A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 18, 2011
Raspberry Effect

Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh often refers to a media “Raspberry Effect.” On February 1, 1993, Washington (DC) Post columnist William Raspberry (1935-2012) wrote a column critical of Rush Limbaugh, titled “Rush to Judgment.” Raspberry then read Limbaugh’s book and listened to a few of his radio shows. In a second column on February 12, 1993, titled “Rush to Judgment (cont’d),” Raspberry apologized to Limbaugh and said that Limbaugh was not a bigot (as liberals had told themselves).

The “Raspberry Effect” means to form an opinion about someone based on the preconceived political biases, but without listening to that person. Limbaugh coined the term “Raspberry Effect” in 1993 and still uses it, but it’s been seldom used outside of his show.


Wikipedia: William Raspberry
William Raspberry (October 12, 1935 – July 17, 2012) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated American public affairs columnist. He was also the Knight Professor of the Practice of Communications and Journalism at the Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University. An African American, he frequently wrote on racial issues.

Rush to judgment
Raspberry, William; The Washington Post; Feb 1, 1993; A19.

Rush to judgment (cont’d)
Raspberry, William; The Washington Post; Feb 12, 1993; A27.

Google News Archive
3 February 1993, Mount Airy (PA) News, “Opinions OK, Despite Who Else They Please” by William Raspberry, pg. 4, cols. 3-5:
WASHINGTON—“Did you know that Rush Limbaugh has been talking about your column on the radio?”

From the caller’s tone, he might have been informing me that he’d seen David Duke terrorizing innocent pedestrians in my car.

“He was PRAISING it,” the caller added, sounding now as though accusing me of deliberately lending Duke my wheels.
(...)
But what bothered me far more than Limbaugh’s praise was my young caller’s implicit syllogism: Limbaugh is a bigot. Bigots distort the truth. Therefore, if Limbaugh agrees with it, it must be false—no matter how sensible it seemed at first to be.

Google News Archive
19 February 1993, Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, pg. 10A, col. 3:
WILLIAM RASPBERRY
Sorry, Rush
A sharp tongue does not a bigot make

WASHINGTON.
I’ve been doing penance. I’ve listened to major portions of two Rush Limbaugh radio shows, I’ve done some heavy browsing of his new book, The Way Things Ought to Be, and now I’m finally ready to say it:

Rush, I’m sorry.

Google Groups: alt.rush-limbaugh
Newsgroups: alt.fan.rush-limbaugh, alt.rush-limbaugh
From: (John Switzer)
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1993 16:50:57 GMT
Local: Tues, Mar 9 1993 11:50 am
Subject: Summary Mon 3/8/93

Since Rush tries to keep focused on his audience, he thus doesn’t worry too much about these critics, especially since the criticism has not hurt him professionally at all. The way he’s been dealing with these things recently can be illustrated by the column which William Raspberry recently wrote which claimed Rush was a “bigot” who throws “raw meat” to his listeners.

Raspberry was deluged by mail from readers who were both fans of his and Rush, and because their letters were well-written and thoughtful, Raspberry decided to listen to Rush’s show for himself. He then wrote a second column which apologized for his earlier remarks, stating that although he and Rush had differing opinions, Rush was not the nazi-like bigot he originally thought. A Seattle columnist also recently wrote a “mea culpa” column like this, displaying what Rush now calls “the Raspberry effect.”

Google Groups: alt.fan.rush-limbaugh
Newsgroups: alt.fan.rush-limbaugh, alt.rush-limbaugh
From:
Date: 24 Mar 93 17:21:08 -0600
Local: Wed, Mar 24 1993 6:21 pm
Subject: Re: In search of the “Raspberry Effect”

A while back I wrote:

> Anybody out there know when (and in what form) William
> Raspberry’s retraction of his Feb. 1st Washington Post
> column (ironically titled “Rush To Judgement") ran?
[...]
> Please help…

Well, it seems the retraction was aptly titled:
“Rush To Judgement (Cont’d)”
and it ran in the Feb. 12th issue of the Washington Post.

Thanks to Joseph Dougherty for the information.

Google Groups: alt.fan.rush-limbaugh
Newsgroups: alt.fan.rush-limbaugh
From:
Date: 23 Apr 93 14:45:06 -0600
Local: Fri, Apr 23 1993 3:45 pm
Subject: Limbaugh Institute Research Update

Exhibit A, was, of course, an instance of the Raspberry Effect, in which otherwise logically reasoning liberals will write all manner of derisive and scathing remarks about Rush and his audience based only upon what their friends tell them, and without actually listening/watching the show themselves.  The name of this phenomenon (although appropriate for other reasons) comes from the name of the Washington Post columnist William Raspberry who launched into a premature condemnatory diatribe against Rush earlier this year, in a column ironically titled “Rush To Judgement,” and then bravely and honorably retracted his invective a week or two later, after he’d actually listened to the radio show.

Google Groups: alt.sports.football.pro.denver-broncos
Newsgroups: alt.sports.football.pro.denver-broncos
From: “mcgozer”
Date: Thu, 02 Oct 2003 01:20:10 GMT
Local: Wed, Oct 1 2003 8:20 pm
Subject: Re: Rush Limbaugh: Idiot, racist, or both?

I didn’t miss your point. Perhaps you can find the two columns written by William Raspberry several years ago. He berated Rush Limbaugh in the first for his racism. When he was asked to prove his point, to back up his claim he had to do research. He listened to hours of Limbaugh’s shows, read his book, and watched several episodes of his TV show. He wrote a second column apologizing to Rush for having written the first column based on what he had heard about Rush, rather than basing it on listening to Rush. He took it all back. Rush, to this day, calls it the Raspberry effect when he is subjected to bad press by those who don’t know his material, then have to retract what they said after having researched it. BTW, if it matters to anyone, Raspberry is a black columnist.

RushLimbaugh.com
CNN’s John King Repudiates His Own Random Act of Journalism
October 18, 2011
RUSH: To the audio sound bites.  John King, ladies and gentlemen, CNN. This is good.  John King, CNN, has repudiated his own random act of journalism because I praised it.  This has to be heard to believe. The Raspberry Effect, William Raspberry, a former columnist of the Washington Post, he wrote a piece highly critical of me based on things he had heard people say.  Then one day he decided, “you know what, I’m gonna listen,” and William Raspberry listened to the program and basically retracted the criticisms that he had offered, saying, “I didn’t hear anything that sounded like the criticisms I had been told.” So the Raspberry Effect, if you actually listen to the program, you have a far different impression of it than if you just listen to people describe it to you who have never listened either, who have an agenda. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Tuesday, October 18, 2011 • Permalink