a brief break from his unctuous, off-puttingly excessive character assassination of Senator Barack Obama, which has made his show all but unlistenable for weeks, expressed concern about Limbaugh's gleeful declaration on his April 24 program. Near the top of the three o'clock hour, in comments that can be accessed here, he first praised Limbaugh's body of work before saying, "I think he's way over the line when he's talking about dreaming and hoping for riots in Denver."
The press release above hit e-mail in-boxes about twenty minutes after these words were broadcast, directly contradicting Caplis' take. No doubt the folks at Clear Channel Denver love Big Dan, but they also know which bloviator butters their bread. -- Michael Roberts