December 7, 2008

Barbara Walters interviews Rush Limbaugh.

Hot Air has the video -- and highlights the line "I love Sarah Palin" (adding "How does Huck expect to compete with her among the base when Rush, Hannity, Ingraham, et al. are head over heels for her?"):



Here's what Rush himself said about the interview on his Friday radio show. First, there's this observation about the difference between TV and radio:
[O]ne of the reasons, ladies and gentlemen, I am not enthusiastic about television is that it drives me nuts getting feedback every time I'm on television. When I had my own show, I would go home, I'd check the e-mail, whatever, and nobody was ever satisfied. Everybody always had a complaint. I never get complaints about this radio show. I never have people say, "What you shoulda said was… and why did you let 'em ask that? You shoulda thrown it right back in their face." I said, "What's the point? What's the point?" Nobody is ever satisfied with television because all that matters is how you look and nothing else matters. Nobody remembers what anybody ever says on television. I give you Obama. It's how you look; it's how you come off.
Well, Rush's style has evolved on the radio, and it's not so good on TV. I watch the radio show on the webcam sometimes, and I can see what the problem is. He puts his body into producing that voice. He doesn't worry about how it looks. It's all about producing the sound. And it doesn't look relaxed and natural. You can see the effort. It's tiring to watch it, but for listening, it fits the material perfectly. I think he's wrong in saying that TV is only about how you look, but his demeanor is so radio that when he's on TV, we're distracted by the unsuitable visuals. People on TV have honed their style. Walters is brilliant at what she does, and Rush ought to admit that great TV technique really is something, just as his radio voice is.

Next, he complains at length about the way they edited his answer about how much money he makes in a recession. They chose to air the funny line -- "I just choose not to participate" -- and to skip the economics lecture -- which is that all he gets is a percentage of what the show brings in. He claims they took it out because it didn't fit their script. They want to portray him as someone who's cold to the suffering of others. (Barbara stresses that he grew up rich.) He's right but only part right. They were also making him more interesting.

Rush goes on to emphasize that he -- and none of the other "10 Most Fascinating People" -- got Barbara laughing: "We were yucking it up and having a good time." I noticed that he had a strategy of laughing. He responded to almost every question by laughing. He also uses laughing a lot on his radio show. There's a difference between saying funny things that make us laugh and using your own laughing as a form of communication. Be aware: Rush loves to laugh in the face of liberals, to give the impression that whatever they say is plainly foolish. If Barbara laughed along with that, I suspect that she was following her own strategy, letting him feel like the 2 of them were just having a good time, so he'd spill something she could use. Rush said "There was nothing really confrontational about it." Ah, yes. How do you think Barbara does what she does? She helps you get comfortable. He saw that too, because he goes on to say: "The whole thing was a challenge."

Hmmm. Contradiction. It wasn't confrontational, but it was a challenge? That, my friends, is a typical Rush change of direction. He doesn't admit he's wrong when he sees he's wrong. He just starts saying something else. As a law professor, I'm very familiar with that technique. I know you can do it. You realize you're saying something that is wrong or off for some reason. You can either: 1. Shift to getting it right and pretend there was never a problem, or 2. Stop and deliberately point out the problem -- look, that's wrong and here's why -- and then go on to get it right -- to openly show your work as you get to the right way of putting it. I understand why commentators and politicians protect themselves by using #1, but I think #2 is the ethical approach.

20 comments:

ricpic said...

TV is a cool medium. Or so I've been told. But I really don't see why Rush couldn't succeed on TV, provided he wasn't daily fare. Say a one hour show once a week. I think most people could put up with his flailing away, even find it endearing on a once a week basis.

Salamandyr said...

Back when Rush had a TV show, I was listening to him on the radio pretty regularly, but wasn't interested in him on TV at all.

The show was just too short to do more than soundbites and jokes. His radio program allows for a longer, more broadranging discussion of topics. The jokes are there, but they are seasoning, rather than sauce. On the radio he sounded like a serious guy with a sense of humor, on the TV he just sounded mean.

rhhardin said...

It's a men are always wrong event.

rhhardin said...

In short, I find Barbara Walters unwatchable.

It's the posturing of discovery.

The intended audience is plain.

George M. Spencer said...

He also said on-air that the Walters interview lasted 90 minutes, and only 2.5 minutes was aired.

Hey, Barbara, just toss also the extra stuff on this thing called the internet and wrap some ads around it. Might make some more money for your company.

It's all showbiz, and Limbaugh pretty much said on-air that he and Barbara may not be bosom buddies, but they like and respect each other. It's all about using buzz to jack upratings.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Isn't Barbara about 800 years old?

Enough already.

Limbaugh sold his credibility to support the unconservative nitwit Dubya.

Reruns of cop shows for me.

Darcy said...

Rush is a fascinating person to me.
Not perfect in any way, that's for sure. I think that's probably the mistake Walters made (haven't watched the interview), and much of the media makes, in trying to portray him as "not so perfect".

Well, he's not. No news here. But he is brilliant, entertaining and funny, and articulates most of the important conservative viewpoints very, very well.

He'll never be a television personality, and that's OK with me. I love radio, and we need more like him.

TitusPlayItCoolBoy said...

He's gross.

TitusPlayItCoolBoy said...

What did everyone have for their Sunday breakie?

I had OJ, an apple 1/4 of a bagel and some grapes and my morning paxil.

Yes, I take antidepressants. It is the thing to do in NYC. I don't know anyone that doesn't take them.

Grapes quench your thirst.

TitusPlayItCoolBoy said...

I sometimes take xanex at night too.

Lem said...

Miss Ann let's be fair and balanced.

Rush cannot afford to be correcting himself (too much) providing the other side free ammunition.

Rush says that if he spent time correcting what others take out of context that's is all he would do.

There is also the image thing, the Joe Dimaggio factor "There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time. I owe him my best."

Somebody tunes in for the first time only to hear him going on about how wrong he is?

How often does Althouse corrects herself?

Lem said...

BTW - I found this blog via Rush.

These are two American treasures.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Interesting observation about Rush's physical movements in creating a radio show versus the more sedate/choreographed physical movements on the television or public stage. In one medium, you are meant to be heard and not seen. In the other you are seen and not necessarily heard.

It wasn't confrontational, but it was a challenge? That, my friends, is a typical Rush change of direction

I don't see that as inconsistent at all. A person interviewing you can be challenging without being confrontational. For example the interview I had when applying for a job at a major brokerage firm. It was very challenging in that I wanted to be sure to state myself in a concise, intelligent manner that would encourage them to hire me. Very challenging but not in the least confrontational.

The two terms confrontation and challenge are not synonymous.

Guesst said...

Same old boring questions, same old boring perspective. Walters toed the liberal line by asking silly questions about Rush's wealth-guilt, antifeminist comments, his "rich" upbringing, etc etc. zzzzzzzzzzz......zzzz.

The best interviews with Rush were done by Bob Costas, on his "Later" program. Costas did his homework and asked balanced, insightful questions, unlike Barbara Zzzzz.

Ron Nelson said...

The technique for saying inconsistent things without acknowledging their inconsistency is easy to master. You simply substitute "and" for "but" in a sentence. This particularly works well when communicating criticism, e.g., "He was very nice and pompous."

Joan said...

Walters is brilliant at what she does,

Obviously many people think so, but I found her demeanor creepy and fake. She's old enough to be Rush's grandmother but she was borderline flirting with him.

I'm not sure how much is Walters' responsibility, but the editing was terrible, too. It was easy to see that they were slicing and dicing Rush's answers, and they spent the majority of the 5+ minute segment on Walters narrating clips of Rush at work, etc.

I heard Rush's show the day before he left for NY, and he talked about the trepidations he had about going -- not just the gotcha! tv-interview atmosphere, but the fact that he always gets sick whenever he flies to NY. He did, in fact, get slammed with a bronchial infection and ended up missing several days. All that trouble for less than 3 minutes on air? I can't see him making that kind of sacrifice again.

William said...

As others have pointed out, Barbara Walters is old. But she looks good. Whatever the nature of her real personality, her face is expressive and kind and pleasant to watch. She doesn't have that frozen, stunned look that so many women who can afford endless surgery affect. Very few good looking women in the public light know how to age gracefully. She's pulled it off. Rush should have thrown the question about aging women back at her in the form of a sincere compliment....As he would point out, I'm second guessing him. Still the reason for his failure on TV is as plain as his face. His voice is warm, good humoured, and reassuring. His face is none of those things. There is nothing about his face that invites a viewer's sympathies and much that arouses suspicions. Tom Cruise may be a problematic human being but he can credibly play an action hero. With the proper editing, he can even credibly play a power forward in the NBA. Perhaps our most innate prejudice is to overestimate the skills and talents of good looking people.....Rush is fat, bald, and awkward. Still he has one outstanding physical feature--his voice--and he has made the most out of it. I wonder if his humor and analysis would be as appealing if delivered in a different voice.

Greybeard said...

I am a (qualified) Rush fan... conservative/libertarian politically. I loved his radio show and listened for a couple years before his TV show aired.
On radio I always thought he said some things with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
On TV it was obvious he was dead serious about most things he said,
and went from sarcastic comedian to sometimes-out-of-touch conservative in my eyes.
He's smart to "phone in" his segments on Greta Van Susteren's show... the theatre of the mind is his best medium.

Nichevo said...

How does Bawbawa have a career with that - I can't even caw it a wisp - that speech impediment of hews? Then again, if she asked me, What kind of a twee would you be, it wouldn't help if she said tree.

Can she force hehsewf to speak cowwectwy? Thehe is thewapy fow speech pwoblems, you know. Does she have a wepaired hahewip ow something? Is it congenital oh did nobody teww heh to stop because she's so cute?

RR Ryan said...

Ann Coulter uses laughter in the same way, and I have to say it works.