Thursday, June 10, 2010

'Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One' ~ By Joseph Farah

Joseph recounts his experience with (the newlywed) Rush Limbaugh while Farah was editor-in-chief of the Sacramento Union newspaper.
There are probably a million Rush Limbaugh stories out there like mine. That one isn't included in Zev Chafets' book. But the author has uncovered a number of great anecdotes in "Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One."

If you like Rush, you'll like the book. If you don't like him, you will at least get a better understanding of what makes him tick. And if you hate him, you're going to have trouble maintaining that venom.
By Joseph Farah

Posted: June 09, 2010 ~ 1:00 am Eastern

© 2010

Rush Limbaugh has been a cultural counter-force for more than 20 years, but only now has he been treated fairly in a biography that captures the essence of his personality and his influence on the American scene.

The book is "Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One" by Zev Chafets.

For me, reading through the breezy but meticulously researched work is like reliving the last 20 years. It was exactly 20 years ago that I first met Rush Limbaugh. The Rush Limbaugh I met back then was exactly the one described by Chafets – unassuming, unpretentious, generous, a brilliant artist and social commentator.

I met Rush when I needed a favor in 1990. Having recently been named editor-in-chief of the Sacramento Union, the oldest daily West of the Mississippi, I knew I had my hands full. The independent paper had been going through rough times and facing fierce competition from one of the biggest media corporations in the world.

Sacramento was unfamiliar to me, having spent the previous 12 years in Los Angeles. In hopes of saving the paper from what most observers predicted was imminent demise, I looked around town for a single personality who captured the imagination of the circulation area – not just the politically correct city, but the sprawling million-plus market of the upper Central Valley.

One cool, breezy summer morning in 1990, I was walking along Capitol Mall amid bumper-to-bumper traffic. Interestingly, I could hear a single voice from the open car windows as I covered block after block.

The mellifluous voice belonged to none other than Rush. It was not a strange voice to me. I had previously heard him do his local show in New York and, for the last year or so, had listened to him daily on his nationally syndicated show in Los Angeles. But here he was talking to the town he boasted of "owning." Now I knew what he meant.

Rush had higher penetration of the Sacramento market than any other in the nation, perhaps he still does, because it was the market where he developed his chops with a local show on KFBK.

I had my answer. Now all I had to do was persuade the Great One, as I called him, to lend a hand to saving the Sacramento Union.

My plan was to get him to write an exclusive column for the paper and, also, somehow convince him to help me promote it on his show.

When I reached him, I was shocked to hear that he always wanted to write for the Sacramento Union during his years at KFBK – but the "conservative" paper wouldn't have him. No wonder this paper was going out of business, I thought.

Since he seemed so amenable, I pushed my luck. I asked him to write a daily column for the front page and record radio spots promoting it. Let's just say he did it all and it certainly wasn't for the chump change I could afford to pay him.

The formula worked.

The column was a big hit.

And we leveraged some advertising deals to play the spots as often as possible during Rush's show on "the flamethrower of the Central Valley," KFBK.

The spots went something like this: "Are you sick and tired of the liberal bias in the media? Well, in Sacramento, you've got an alternative – the Sacramento Union."


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