Rush Limbaugh: Iran Contra Debate and Poll
Was Rush Limbaugh right ? 

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PRO 1

Rush Limbaugh, "This Walsh story basically is, we just spent seven years and $40 million looking for any criminal activity on the part of anybody in the Reagan administration, and guess what? We couldn't find any. These guys didn't do anything, but we wish they had so that we could nail them. So instead, we're just going to say, 'Gosh, these are rotten guys.' They have absolutely no evidence. There is not one indictment. There is not one charge." (TV show, 1/19/94)

 

CON 2

Walsh won indictments against 14 people in connection with the Iran-Contra scandal including leading Reagan administration officials like former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and former national security advisers Robert McFarlane and John Poindexter. Of the 14, 11 were convicted or pleaded guilty. (Two convictions were later overturned on technicalities--including that of occasional Limbaugh substitute Oliver North.)

 

PRO 3 Rush's answer to Fair

FAIR's actual report quotes me as saying, "This [Special Prosecutor Lawrence] Walsh story basically is, we just spent seven years and $40 million looking for any criminal activity on the part of anybody in the Reagan administration, and guess what? We couldn't find any. These guys didn't do anything; but we wish they had so we could nail them. So instead, we're going to say, Gosh, these are rotten guys.' They have absolutely no evidence. There is not one indictment. There is not one charge." I was painting a portrait of how ridiculous I thought Walsh's investigation was, pointing out that no one was ever proven to have broken laws vis-a-vis selling arms to Iran or providing funds to the Nicaraguan contras. I obviously misspoke when I said there were no indictments -- I clearly meant to say there were no convictions, a point I have made on many occasions. And I am exactly right that seven years and $40 million were spent to produce no convictions on the substantive points of the Iran-Contra charges. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III makes this case in his 1992 book, With Reagan: The Inside Story: "Despite all the rhetoric expended on this issue, it has never been settled in a court of law. The legal verdicts against North and Poindexter, which were subsequently overturned on appeal, were based on other, collateral issues. Likewise, other convictions that were obtained, generally on minor offenses, involved peripheral charges that had more to do with the investigation of the Iran-Contra affair than with the matter itself. To this day, the remaining funds from these transactions are impounded by the Swiss authorities, subject to competing claims from General Secord and the U.S. government. Thus, it is far from certain that the diversion was illegal -- and still less certain that any other parts of the Iran-Contra affair were criminal activity" (p. 286).

CON 4

Watch Rush Limbaugh backpedal. He originally said that there was "absolutely no evidence... not one indictment... not one charge" resulting from the Iran-contra investigation. Now he says, "I obviously misspoke when I said there were no indictments -- I clearly meant to say there were no convictions, a point I have made on many occasions." But he immediately begins backing off from that claim, since there were convictions -- nine, including guilty pleas, plus two other convictions that were reversed on technicalities. But these were not on "substantive points," Limbaugh says, or, as guest expert Ed Meese says, they were "generally on minor offenses." Are felony convictions minor?

 

 

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Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting The National Media Watch Group

 

 

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