Tag Archives: Rush Limbaugh

Miggs Burroughs, Rush Limbaugh, And The Brainwashing Of My Dad

In the 1980s, Miggs Burroughs listened to Rush Limbaugh on WABC.

The Westport artist — already a local celebrity — did not agree with the radio host’s politics. But Miggs found him funny, and appreciated his insights into what was percolating (“or not”) in conservatives’ minds.

(“This was way before he coined ‘femi-Nazi’ or became the offensive, pandering ultra-conservative he is today,” Miggs notes.)

Rush Limbaugh today.

Rush Limbaugh today.

In 1988, when Limbaugh went national — with more than 100 radio stations — Miggs invited him onto his public-access cable TV show, “MiggsB on TV.” (His interview subjects included folks like Westporters Martha Stewart and Patty Hearst.)

Miggs asked Rush via postcard, requesting he check one of several wacky reasons like “My career will implode” and “I will know what it’s like to have no one listen for a change.”

A week later in Grand Union, a woman breathlessly told Miggs, “Rush Limbaugh is talking about you on the radio!”

Miggs Burroughs today.

Miggs Burroughs today.

Rush had read Miggs’ postcard on the air, and asked his audience to vote on whether or not he should do the show.

Everyone said no — it was a stupid public access show, or Miggs was boring.

To his credit as a contrarian, Miggs says, Rush agreed. There was one stipulation: Miggs had to supply transportation to and from New York.

A friend of Miggs’ owned a limo company, so the deal was done.

On a freezing January night, they got ready to talk. Someone called in a bomb threat to Cablevision, so the two huddled outside for an hour. Rush had not worn an overcoat.

“He was a good sport, and very courteous,” Miggs recalls.

Rush Limbaugh and Miggs Burroughs, on the set in 1988.

Rush Limbaugh and Miggs Burroughs, on the set in 1988.

Because Rush had recently ranted about the homeless in New York, Miggs had set up a 3rd chair. He set a mannequin there, with a sign saying “Hug me, I’m homeless.”

Miggs also asked Westport prankster Alan Abel to call in with recipes for cooking the homeless that Rush would pull off the streets. Rush was a bit peeved, but stayed to the end.

That was that — or so Miggs thought.

About 2 years ago, movie director Jen Senko found Miggs’ interview with Rush on YouTube, and asked for the original tape. Miggs had no idea why.

Turns out she was researching her next film. “The Brainwashing of My Dad” is about how the media influenced her Democratic father to become a conservative.

Miggs forgot about the request, and went back to being Westport’s favorite pro bono graphic designer.

Then last year, Westporters Jim and Chris Corgel told Miggs they’d seen him in a movie at a film festival in Chicago. Yikes! he thought.

He still does not know which clip is used. He’s only seen the trailer:

But Miggs has high hopes. Senko has a good track record. Actor Matthew Modine (“Birdy, “Hotel New Hampshire,” “Weeds”) is one of the producers. The film has already won film festival prizes.

It premieres at the Cinema Village theater in New York on March 18. It will also be released on iTunes.

No word on whether Rush Limbaugh will mention it — or Miggs — on his show.

For Miggs Burroughs’ full interview with Rush Limbaugh, click below:

Brainwashing of My Dad

Miggs Burroughs’ “Rush” To Judgment

Rush Limbaugh is all over the news these days.

He’s a bully, a blowhard, and completely clueless about how birth control works.

But he wasn’t always like that.

In 1988, in fact, he went on TV to state his mission as a radio talk show host: “be informative without being dull, and entertaining without being abusive.” He vowed to stick to those values.

"Miggs B on TV," back in the day.

That was not just any TV show. It was “Miggs B on TV” — a long-running public access show on Cablevision of Connecticut, produced and hosted by Westport’s own Miggs Burroughs.

Miggs wears many hats. He’s a graphic designer, artist and photographer who donates his time and considerable talents to every organization that asks. (They all do.)

His TV show is just a sideline. But he books interviews with intriguing guests like Martha Stewart and Patty Hearst. Back in the Reagan Administration, he invited Rush Limbaugh onto the set. (And sent a driver for him.)

Limbaugh was then a highly rated host on WABC Talk Radio in New York. He also had a national show. He had not yet called women “sluts” and “feminazis,” and advertisers still paid to be associated with him.

In what may be Limbaugh’s 1st-ever TV interview, Media Matters reports, a caller asked if there were any subjects he found taboo “as far as making fun of them.”

His reply:

Rush Limbaugh, once upon a time.

I will not make fun of, nor will I tolerate anybody else to make jokes about the Lord. Or, I will not allow any jokes about anybody’s religion. I will not allow jokes about people’s ethnic background or racial background or anything.

I will make jokes about people’s attitudes. I’ll take shots at people’s beliefs and that kind of thing. But not, I won’t mess around at all with the private beliefs — faith, religion, race — you know, things that people can’t help. Hands off.

That was then. This is now.

Limbaugh regularly jokes about President Obama’s heritage, religious beliefs and race, Media Matters notes. He has mocked  Hu Jintao, and the way the Chinese president speaks.

Limbaugh also told Miggs that the formula for making listeners mad “hasn’t changed since Walter Winchell” — yet “people keep falling for it.”

Miggs Burroughs today.

Miggs was a polite host. He bantered with Limbaugh, though he made it clear his politics veered sharply from his guest’s.

Limbaugh thanked Miggs for inviting him, saying if he ever left New York, he’d “come to Connecticut.”

Between 1988 and earlier this year, Limbaugh got bigger in nearly every way. His influence, bank account and waistline all expanded enormously. The bigger he got, the more outspoken — and outlandish — he became. He called Barack Obama “the magic Negro,” accused Michael J. Fox of exaggerating his Parkinson’s, and equated a college student’s desire for access to birth control with a wish to be “paid to have sex.”

Rush Limbaugh today.

He is certainly not dull.

Whether he is informative is up for debate.

But it is clear that — despite his vow to Miggs Burroughs nearly a quarter-century ago — Rush Limbaugh no longer feels he can entertain listeners without being abusive.

Watch the full 1988 “Miggs B on TV” interview with Rush Limbaugh below:

Help Haiti

(Photo by Ivanoh Demers/Associated Press)

It usually takes just a minute or 2 to read an “06880” post.

Today, please spend that time donating to Haitian relief efforts.  One of the most well-organized — thanks in part to working in that impoverished country for over 25 years — is Westport-based Save the Children.

Click here to contribute through Save the Children’s secure website.  You can also donate by calling 203-221-4030 or 800-728-3843.

(If you’ve got a few extra seconds, click here to let Pat Robertson know how repugnant his comment was — that the earthquake was divine retribution, as Haiti made a pact with the devil by freeing itself from French rule.  You can also call Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network at 757-226-7000.)

(Ditto Rush Limbaugh:  “We’ve already donated to Haiti.  It’s called the U.S. income tax.”  Call 800-282-2882, or email ElRushbo@eibnet.com.)