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No, Rush Limbaugh, Austin Isn’t Banning BBQ

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Yesterday Rush Limbaugh ran with a bogus story about Austin banning barbecue. The transcript now on his website, entitled “The Left Declares War on BBQ” echoes a bunch of outdated material from a recent blog post on “I Am A Texan,” which reported that the Austin City Council was banning barbecue. That’s not true.

I wanted to figure out why so many people have been asking me about Austin’s impending barbecue ban over the last week, and now I know. The hack(s) at I Am A Texan (IAAT) were first brought to my attention for plagiarism of two barbecue stories of mine. A quick look at some other recent stories shows they don’t much care about stealing content based on this uplifting Cafe Momentum story they lifted two weeks ago from inspiremore.com.

In their recent doomsday barbecue article, IAAT notes that Aaron Franklin told Eater, “If this resolution passes, we would be forced to close or move. It would destroy Austin barbecue.” Franklin did say that, and it was a big news day, but that was four months ago. They didn’t pass the resolution he was commenting on, but who would know that after IAAT shared it with their 274K Facebook followers who dutifully shared it enough that Rush Limbaugh took hold of it. Mind you, this is an article that states without irony “I suggest you get your barbecue from Austin as soon as possible so you can tell your descendants how good it was before communism took over.”

Here’s Limbaugh’s fresh take on it from yesterday’s show:

And then some bright-eyed liberal saw the amount of money and power and control that could be available to them if they mandated every barbecue restaurant to have these smoke suppressors. That’s power, man! That is control. And don’t think there isn’t money changing hands on the extending of these permits and what have you.  I mean, the regulation — the local regulation, zoning and all that — of American society by the American left is one of the greatest economic engine killers there has ever been invented.

Here’s the problem. No laws were passed. No smoke suppressors were purchased. Austin is not banning barbecue, but maybe a little background information is in order.

In March of this year, the City of Austin was in an uproar about smoke barbecue smoke emissions (which I reported on). Council member Pio Renteria received complaints about barbecue smoke from some residents, and proposed a city code revision. In April, Pio Renteria looked dazed at the big council hearing where the resolution was debated. By that time, the real teeth were already gone from the proposed resolution. Words like “exhaust systems” and “smoke scrubbers” had been replaced by the vague “mitigate the impact of smoke emissions.” It didn’t pass, and was moved to committee. In May, the City Council dropped the matter. The Health & Human Services committee is scheduled to discuss it in a few days, but a ban on barbecue is not on the agenda.

All this is to tell you that Rush Limbaugh’s fact checkers are about as skilled as a high percentage of IAAT’s Facebook fans, which is not very much. Barbecue is safe in Austin, but at least we get this great typo (which is better out of context) straight from Limbaugh’s own transcript. “I had one particular room where I smoked and my orifice.”

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  • JR

    Mr. Vaughn, I’m a big fan of this site and read every article posted on it. This one, however, missed the mark. If you would have edited out the sarcastic, ad hominem attacks and simply stuck with the facts, it would have been much more persuasive. Instead, I’m left wondering what your point was. Were you more interested in being an authoritative ambassador of smoked meat and in clearing up misconceptions about recent current events regarding barbecue ordinances in Austin, or were you aiming to score some cheap points with the anti-Rush crowd? If it was the latter, keep in mind that many Rush Limbaugh fans love brisket, too. Rise above the fray, Mr. Vaughn, and unite us barbecue lovers! That is when you are the most interesting–and the most compelling.

    • I don’t care if it was Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, or your local NPR station. When someone takes a story to a national audience, and their only source is an outdated blog post throwing around blatant untruths about barbecue, they should be called out. There are thousands of people who now believe Austin is banning barbecue smokers because they listened to his show and heard this report from a dubious source that made it through the show’s fact-checking process. I think we should all be in the crowd that finds reporting untruths about the barbecue in our state unacceptable.

    • RF

      They stole his article and then used it falsely to attack the city of Austin. Should he not be critical. Kinder than I would have been…

  • Thomas

    Well, JR when any site blatantly uses someone else’s work for their own, which is illegal, they deserve all the sarcasm they get. Rush failing to do any fact checking he should get all the cheap shots one can muster. You defending a site that deliberately stole someone’s hard work and Rush for not doing any fact checking says a lot to anyone reading this.

    Thanks for all your hard work Mr Vaughn.

    • JR

      Thomas, I didn’t even mention IAAT, much less defend them. Their actions speak for themselves.

    • Carl

      “Stole?” He very fucking clearly said attributed the article, named where it was originally published, named the author, and accurately quoted the story in every instance. You’re a fucking idiot. Vaughn is just using Rush’s name in an attempt to fan his fading embers.

      • Carl – Their site is full of copied and pasted material from other websites. There are three Texas Monthly stories on the site (two of which I wrote) that I’ve asked them to take down, but they remain. I didn’t accuse anyone of stealing the bogus story about Austin banning BBQ. It’s just made-up malarkey that didn’t come from our site.

  • JR

    No doubt about that. I just find that persuasion works much better than humiliation. Doesn’t it make more sense to educate people than to call them out? Dial into his show and explain the situation to his call screener. This might gain you some air time, which would give you a national platform to point out the truth in a respectful way to Limbaugh and his national audience. Doing so would broaden your authority as a subject-matter expert and present you a golden opportunity to bring tmbbqsandbox.wpengine.com many new readers. Attempting to embarrass him and his fact checkers online could have the exact opposite effect. Know what I’m saying?

    • LE

      Wait a second. Rush going off on a (wrong, ill-informed) screed doesn’t cause you any concern, but the tone in which Daniel Vaughn corrected the record does? Limbaugh’s entire stock-in-trade is “sarcastic, ad hominem attacks.” But that’s only a problem when somebody else is doing it?

      Reasoned discourse requires two parties to participate.

      • Carl

        Read the whole transcript. Limbaugh quoted the story from another source and took a caller who gave a “first-hand” interpretation challenging the story. If Vaughn wanted to challenge anyone, he should challenge the original authors of all the stories that have been published all over the internet; instead, Vaughn chooses to attack Limbaugh he wants some click-bait.

        • I did challenge the original author for a made up story, and Limbaugh for using this single bad source without any research. You can’t just search the internet for bogus stories, report them as fact, then hide behind “I was just quoting another person’s story. Not my fault.”

  • Billy

    Great article. Rush Limbaugh is known to be a complete liar and will say anything to make you think that the Socialist Apocalypse is upon us. Thanks for clarifying his trash with facts.

    • Aaron

      Be careful who you believe is telling you the truth. Don’t be so blind my friend, rush and IAAT are correct, this site is wrong. The decision will be made by a committee on Aug 3. http://acahnman.blogspot.com/2015/07/austin-city-council-reconsidering-bbq.html?m=1

      • Jeff S

        Whoops guess not.

        Those of us who don’t live in the left vs right world of idiots win again.

        BBQ should be off limits to partisan hackery.

  • Dave

    He and his fact checkers embarrassed themselves by using bogus info to promote their own agenda. Pointing it out isn’t the embarrassing part. The fact that it happened in the first place is what’s embarrassing. I would be shocked to hear an on-air redaction.

  • Jerry

    In reply to JR, for one thing, the comments by Rush Lim are themselves sarcastic, ad hominem attacks on the “liberals” running Austin. So, how is it that you find Daniels comments offensive when he points out the absolute falsity of a national/international broadcast by someone not concerned with accuracy, but with smearing “the left” with falsehoods?? Where is your outrage over that? Your political color is showing.
    I think it is important that garbage media be called out every time they produce garbage that is false and used for political gain as Rush and Co did here and does often. So, thank you Daniel for bringing us the facts. You may have spiced them up a bit, but, you cared enough to bring facts to the table, something Rush has no desire to do. He doesn’t even take comments where someone could point out the utter falsehoods in his stories. Don’t you wonder why that is?

  • JR

    My goodness! I seem to have stirred up a hornet’s nest. My point is that this is a blog about bbq, not about politics. I guess I was wrong. Can anyone point me to a bbq blog? I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere.

    • I think the comments section has become the political portion of the blog post. Challenging a radio talk show host for being wrong about a barbecue story is not a political act.

  • Jake Wiseman

    Nice post dispelling a stupid myth and calling out a plagiarist.

    But the funniest thing about this post is the idea that Rush has fact-checkers. Ha!

  • Dylan Tynan

    On Monday (3 days ago), I left a comment on that BBQ article on the “I am a Texan” blog and explained that that idea was killed in committee, etc.

    And, as of right now, it is still “awaiting moderation”. Of course.

  • EP

    That was fun how Mr. Vaughn proved JR’s point. I think I’d like to read more from JR instead, seems much more mature, intelligent, eloquent. Sorry, Mr. Vaughn, but I’ve noticed you and your colleagues at Texas Monthly have a rapidly diminishing level of credibility. I think I’ll stop following you now.

    • DW

      We get it, EP. You’re a Rush fan pretending you’re a regular TMBBQ reader who is now giving up on same because of the horrible treatment of Rush in this article.

      Everyone knows you don’t really read TMBBQ…if you did there’s no way this article could actually offend you.

      Go away and quit lying.

  • BKMcK

    Well done Daniel. Hopefully this acts as a line in the sand and incites The Lunatic Fringe to exit the BBQ community forever.

    • Aaron

      Lunatic fringe? Kinda scary words, the kind you’d use describing terrorists, cannibals or other lunatics.
      Reminds me of a few quotes. One in particular. Paraphrasing George Orwell.
      The more a society is sold a lie, the more it hates those who speak the truth.
      Referring to otherwise normal people as the “lunatic fringe” sounds a bit like hate to me. I’m just guessing you consider yourself a ‘tolerant’ person though, so it couldn’t be hate…..

      • Jeff S

        Lunatic fringe is referring to the people who live in their own reality, left or right. Most of us exist in a reality where left vs right isn’t trying to dominate the world, while the other side tries to destroy. You should try it sometime.

  • gtr

    Great article. I’ve been amazed to see how many people will make grand statements based on a few scraps of information that is easily found to be untrue. There are people on all sides of the political spectrum who will never allow facts to interfere with their beliefs.

  • Haikunick

    I’m glad I found your article on a google search because my right-wing republican friend posted the blog link to his facebook feed and didn’t bother to source it. A claim so outrageous needs at least a google search before sharing, and the click bait nature of the web site made the whole thing fake to start with. (inspiring a google search) So thank you for taking the time to create an article I could find to put that guy back in his place. The lame thing is, that after sharing the inaccuracy of the story, he hasn’t deleted the post. Haters gonna hate.

  • RDS

    After moving to TX from LA I largely gave up my seafood for TX BBQ. I love the TMBBQ site and have found it a treasure trove of BBQ info. It has been a fun ride familiarizing myself with all the BBQ joints, styles, etc. One of the neat things about TX is that there seems to be a BBQ joint near every interstate exit. You’ve really helped make BBQ my new hobby and because it was in TX that I was introduced to it I’m very partial to TX BBQ.

    That said, I don’t think your fat rendered on your reading of Rush’s transcript. I didn’t hear the broadcast but did read the transcript linked via TMBBQ.

    Nowhere in the linked transcript does Rush state or imply that Austin has banned BBQ. He used the recent events in Austin as a launching pad to speak to liberal control strategies and how some will see the smoke complaints as an opportunity to introduce regulations. So what facts were there to check? Were there not debates that could have impacted BBQ joints in Austin? Also, you failed to mention that the transcript included a caller who clarified the issue (why this omission?). Finally, the use of “orifice” was not a typo. That you thought it such underscores how poorly you’ve read the transcript.

  • Shawn

    I guess the point being made that this liberal point of view even made as far as a council meeting is lost. How did it even get that far? Oh Austin, maybe you should be scared of your BBQ….the liberals are come…they are here…and they want control.

    • Jeff S

      City council has the responsibility to look at all citizens complaints, no matter how much they don’t care or don’t want to.

      That’s kind of how the system works.

  • john

    Blah blah blah blah blah…. think I’ll go make myself a brisket sandwich.

  • Kerry

    Y’all are welcome to come to Georgia for some REAL BBQ.

  • JustAnotherBBQLover

    RDS and JR are on the right track. I’ve been following Vaughn for years now and his left wing bias shows up frequently in his articles. The guy’s in bed with ANTHONY BOURDAIN, for crying out loud.

    When Robb Walsh isn’t rubbing you down with stories about how BBQ was stolen from African Americans who were the “first” bbq’ers in the state (while ironically informing you how German and Czech immigrants brought their meat smoking and sausage making skills over here from Germany), Vaughn is spritzing you up with stories about how female pitmasters are overshadowed by their male peers. Nevermind the fact that there’s way more men interested in being pitmasters per capita than women….but who cares about that anyway, right?

    I’d appreciate it if you could inject more BBQ into your brisket articles and trim away the bits and pieces of political correctness Mr. Vaughn.

    That being said, the rest of your work is to be highly commended. For that you have my respect. I ordered your book the day it was came out, and look forward to having you sign it for me someday.

    Good day.

  • Aaron

    You are so quick to label others as hacks, be careful when you live in a glass house Mr. Vaughn. You accuse IAAT of plagurism, but offer no link or a shred of evidence. You harp on IAAT, their followers and Rush for not “fact checking.” But of course you are just as guilty. Amazing how a quick Google search found a number of stories corroborating IAAT’S story that YES, the “BBQ smoke regulating measure” is indeed still alive. It is now a matter for a select group of committee members to decide on Aug. 3. The left’s favorite way cramming unwanted laws down our throats, behind closed doors. Such a shame that the “fact checkers” at your site were unable or unwilling to take 5 minutes and head over to google. Here is just one site for confirmation that the hack (s) at IAAT are more accurate than yourself. ahttp://acahnman.blogspot.com/2015/07/austin-city-council-reconsidering-bbq.html?m=1

  • Ron Raines

    You guys need to see the updates on this story. The city council is bringing the ban back up but doing it in private.

  • jim

    Well, I’ve posted a link that shows you are wrong on several counts. Wonder if it will be approved. Hope you enjoy being sued. Some Quotes from said link (First, Rush Limbaugh picked up on the story that we broke last week in regards Austin’s City Council reviving their nefarious scheme to ban barbecue restaurants (ok, put smoke scrubbers in smokers which would raise the cost of business so high it would put even Franklin BBQ out of business according to Aaron Franklin.)

    Then the local Austin media went crazy. They called us liars. They called us hacks. Texas Monthly even went so far as to accuse me of plagiarism of their story back in April. (They didn’t include a link, conveniently to the story they claim was plagiarized. My story was of such a conservative bent that the liberal rag that is Texas Monthly would never have run it anyways, and plus, I have proof that I wrote every word, down to the revision history on my WORD document.)

    Also, Daniel Vaughn over at Texas Monthly called us “hacks” and accused us of plagiarism. I don’t know what qualifies as a hack, but I would assume it would be somebody who claims to be a journalist who doesn’t actually check facts, but I digress. As for the direct accusation of plagiarism, I have waited to publish this article because I wanted my attorney to be aware and have a plan of action in place. Mr Vaughn and the rest of you editors over at the Texas Monthly liberal rag, expect to hear from our attorney early next week. You’re not going to like what she has to say.

    • Jeff S

      Could you guys comment on how you arrived at the $100k in modifications number? Aaron Franklin was quoted about this, “Franklin estimates the cost of such a system would run between $15,000 and $20,000, which he says is not an option for even his hyper-successful business.”

      So where does your $100k number come from?

  • Thomas Spaulding

    City Of Austin Health & Human Services Committe Meeting Agenda for Monday, August 3rd…item #5. It has morphed into a food service permit application addendum. Not in general Council chambers and not publicly accessible.


  • Thomas Spaulding

    sorry, #4 now.

  • Kirk

    IAAT updated their entry. It seems the bbq ban is being moved forward with a closed door session today 8/3 by the Austin City Council, in conjunction with Austin’s Public Health department. If this is true, does it change your POV Vaughan? As a journalist, shouldn’t you make a few calls to confirm? If you don’t perform due diligence, doesn’t that make you a Hack?

    • Jeff S

      You guy are so angry your little conspiracy theory isn’t true, that you’re acting like spoiled brats. Grow up.

  • BKMcK