Rush Limbaugh clarifies his remarks linking liberalism and Robin Williams’s death


Radio show host Rush Limbaugh at a 2006 Heritage Foundation forum in Washington. (Micah Walter/Reuters file)

UPDATE: In a lengthy segment on his Wednesday show, Limbaugh clarified his controversial remarks on Williams’s death. “What the left, and particularly the leftist media, is attempting to do in twisting my comments about the Robin Williams suicide yesterday cannot go unnoticed,” he said, before accusing the media who quoted his remarks on Williams of taking his words out of context and “glorifying” his passing.

Here’s a snippet of his response to write-ups (presumably, like the one below) of what he said on the show yesterday:

“What I did was analyze the coverage, which is what I do every day on this program, is analyze who the left is.  I didn’t presume to know why Robin Williams committed suicide.  I didn’t know yesterday, and I don’t know today.  But they do.  They claim to know.  All these people giving me the business claim they know why.  And it was that that I was analyzing.” 

Limbaugh then played an archived clip of his remarks on Williams. “Now, all of that — all of that – is repeating what media said.” He went on: “none of it was characterizing what Robin Williams did or said because I don’t know, and neither do they.  They were the ones offering the excuses, the reasons.  They were the ones wringing their hands and lamenting how sad and unfortunate it was.” The full transcript is here.  

Original post: Robin Williams was a singular presence whose work and kindness directly touched a lot of people in meaningful ways. Rush Limbaugh, apparently, was not one of those people.

Speaking on his radio show Tuesday, Limbaugh — the conservative talk-radio host famous for his sense of outrage — strongly insinuated that the actor committed suicide because he has a pessimistic “leftist” attitude.

Here’s the quote, from the transcript:

He had everything, everything that you would think would make you happy. But it didn’t. Now, what’s the left’s worldview in general? What is it? If you had to attach not a philosophy but an attitude to a leftist’s worldview, it’s one of pessimism and darkness, sadness. They’re never happy are they? They’re always angry about something. Not matter what they get, they’re always angry.

“He had it all,” Limbaugh added, “but he had nothing. He made everybody else laugh but was miserable inside. I mean, it fits a certain picture, or a certain image that the left has.”

The segment goes on, referring to a Fox News story on Williams’s depression:

Christopher Reeve, John Belushi, and Andy Kaufman… The source, unnamed in the story, said that Robin Williams felt guilty that he was still alive while his three friends had died young and much earlier than he had. He could never get over the guilt that they died and he didn’t. Well, that is a constant measurement that is made by political leftists in judging the country.

The remarks were in response to a caller’s question about whether there is a political motivation behind media coverage of Williams’s death.

Limbaugh’s comment wasn’t the only insensitive, imagined theory floated about the suicide. Nor was it the worst. That prize goes to an article at the anti-abortion news site Lifenews.com, which suggested that Williams killed himself out of guilt over an abortion his girlfriend had in the 1970s.

“Is there a relationship between Robin William’s [sic] descent into drug addiction and depression that began in the 1970′s and his past abortion?” wrote Kevin Burke. The post was spotted by Talking Points Memo before it apparently disappeared from Lifenews.

It appears that the same post is still up on Priests for Life.

 

Abby Ohlheiser is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.
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