MRC’s Brent Bozell Cautions: ‘Take a Deep Breath’ Before Bashing Rush Limbaugh on 2016

On Tuesday night, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell joined FNC’s The Kelly File and spoke with host Megyn Kelly to urge caution on the part of conservatives and Republicans in blaming conservative media figures like Rush Limbaugh for Donald Trump’s candidacy by pointing out that, no matter what individuals him say, they face scrutiny from the liberal media or anyone who didn’t back the eventual nominee.

Kelly began the segment with video of a caller into Limbaugh’s show from Monday in which “Rick” from Los Angeles claimed that, on Trump and immigration, Limbaugh has been “doing a disservice to all of us Republican primary voters who didn't vote for trump that are struggling with whether or not to vote for Trump.”

The back-and-forth between the caller and Limbaugh continued until Kelly reappeared to welcome on Bozell and promptly admitted to him that “there's been a lot of finger pointing, right, in the GOP and a lot of what feels like a civil war between the people who support Trump in the party and the people who don't and that was just a reflection of some of that.”

Bozell agreed, declaring that “[t]his isn’t about Rush” but rather “the fractured nature of the Republican Party, and the fractured nature of the conservative movement” and, as for Limbaugh specifically, he noted that “anything Rush says is going to trigger a reaction from someone” not happy with the longtime radio host’s opinions.

“This is the nature of the politics this year. That caller, if Rush were that impactful in this crazy year, when Rush Limbaugh said that Ted Cruz was the single most conservative candidate in the race, then Ted Cruz would have won the nomination. Look, the Trump people, Rush is absolutely right. The Trump people are lock step with Trump,” Bozell added.

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Kelly made clear to emphasize for those both aware and seemingly unaware that “there's no question Rush is incredibly powerful and incredibly successful, but he — he's not omnipotent, and he's not all — you know, he can't do it all” just as other famous media figures like Sean Hannity:

You know, I mean I think some in the Republican Party want to demonize let's say Rush or Hannity or whoever it is for getting behind Trump or not condemning Trump just the same as, you know, it's happening the other way as well. People want to condemn the Never Trumpers for not getting behind a party nominee who’s obviously extremely controversial.

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Continuing on this theme of Limbaugh always facing attacks from multiple directions, Bozell opined that “if Rush were to say something critical about Trump, then there would be the furious backlash in the opposite direction about how he is costing the Republicans the election by going after the nominee.”

“You can't win this year. It is the craziest year ever and I think what people have to do I take a deep, deep breath and understand Rush was advocating conservative principles long before any caller was calling him,” Bozell cautioned.

The transcript of the segment from FNC’s The Kelly File on August 30 can be found below.

FNC’s The Kelly File
August 30, 2016
9:42 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Developing; Limbaugh Says He Never Took Trump Seriously on Immigration]

MEGYN KELLY: Developing tonight, we are less than 24 hour as way now from a major speech by Donald Trump that will outline his stance on immigration. In recent days, Mr. Trump has been accused of flip-flopping. He himself said there may be a softening. And the anger over that possibility has spilled over onto the Rush Limbaugh radio broadcast. Listen.

(....)

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Developing; Critics Accuse Limbaugh of Betraying His Audience] 

KELLY: And then he seemed to imply that he was talking about Fox News. Brent Bozell is president of the Media Research Center. Brent, good to see you. Although it was — 

BRENT BOZELL: Hi, Megyn. 

KELLY: — Rush was confused about what he meant there. Listen, there's been a lot of finger pointing, right, in the GOP and a lot of what feels like a civil war between the people who support Trump in the party and the people who don't and that was just a reflection of some of that. Your thoughts. 

BOZELL: Exactly. This isn't about Rush. This is about the fractured nature of the Republican Party, and the fractured nature of the conservative movement. Look, anything Rush says is going to trigger a reaction from someone calling himself a conservative, saying that Rush Limbaugh has betrayed the conservative movement. This is the nature of the politics this year. That caller, if Rush were that impactful in this crazy year, when Rush Limbaugh said that Ted Cruz was the single most conservative candidate in the race, then Ted Cruz would have won the nomination. Look, the Trump people, Rush is absolutely right. The Trump people are lock step with Trump, and the people who aren't with Trump, I think they're going to be with Trump. But right now, like this caller, they're having a very hard time. Rush is caught in the crosshairs.

KELLY: The other thing is you tell me, Brent. I mean there's no question rush is incredibly powerful and incredibly successful, but he — he's not omnipotent, and he's not all — you know, he can't do it all. I know Rush rather well. Back in 2008, he was behind John McCain. Back in 2012, he was behind Mitt Romney. It didn't carry them over the finish line. You know, I mean I think some in the Republican Party want to demonize let's say Rush or Hannity or whoever it is for getting behind Trump or not condemning Trump just the same as, you know, it's happening the other way as well. People want to condemn the Never Trumpers for not getting behind a party nominee who’s obviously extremely controversial. 

BOZELL: If — and if Rush were to say something critical about Trump, then there would be the furious backlash in the opposite direction about how he is costing the Republicans the election by going after the nominee. This is what I mean. You can't win this year. It is the craziest year ever and I think what people have to do I take a deep, deep breath and understand Rush was advocating conservative principles long before any caller was calling him. 

KELLY: Mm-hmm and he is a broadcaster. I mean that's what he is at heart. He's not a campaign manager who needs to get a non-Trumper elected. He's a broadcaster. In any event, the recriminations have only just begun. I'm sure we'll be hearing any more over the days and weeks to come, so we'll see a lot of Brent and it's great to see you as always, sir. 

BOZELL: Thank you, Megyn.

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