Here’s the transcript of Howard Kurtz’ interview with Rush Limbaugh on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” There’s nothing surprising here. Kurtz doesn’t exactly throw Limbaugh a bunch of softballs; he doesn’t exactly hold him accountable for his “inflammatory” rhetoric either. I’d call it a fair and balanced interview (taking into account the constraints and structural biases of television). Here’s the exchange regarding the recent flap with Sen. Tom Daschle:
KURTZ: I want to come back to it, but first I want to ask you this. As you well know, some of your critics say that you can be inflammatory, that you can be mean spirited and Exhibit A lately is what you had to say about Tom Daschle about his criticism of the war on terrorism. I just want to read it.
What more do you want to do to destroy this country than you’ve already tried? Do you want your nickname to be Hanoi Tom, Tokyo Tom? Pretty rough stuff.
LIMBAUGH: To the arena of ideas, and he threw the brick, Howard. One of the things I think people who don’t listen to me regularly and therefore can’t listen in context, need to understand is I don’t attack anybody. I defend.
KURTZ: That’s not an attack?
LIMBAUGH: No, it’s a defense. He attacked my president. He attacked our effort in the war on terrorism. He said he sees no evidence of any victory because we haven’t gotten bin Laden. He’s out there broadcasting this to the world. This is getting such coverage who knows what kind of aid and comfort it might be providing the people that we’re attempting to bring to justice here, either legally or militarily. And to say we’re not having success is just not sure. Sixteen members of al Qaeda are dead or in jail of the 37 that are wanted at large. We’re making all kinds of success…
UPDATE (2:43 p.m.): Here’s how The Washington Times covered the interview.