Rush Limbaugh was Donald J. Trump before Trump...


...and Donald J. Trump is Rush Limbaugh: On March 10, 1994, we were driving from Baltimore to Huntington, West Virginia. That's a long car ride! 

We're able to report the date because that was the day when Rush Limbaugh thrilled the world with his ugly claim about Vince Foster's death—a death by suicide which Limbaugh turned into the latest Hillary Clinton murder tale.

The ride to Huntington takes you through many miles of empty country—empty country serviced by the world's smoothest and broadest highways. 

These autobahns were always said to reflect the power of Robert Byrd within the United States Senate. At any rate, out in those empty lands, the Limbaugh show was always on the radio, and nothing else was ever on.

For that reason, we were listening to the Limbaugh show as we motored through the massive, empty state. We well recall our shock and disgust when we heard what Limbaugh said.

Foster had taken his own life in 1993. Trumps-before-Trump were trying to make it the latest of the many Clinton murder scandals.

Donald J. Trump ended up in the White House because this type of sliming of Hillary Clinton went on for so long. According to this report from FAIR, these are the words we heard that day as we skillfully motored along:

LIMBAUGH (3/10/94): OK, folks, I think I got enough information here to tell you about the contents of this fax that I got. Brace yourselves. This fax contains information that I have just been told will appear in a newsletter to Morgan Stanley sales personnel this afternoon…. What it is is a bit of news which says… there’s a Washington consulting firm that has scheduled the release of a report that will appear, it will be published, that claims that Vince Foster was murdered in an apartment owned by Hillary Clinton, and the body was then taken to Fort Marcy Park.

According to FAIR, Limbaugh made that announcement "in urgent tones." We can confirm that account.

FAIR'S report continues:

After he returned from a commercial break, Limbaugh began referring to the story as a "rumor," but continued to claim that the story was that “the Vince Foster suicide was not a suicide.”

In fact, the suicide was a suicide. This determination was reached by an endless succession of investigations, every single time.

That said, people like Limbaugh—the "Trumps-before-Trump"—were eager to disrespect and mock the dead and to attack the first lady. Due to the size of Limbaugh's audience, mainstream orgs showed little interest in opposing him and his endless misconduct.

Where did Limbaugh get this latest exciting claim? In this report, Newsweek explained the way he had embellished a report from that "consulting firm," a gong-show firm which didn't know what it was talking about in the first place:

WATSON (3/20/94): You can't believe everything you read about Vince Foster. In some cases, you can't believe any of it. Last week rumors swirled from Washington to Wall Street and back again about the 1993 suicide of Bill and Hillary Clinton's White House lawyer. The tabloid New York Post claimed that after Foster's death, administration officials "frantically scrambled" to remove from his office safe a previously unreported set of files, some of them related to the Whitewater affair. A financial newsletter published an even more sensational—and equally unsubstantiated—report that Foster's body had been moved from an apartment in Virginia to the suburban park where it was found. On his radio show, conservative blunderbuss Rush Limbaugh embellished that report just a bit; he said the newsletter "claims that Vince Foster was murdered in an apartment owned by Hillary Clinton."

For the record, Foster's body hadn't been moved from any apartment. Also, and stating the obvious, Limbaugh had embellished the gong-show firm's bogus report a good deal more than "just a bit:"

Limbaugh pretended that the (non-existent) apartment had been owned by Hillary Clinton! That's what we heard, along with millions of other rubes, as we motored through West Virginia that day.

Donald J. Trump wasn't in this foul business yet, but the Trumps-before-Trump were quite active.  Stating the statistically obvious, the endless sliming of Clinton and Clinton explains how Trump was able to slip by Candidate Clinton in 2016, even as he lost the popular vote. 

(Similarly, the two-year detour into the crackpot sliming of Candidate Gore explains how George W. Bush was able to slip by into the Oval. The sliming of Gore was mainly done by the mainstream press, not by people like Limbaugh.)

The Internet barely existed in 1994. Social media didn't. Still, the lunatic claims flew thick and fast, often assisted, or even driven, by the mainstream press.

That report from FAIR went on to describe the way one major network, and two major journalists, deferred to Limbaugh's power. Headline included:

FAIR (7/1/94): Koppel Covers for Limbaugh’s Rumor-Mongering

Ted Koppel’s special (ABC Viewpoint, 4/19/94) on press coverage of Whitewater was a perfect opportunity to take Rush Limbaugh to task for spreading unfounded conspiracy theories. But instead, ABC journalists Koppel and Jeff Greenfield let Limbaugh off the hook.


Limbaugh took this baseless rumor from a small insiders’ newsletter and broadcast it to his radio audience of millions, adding his own new inaccuracies: The newsletter did not report–as Limbaugh claimed–that Foster was murdered, or that the apartment was owned by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Limbaugh’s repetition of an unfounded rumor has been credited (Chicago Tribune, 3/11/94; Newsweek, 3/21/94) with contributing to a plunge in the stock market on the day it was aired.

Appearing as an “expert” on the Viewpoint special, Limbaugh denied twisting the rumor: “Never have I suggested that this was murder,” he said. ABC‘s Jeff Greenfield, in a taped segment, further covered for the talk show host, claiming that Limbaugh “broadcast the rumor as an example of the more wild stories circulating.”

Later in the broadcast, host Ted Koppel also stuck up for Limbaugh when his role in spreading the story was challenged. “As I recall,” Koppel said, “you didn’t present it as accurate, did you? You represented it as one of the rumors that was going around.”

The executive producer of Limbaugh’s TV show, Roger Ailes (a Republican campaign consultant and president of the CNBC cable network), didn’t claim that his star had debunked the rumor–he boasted that Limbaugh’s report of “a suicide coverup, possibly murder” was a scoop...

At this point, we can't vouch for the accuracy of FAIR's account. But FAIR's account captures the general lay of the land during that baldly corrupted press era.

This incident, and hundreds like it, explains why Candidate Hillary Clinton was almost as widely distrusted as her crazy opponent during Campaign 2016. The mainstream press corps' decades-long role in this game has never been explained or discussed and, given the way the world really works, that fact will never change.

Stating the statistically obvious, this is how Candidate Bush and Candidate Trump managed to reach the Oval. Meanwhile, here's something else that is obvious: you will never hear about these events from any mainstream source or from any career reporter.

Dearest darlings, it just isn't done! Careers hang in the balance! The rewards are too damn high!

Also this: Limbaugh pimped the Vince Foster murder tale again in 2005. For the report by Media Matters, you can just click here.

In 2016, a disordered fellow named Candidate Trump began to toy with the Vince Foster murder claim. For a report by the Washington Post, you can just click this. 

Today, our culture is very much in the hands of such disordered people. Their power has massively grown with the spread of social media and with the proliferation of crackpot partisan news orgs. 

With respect to Donald J. Trump, our mainstream news orgs still refuse to discuss the possibility that he is a "sociopath" or is otherwise badly disordered. All major news orgs reached an agreement:

Such possibilities must not be discussed. Medical and psychiatric specialists mustn't be interviewed, quoted, consulted, referred to. When Trump's niece described his "psychopathologies," our cable channels quickly turned her into a standard political pundit. 

("Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah and thank you, Mary, for coming." No, we're not quoting Don Lemon.)

We close today with a question:

As far as we know, sociopaths can't help themselves. What's the press corps' excuse?


  1. "Rush Limbaugh was Donald J. Trump before Trump..."

    No, dear Bob, Rush Limbaugh was MSNBC before Trump.

    The genre he developed, your cult's goebbelsian dembots copied and amplified it in the last few years. And your goebbelsian cult has been selling this shit as mainstream, serious 'political analysis'.

    1. Interesting that Mao, king slime ball that he is, admits Limbaugh started the new era of lies that produced his favorite President. His very weak deflection notwithstanding.

  2. Brilliant observation!
    I never tire of your daily fresh insight.

  3. Last night, all four prime time MSNBC hosts attacked Fox News for claiming that windmills and green energy caused the Texas power outages.

  4. Limbaugh already had the number one talk show on radio by 1990.

  5. is linbaugh still dead?

  6. Remember when Limbaugh took a trip to the Dominican to fuck whores and score oxy...
    Good times

    1. I don't.
      But I do remember when he went to the Dominican Republic to fuck children.
      Such a scamp. It's no wonder he ran the Republican Party for almost 3 decades.

  7. Republican thought leaders: Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Drudge. College degrees: zero.

  8. The most heavily Democratic precincts in our town are loaded with intellectuals. Of course, you wouldn’t want to be caught in them after dark.

  9. 1. Somerby brings up the attacks on the Clintons more often than Republicans do these days. Why is he dredging up poor Vince Foster again?

    2. Rush Limbaugh may have started that original rumor with embellishments, but Bernie and his bros helped spread the same dirt on Hillary.

    3. If Limbaugh was a Trump precursor, why isn't Somerby calling him a sociopath? For that matter, why doesn't Somerby label all of the Republican sociopaths? And if so many Republicans are sociopaths, isn't that a problem that deserves some focus?

    4. The media may participate in spreading some of these "rumors" but political campaigns and partisans do it more.

    5. Somerby spends a lot of time talking about these stale old dirty campaign smears but he never talks about how the Russians funneled money via the NRA to campaigns in 2016, how social media was flooded with anti-Clinton memes via bots targeted toward specific voter categories, how Russia hacked election official computers in swing states and gave info to specific Republican campaigns, how Russia stole DNC and Podesta's e-mails and leaked them to Wikileaks, and how Comey (a Republican) made a prohibited statement right before the election specifically to hurt Clinton. Beside all that, the media's comments on Gore's suits are not just trivial, they are vapid and inconsequential.

    Gore lost FL because Bush's brother influenced state vote counts. Gore didn't insist on a recount (which was subsequently conducted by the media and showed that he would have won). The confusions of the butterfly ballot and hanging chads made such a recount a good idea -- something that was not true for Trump in any state. Instead, Gore gave up. That is not the media's fault.

    Hillary wasn't distrusted because of things the mainstream media said. She was distrusted because of the massive social media campaign and because both Obama and Bernie attacked her using these same old criticisms -- which served the purpose of giving cover to misogynists, much as the Republican impeachment constitutionality arguments gave cover to Republicans who were rooting for Trump.

    1. Gore lost FL because of all those intellectual Democrats who screwed up their ballots.

  10. Donald Trump is not Rush Limbaugh. Donald Trump was clearly more dangerous because he ran for office instead of making noise on the radio. Both did major damage to people and our democracy, but Trump was clearly worse.


    This is akin to why it irritates me whenever Somerby borrows a Woody Guthrie lyric to support his conservative memes here.

  12. Digby has a different idea about McConnell and gifts. Hint: no gift to Democrats but a huge gift to Trump:

    "They’re going to protect him, aren’t they? All of our fantasies about legal ramifications for Trump, both criminally and civilly are probably going nowhere. Packing the courts may have been McConnell’s greatest gift to Trump. He really should be more grateful."

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