Rush Limbaugh Dismisses Hoopla Over Bullet Hole Billboard
Rush Limbaugh told his audience Friday that he had no idea a billboard featuring his name in big letters accompanied by images of bullet holes and the tagline, "straight shooter," existed down the street from where six people were killed at a Tuscon political event on Saturday.
He also indicted the media for making a big deal about it in its haste to associate violent -- usually conservative -- political words and imagery with the shooting spree.
"Guess what the media is abuzz with right now?" he said. "Apparently there was a Rush Limbaugh billboard in Tuscon."
Radio station KNST took the billboard down on Monday but a picture of it has been making the rounds on the Internet, and liberal pundits have been decrying it as just the sort of hostile imagery that could incite violence.
Limbaugh said he first learned of it Thursday and when he saw a photo of it, he misinterpreted the billboard's meaning.
"I thought -- honest to God, because of previous billboards -- whoever put the billboard up wanted to make it look like people that didn't like me were shooting at the billboard," Limbaugh said.
He explained that it reminded him of one his favorite billboard campaigns in Sacramento that began as simple text -- "Rush Limbaugh is a wonderful human being" -- but as days went on it was made to look like the billboard was being increasingly defaced with tomatoes and the like having been thrown at it.
"Two weeks later, more defacing of the billboard to make it look like people were trying to rip it down," he said.
He also described another billboard campaign that asked: "Wouldn't you just love to punch Rush Limbaugh."
"I have agreed to billboards being put up promoting violence against me," he said.
Therefore, he said, his "first thought" upon seeing the Tuscon ad was that it was meant to look like "angry Democrats in Tuscon were firing along bullets at the thing."
Meanwhile, Premiere Radio Networks, the company that syndicates Limbaugh's show, issued a statement: "This particular ad -- which uses the common expression 'straight shooter' to describe Mr. Limbaugh's candid and direct style -- was designed and contracted by the local station's promotiondepartment. In the wake of the tragic events that have unfolded in Tucson, the station elected to take down this ad on Monday, January 10 -- believing that discussion of its interpretation would not contribute to the desire for healing in the Tucson community."
Click here for a transcript of Limbaugh's comments and for pictures of the other billboards he discusses in this story.