Hey Rush Limbaugh: Keep Digging

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Rush Limbaugh is quoted in a new Spanish-language Obama ad that ties John McCain to the nativist fringe of the Republican Party. The ad itself isn’t exactly fair — McCain has showed a willingness to kowtow to that nativist fringe, but he’s still probably the GOP’s leading advocate for a humane approach to immigration reform. But Limbaugh doesn’t believe in that humane approach, and in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published today, he isn’t standing up for John McCain’s record on immigration issues.

Instead, he’s arguing that he isn’t as big a jerk as the quotes in the Obama ad make him look. Limbaugh notes the quotes and then provides the full paragraphs from which they came, with the mistaken belief that somehow the context proves he isn’t a bigot. In fact, the context just reinforces the original point. See for yourself.

Supposedly out-of-context quote:

“…stupid and unskilled Mexicans.”

Supposedly exculpatory context:

“If you are unskilled and uneducated, your job is going south. Skilled workers, educated people are going to do fine ’cause those are the kinds of jobs Nafta is going to create. If we are going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people, I’m serious, let the unskilled jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do — let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work.”

Second supposedly out-of-context quote:

“You shut your mouth or you get out!”

Supposedly exculpatory context:

“And another thing: You don’t have the right to protest. You’re allowed no demonstrations, no foreign flag waving, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our president or his policies. You’re a foreigner: shut your mouth or get out! And if you come here illegally, you’re going to jail.”

Turns out, the full paragraphs are just as xenophobic and hateful as the isolated quotes. Why? Because Rush Limbaugh is xenophobic and hateful. Funny how that works.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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