What do you get when you combine critique from a left-wing storefront and an off-base conclusion with a dose of overbearing hyperbole? A three-minute segment on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.”
The Oct. 29 “Countdown” took a shot at conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, claiming he was “defending racism and he’s pro-slavery” in a segment on his popular radio show.
Olbermann named Limbaugh the runner-up in his “Worst Person in the World” segment for the day because of Limbaugh’s commentary about remarks Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama made in a 2001 Chicago public radio interview. In the interview, aired while Obama was a state senator, Obama lamented that the Supreme Court wasn’t more proactive in redistribution of wealth as part of the civil rights movement.
“The runner up, comedian Rush Limbaugh,” Olbermann said. “How the chair has not collapsed out from under him with the weight of the water he’s trying to carry I do not know. ‘Obama,’ says the bully of the airwaves, ‘studied the Constitution and he flatly rejected it. He don’t like the Constitution. He thinks it’s flawed. Now I understand why he was so reluctant to wear the American flag lapel pin. I don’t see how he can take the oath of office. He has rejected the Constitution.’”
Olbermann said it was “relatively obvious that Obama was talking about the fact that the Constitution only didn’t allow African-Americans to vote but it counted them each as three-fifths of a person and it did not make slavery illegal.” He didn’t mention that the 13th Amendment of the Constitution abolished slavery.
“So Rush just took the part about slavery out and said Obama had rejected the entire Constitution. When you put the part about slavery back in it’s pretty obvious that in criticizing Obama’s analysis of what the Constitution originally did to black people here, Rush Limbaugh is defending racism and he’s pro-slavery,” Olbermann concluded.
Olbermann contended that Limbaugh chastised Obama for attacking the pre-13th Amendment Constitution, not the modern-day Constitution and that made Limbaugh “pro-slavery” and “racist.”
But, if Olbermann hadn’t relied solely on one source to attack Limbaugh, he might have realized how off base his claim was. On Limbaugh’s Oct. 28 show, Limbaugh explained why Obama is “anti-constitution,” taken straight from his September 2001 Chicago Public Radio interview.
“He’s very frustrated that the Constitution doesn’t give anybody in federal government, state government the right to do things to people,” Limbaugh said. “And he wants that to change. ‘Doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf,’ although it does. It lays out a number of things the government must do on our behalf. Among those is protecting the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – and of course it spells these things out. He doesn’t see it that way. He then tells a caller here that he’s not optimistic that the court can do this redistributive thing.”