It is with great sadness that I learned my dear friend, inspirational figure, and American radio icon Rush Limbaugh has passed away.
I will never forget what Rush said when someone once asked him about how he handled being hated:
There’s a good reason for the media hating me. And once I came to grips with that fact, that there’s a reason they should hate me, then it makes sense. One of the toughest things I had to do was learn to psychologically accept the fact that being hated was a sign of success. Most people aren’t raised to be hated. We’re all raised to be loved. We want to be loved. We’re told to do things to be loved and appreciated and liked. We’re raised, don’t offend anybody, be nice. Everybody wants total acceptance. Everybody wants respect. Everybody wants to be loved, and so when you learn that what you do is going to engender hatred you have to learn to accept that as a sign of success. That was a tough psychological thing for me.
Here are some of my favorite moments with Rush Limbaugh. I will never forget them:
In the early Project Veritas days, Rush reminded me what it meant to have moral courage.
The first question he ever asked me on-air was about how much moral cowardice I had seen from people – even on the right:
Rush Limbaugh: “Have you ever encountered people on our side who have let you down? Who’ve said you know ‘James, you’re putting too much pressure on us.’ Have you had any people on our side ask you to tone it down?”
James O’Keefe: “You know Rush, one of the things you said that really resonated with me is — you said that our adversaries circle the wagons, and our allies circle the firing squad. I have come to know this over the last few years in a sort of baptism by fire.”
Rush once read an entire column I wrote with my mentor Andrew Breitbart on the air, where I explained why I refused to speak with CNN. Network producers had gotten ahold of my phone number and dialed me so frequently I couldn’t make outgoing calls that morning.
Andrew advised against taking the interview because their mission was not to expose truth, but to destroy my credibility as a journalist. CNN frequently took partisan stances on the ACORN story and worked to defend the organization’s staff following our investigation.
Due to their dishonest statements and refusal to cover the ACORN story fairly, I instead chose to write an op-ed for BigGovernment.com in a preemptive strike, which was later read on air by Rush.
From an Intrepid CNN Producer:
9-11-09 | James O’Keefe
70 times he was called.
As read on “The Rush Limbaugh Show”
So far CNN has only reported on the breaking story on blatant ACORN CORRUPTION from angles that attempt to extricate the government funded “community organizing” enterprise from the extreme crime we caught on videotape.
First CNN pushed the false ACORN line that “[t]his film crew tried to pull this sham at other offices and failed.”
To set that record straight please check the Washington D.C. tape we dropped today at BigGovernment.com, which is also being aired on your cable news competitor with curiously higher ratings.
Now that ACORN lied to you, Jonathan Klein, what are you going to do?
Here’s what I have noticed from your coverage: You brought in the damage control crowd to FRAME the story. Before even airing our damning Baltimore video. You know your audience would turn on ACORN if you showed them the evidence. So instead, you put your competitors in journalism in the crosshairs instead of airing a blockbuster report making massive waves elsewhere.
You even trotted out shameless Clinton era apologist Joe Conason to challenge the ETHICS of our expose. Unreal.
What about the ethics of those at ACORN caught on tape trying to help create a brothel featuring illegal immigrant age range 13-15 from El Salvador?
What about the countless laws broken on tape from a group that stands to get billions from President Obama’s “stimulus” package?
Why don’t we wait to have the Columbia Journalism School debate on “journalistic ethics” after you do actual journalism.
When you air the raw ACORN footage that is now viral on the Internet and being played on FOX NEWS and countless talk radio shows, then and only then — when America can see, hear and smell the stench we have exposed — will I subject myself to a CNN hit job.
The op-ed itself went wildly viral. That blew me away. Friends were texting me nonstop.
This was the purest form of media warfare. This is what I was born to do.
Rush understood this. He knew, like I did, that the media is more powerful than all three branches of government.
Klein, the CNN president, would be let go a year later. On his departure, the New York Times noted the network’s ratings had “languished, while Fox’s and MSNBC’s have improved, leading some media critics to publicly wonder how he managed to keep his job.” We wondered too.
I will miss Rush, as I’m sure you will too.
He dedicated his life to this country, the least we can do is honor his memory in our everyday lives.
Rush, may God give your beautiful soul a nice and warm welcome into heaven.
James O’Keefe established Project Veritas in 2011 as a non-profit journalism enterprise to continue his undercover reporting work. Today, Project Veritas investigates and exposes corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions to achieve a more ethical and transparent society.