By on November 5, 2008

So conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh is a big “friend” of GM’s. Thanks to pressure from Ralph Nader’s org on the FCC, El Rushbo decided it was in his own best interest to stop slipping mentions of GM products into his dietribes [sic]. These days, the segments promoting the General’s vehicles are separated from the main program- ish. But the question of conflict of interest rears its ugly head once more, as Limbaugh claims that he bought a listener a Chevy Tahoe, Elvis-style. According to the headline at rushlimbaugh.com, “It’s Official: Rush Buys Chevy Tahoe for Kerrville, Texas Caller.” Yada yada yada Zicam (don’t ask) go get a car on me. The transcript leads me to believe that the whole deal is a lightly-disguised marketing stunt– and contains some awesome unintentional humor: “She said, ‘I’ll pick one that I would normally buy.’ I said, ‘No, pick what you want. As long as it’s a GM car, pick what you want.’ So she finally picked a green Chevy Tahoe. She picked a green Chevy Tahoe. I don’t think it’s a hybrid. I’m not sure if she got the hybrid or not, but I do know that she drove off the lot with it yesterday. She and her husband have a brand-new green Chevy Tahoe, and the Kerrville, Texas, paper had been running stories on this. It’s the cutest thing. It is just the cutest thing.  So they were just… They didn’t believe it.” The question is, do we believe that Rush paid for this out of his own pocket? Make the jump to read the rest of undeclared pimpatorial.

“They were ecstatic, and the dealership let ‘em have the car before the wire had arrived.  The dealership said, ‘Oh, we heard this. We heard about this, and we know if anybody’s good for it, old Rush is.’ (laughing) In these credit times, they let the woman and her husband drive off with the Chevy Tahoe before my payment had arrived in the wire transfer. Now, that is credit. That, ladies and gentlemen, is credit. And we’re not far away from the Chevy Volt that’s due to roll out in 2010. It’s a glimpse of what’s to come. It’s going to change the way people drive their cars. It’s a reinvention of the automobile. You plug it into your normal outlet in your garage and charge it up. It’s eagerly anticipated by a lot of people.” [thanks to JT for the link]

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21 Comments on “Tahoe-gate? Did Rush Limbaugh “Buy” Caller GM SUV?...”


  • avatar
    TexN

    Rush Limbaugh playing fast and loose with the facts? Gee…..never saw that one coming!

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Since he’s in a giving mood, maybe he can lend GMAC a few bucks.

  • avatar
    br549

    Better yet, he could drive GM himself. How’s that for a laugh?

  • avatar
    shaker

    ‘Whiskey For Me, Beer For My Horses’

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    It’s going to change the way people drive their cars.

    That is true. Instead of making a 10 minutes stop for gas every 300-400 miles, it will be more like drive 40 miles, plug it in for 8 hours, drive 40 miles, plug it in for 8 hours, repeat….

  • avatar
    geeber

    So Rush, under pressure from outside groups, is going to stop slipping in mentions of GM products during his show?

    I guess that will mean the cancellation of Knight Rider. The episode I watched this past weekend was one long Ford commercial, featuring both the Mustang and a new F-150. For added effect, the villain commanded a fleet of HUMMERS, and the soap-star-turned-hero who drives KITT got in his share of HUMMER bashing.

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    Zicam is more of the spew that comes out of Limbaugh’s piehole when it’s open. Right. A medicine that prevents colds. He can’t prvent a cold. Common sense prevents colds. He can’t stop GM’s slide, either, because he HAS no common sense. Remember the addiction to Hydro- and Oxycodone that took his hearing? But if Zicam would work on GM, he’d probably try it.

    I cannot WAIT to hear him squirm and spin this election and administration. I just…can’t…wait!!! I love to hear him squirm. And he will. Jerk that he is.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    I don’t think this is product placement, I think that Rush is helping GM because he can genuinely empathize with the cost of huge amounts of prescription drugs.

  • avatar
    autonut

    If family could not pay for the new/used vehicle how they going to afford the gas? I know it is dirt cheap at 2.30/gallon, but Tahoe sips it at 10-11 mpg (on a good warm day).

  • avatar
    CliffG

    Here I am, listening to Rush and reading various blogs, and it’s Rushomania at TTAC again*. For what it is worth, he is in his usual good mood, and why not, he does what he loves and makes a ton of money at it. His taxes will go up, but like most rich people under our new Pres., he will still be rich. I am sure the Dems will try to force him off the air; after all the 1st, 2nd, and 22nd Amendments are so passe. I must have missed the part where by listening to Rush you are forced to buy GM products or Zicam. I’ve heard the new James Bond flick is full of product placements. OMG! Hopefully, the government will step in and stop this! Because we are all children and need Daddy and Mommy Government to help us.
    *I love TTAC, no negatives implied towards Mr. Farrago, et al.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    @Kluttz:

    Rush will boost his ratings bigtime with Obama in office. (not that he needs to with that $400 million deal he got in July).

    Rush didn’t really make it to the top of radio until Clinton came along.

  • avatar
    yankinwaoz

    CliffG…

    Bingo. Anyone who thinks the media (news and entertainment) is not bought and paid for by corporate or political interest is fooling themselves.

    Learn to think for yourself. And teach your children the same.

    Now that being said: I think a compromise between the impossible utopia of unbiased media and a total corporate whore is possible.

    Just require that media production list their contributors on an online register. Then those who want to sort editorial from advertising can research for themselves, similar to campaign contribution registers.

    The requirement can be simple. “Did you accept anything of value in exchange for influence, inclusion, or exclusion of the media content produced?”. If Yes, list the name.

    I don’t think the amount should be, or needs to be listed. The impact of their contribution will be self apparent.

    That would work for TV shows, films, radio, podcasts, and news.

  • avatar
    windswords

    indi500fan:

    “Rush will boost his ratings bigtime with Obama in office.”

    Funny. I remember when Clinton was elected, the same people were saying Rush would never be as popular as he once was (he was already #1 in his time slot). Then when Bush was elected the same people said he would lose his influence because he had no one (Clinton) to play off of. And he still stayed at number 1. HE has said that his sucess is not determined by who wins elections. Maybe he’s got something there.

    As for GM he works for them. They pay him to say nice things about their vehicles. I think it’s called a contract. I would say nice things about them if they paid me too. Hell, I would say nice things about VW if they paid me (but I would never buy one with my own money). Double hell, I would say nice things about Zicam if they paid me.

    He has made charitable donations in the past. He is a big giver to the childrens leukemia charity and holds a radio-a-thon for them every year. He was critical of the Oprah show when they gave away the G6′s because they did not mention that cars were provided by GM and not by Oprah (not that she would miss the money if she did). So if he did not pay the sady’s car would be fair to label this as hypocritical.

    But it’s still better than Gore giving away his underware for a tax writeoff or Joe Biden’s measly charitable donations. I guess Biden has to pay for his multimillion dollar house in Delaware (which is really paid for by – you and me).

    Now back to the matter at hand. Did he buy the vehicle or didn’t he? You guys asked the question, so find out for us already. Inquiring minds want to know!

  • avatar
    shabster

    This is America. When did making big money promoting products become out of fashion? Who on this blog wouldn’t like to earn millions of dollars each year? Jealousy is not a great trait.

    Based upon which facts are some people tacitly assuming that Rush didn’t actually pay for the Tahoe himself? If it is proved that Rush had nothing to do with the payment for the Tahoe, then I’ll condemn him. But, until there are some facts…..

    What’s wrong with him promoting Zicam? I don’t use Zicam, but why do some people seem so ticked that Rush is pro Zicam?

    Why is it a bone of contention that the owners of the new Tahoe are going to have to pay for the fuel of the thirsty Tahoe? What business is it of ours?

    Rush was very popular before Clinton, he was very popular after Clinton, and he’ll probably be very popular in the coming years. Rush wins in the arena of ideas. Nobody forces anybody to listen to Rush. Liberals might want to learn to live with the fact that Rush, Sean, Glenn and Laura dominate the American AM band.

  • avatar

    shabster :

    I’m a conservative. I like Rush. He’s a very entertaining guy. But there has to be a line between editorial and advertising. That’s not just ethics, it’s a legal requirement.

    Remember: Rush is a broadcaster. The public airwaves belong to the people of the United States. There are legal restrictions regarding what can be said on those airwaves, as well as strictures re: sales and promotion of programs that use them.

    If Rush says I’m giving this vehicle away on behalf of GM, a sponsor of our show, no problem. But if he’s palming it off as personal largesse, or even neglecting to mention GM’s contribution to his editorial, that IS a problem. Both for Rush’s credibility AND any FCC that’s upholding its responsibility to enforce the law.

  • avatar
    chris724

    1996MEdition wrote:

    “That is true. Instead of making a 10 minutes stop for gas every 300-400 miles, it will be more like drive 40 miles, plug it in for 8 hours, drive 40 miles, plug it in for 8 hours, repeat….”

    Duh? Is the (theoretical) Volt not a Hybrid? Your comment makes no sense. Personally, I’d love to have a 60 mile range electric vehicle. It would get me to the train station and grocery store for a week before I’d need to recharge. My 4 cylinder Audi averages like 15mpg on all these two mile trips. An EV would be perfect. But it can’t look funky or cost $40K. Maybe I should convert my old 5.0 Mustang using lead acid batteries? :)

  • avatar
    50merc

    If the media’s platoons of crack investigative reporters have returned from Alaska, perhaps they could look into Tahoegate.

    Or someone could call the dealership and ask for a copy of the check.

    Might be that Rush’s contract with GM calls for them to provide some cars or reimburse their cost as part of the promotional efforts, much the same as Oprah’s giveaway. In other words, it’s Rush’s or Oprah’s gift only in the sense that they pick the recipients. After all, Rush does call sponsorships his “profit centers.”

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Texn,
    What fact did he play fast and loose with here?

    br549 and shaker,
    Does he not own or lease any GM vehicles? He would seem to be a cadillac kind a guy to me.

    geeber,
    Don’t get confused, there is a seperate standard for talk radio because liberals can’t seem to make it work well enough to make a buck at it.

    autonut,
    You need to look into the actual story, I don’t believe there was any mention that the folks in Kerrville were unable to afford fuel. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

    RF,
    Where is the smoking gun? Did he not pay for the car himself (we all know he can afford it). If he had mentioned at the time that GM was a sponsor, would that have been a violation? There is right and wrong, and then there is the law. You and I can likely agree on the former, but no one really knows the latter.

    As for right and wrong, if it was a stunt, and there is evidence of that, and if it really is illegal to do that sort of thing, then he should be prosecuted, fined, and that’s that. Otherwise, he bought someone a car because they were in a funk, and he wanted to show them and others that good things happen in America (or more likely he wanted to impress women).

    I have no problem with either side of the aisle using their own money to buy things for people expecting nothing in return except gratitude. On the other hand, I am going to be a bit grumpy as a bunch of thieves in Washington start taking even more from people who work hard to buy things for other people to get their votes. THAT behavior will slowly suck the life out of this country.

  • avatar
    TonyTiger

    CliffG – Well said.

    Robert F – No good deed goes unpunished, eh?

  • avatar
    AG

    1. At this point, Chevy Tahoes are the only currency GM has left with which to pay people!

    2. I’ll admit, I drive a Honda Civic, which I love, but I’ve ridden in a Chevy Tahoe, and its just so cushy its amazing. With gas this low, and websites that let you lock in gas prices at these levels into the future, I’d have no problem with one. Heck, I wouldn’t even mind a Yukon XL.

    3. Jim Rome beats Rush Limbaugh any day.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    I work in publishing, and although we try not to let advertisers dictate editorial, advertising is what pays the bills and our paychecks (as well as keeps our printers in business). We do our best but it is tough to draw that line. As long as whatever it is has advertisements, it’s going to be up to the consumer to be educated enough to what is sound advice and what is just promoting the sale of a product (good or bad).

    P.S. If Rush wants to give away a Camaro, I’m right here! ;)


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