A Rush to Ruin
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When the people who want to marginalize and then silence Limbaugh start a public-relations campaign, the liberal media has even ignored the basics of Journalism 101. In a September 26, 2007 conversation with a caller to his program who claimed the media never interview âreal soldiers,â but just âthese soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.â Limbaugh interjected, âThe phony soldiers.â Less than two minutes after that exchange, Limbaugh elaborated on what he had meant, explaining exactly who he was thinking about when he offered the term: Jesse Macbeth, a left-wing hero on YouTube for describing the horrors heâd seen American troops commit â but was then charged and convicted of falsifying a military record and falsely applying for veteransâ benefits. Heâd never served overseas, and was dismissed from boot camp. ABCâs Brian Ross had done a story several nights earlier, and called Macbeth a âphony soldier.â
The left and Democrats im Congress then mangled Limbaughâs comments to claim he had said that any servicemen or women who might oppose the war in Iraq in public had been defamed by the talk show host as âphony soldiers.â They typically made no reference to the actual âphony soldiersâ Limbaugh was talking about.
â âRadio talk show host Rush Limbaugh says veterans who support withdrawing the troops are âphony soldiers.â Those are his words.â
âWelcome back to Hardball. Democrats in Congress are going after Rush Limbaugh after the radio talk show host called those who served in Iraq but then came home to oppose the Bush administrationâs war policy as âphony soldiers.ââ
âLet me go to Ed Schultz on that. Do you think Rush Limbaugh was right to call people who opposed the war who have served âphony soldiersâ?â
â MSNBCâs Chris Matthews on Hardball on September 28, 2007.
â Chris Matthews: âI think think you both agree that itâs wrong for any commentator to refer to pol-, the political views of soldiers who come back having faced the action and been shot at and, in many cases wounded, that they have a right to speak in this country, generally. Donât you agree with that, Heidi?â
Talk show host Heidi Harris: âAbsolutely.â
Matthews: âSo weâre agreed, so we all disagree with Rush Limbaugh.â
â MSNBCâs Hardball on September 28, 2007.
â Host Keith Olbermann: âComedian Rush Limbaugh tries to back out of his quote: Servicemen protesting the war are quote âphony soldiers.ââ
Rush Limbaugh: âI never said what you think I said.â
Olbermann: âNot only did he, now he said something similar about the Congressman and Vietnam vet Jack Murtha.â
â MSNBCâs Countdown, September 28, 2007.
â âA top Democrat is coming out guns blazing against conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Itâs an angry new shot in the dispute over the war in Iraq and Limbaughâs charge that some veterans who are criticizing the war are, in his words, quote, âphony soldiers.ââ
â CNNâs Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room, October 1, 2007.
â âWhy donât you just brush off these comments by Limbaugh, like an annoying gnat, instead of legitimizing them and bringing more attention to them?â
â Co-host Meredith Vieira to former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark, who was pushing to get Limbaugh removed from Armed Forces Radio, on NBCâs Today, October 3, 2007.
âPhony soldiersâ were only an interesting comment when Democrats were trying to get Limbaugh marginalized. A Nexis database search at that time found no story on the scandalous, falsifying career of Jesse Macbeth on CBS, NBC, NPR, Time, Newsweek, USA Today, The Washington Post, or The New York Times. Vieira wasnât kidding when she suggested NBC was going to treat his charges like he was an âannoying gnat.â
Then came Limbaughâs current bid to seek ownership of the St. Louis Rams. On October 7, the demonization began with St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports writer Bryan Burwell, whose column demonized the entire country, as he claimed these words were Limbaughâs: âI mean, letâs face it, we didnât have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: Slavery built the South. Iâm not saying we should bring it back. Iâm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.â Burwell then added: âI know how those words play out in Idiot America. They are embraced as gospel.â But NFL players wouldnât tolerate them, he said. No one asked them to tolerate them, and no one in the media seemed to ask Burwell to actually verify them with an airdate or an audio clip.
When the Post-Dispatch backed away from the claim, Burwell was completely unashamed of his recklessness: âSo what are we left with? Well, essentially, I think we just threw a deck chair off the Titanic. There is still a huge pile of polarizing, bigoted debris stacked up on the deck of the good ship Limbaugh that he canât deny or even remotely distance himself from.â
The Post-Dispatch found the quote came from a book by liberal author Jack Huberman called 101 People Who Are Really Screwing America (a concept and title ripped off from author and former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg, whose original was 101 People Who Are Really Screwing Up America). Huberman has also written the books Bushit and The Bush-Hater Handbook, edited the book The Quotable Atheist, and has titled his weblog âWell to the Left of Attila the Hun.â But he was an agreeable source for the liberal media.
The national onslaught began on October 11, when MSNBC welcomed Dave Zirin of the radical magazine The Nation to spread the quote that Limbaugh believed âslavery had its merits.â Zirin, who was described only as a âsportswriter,â charged that players âdon't want an owner who has said slavery was a good thing because it made the streets safer.â Anchor Contessa Brewer accepted the claim as true, wondering about Limbaughâs bid: âIs there anything the NFL commissioner, or anybody else for that matter, can do to stop it?â Zirin added that NFL players âdon't to see a swine owning a ram.â He closed the interview by deriding the radio host as someone who has âopen, publicly-stated contempt for people with dark skin.â MSNBC didnât ask him why Limbaugh has often used black professor Walter Williams as a substitute host on his radio show.
Later that day, MSNBCâs David Shuster repeated a version of the fabricated quote. âAn NFL spokesman says the Rams have not agreed to sell to anyone and that there are other bidders. Meantime, the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Farrior says Limbaugh should be denied the privilege of owning an NFL franchise for comments like âslavery had its merits.ââ The on-screen graphic ran the fake quote âSlavery Had Its Meritsâ and the source was âCited by James Farrior, Pittsburgh Steelers.â
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez joined in on Monday afternoon: âLimbaughâs perceived racist diatribes are too many to name. Hereâs a sample. He once declared that âslavery built the South. Iâm not saying we should bring it back. Iâm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.ââ The on-screen graphic offered this incredibly vague footnote âRush Limbaugh On The Radio.â
On Tuesday afternoon, Sanchez returned to the subject, not to retract the quote or offer any evidence of its authenticity, but merely to note that they had run the quote the day before and read Rush Limbaughâs denial that he ever uttered the quote. Sanchez dismissed the idea of accuracy as germane, as long as black liberals remained offended: âObviously, that does not take away the fact that there are other quotes which have been attributed to Rush Limbaugh, which many people in the African-American community and many other minority communities do find offensive.â
MSNBC merely repeated the phony quote on Tuesday. Anchor Tamron Hall said NFL players âcite Limbaughâs litany of racially charged remarks over the years and those include, quote, him saying this, âSlavery has its merits.â That is a quote.â Hall then had the audacity to claim that âDavid [Shuster] and I are very careful about this, because you do not know a personâs heart. You cannot speak for a personâs motivation. But you can use their words in defining their character.â
Hallâs guest, Karen Hunter, compounded the fake quotes: âHe even said that Dr. Martin Luther King, his killer, James Earl Ray should have a medal given to him, a medal of honor given to him. He says, âWe miss you, James.â You can go online as to the top ten Rush Limbaugh racist comments.â The absurd charge that Limbaugh praised the convicted killer of Martin Luther King also emerged from Jack Hubermanâs 101 People book. When you get called racist by the guy who says the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. should get the Medal of Honor, consider yourself honored. Also, nauseated.â