"Media Matters" But Not The Truth

I don't even like Rush Limbaugh, but it's clear what he said about "phony soldiers". I'm not sure why Media Matters can't get it correct. Maybe because they don't want to.

Update: Who's calling who a phony? Huh, moveon.org?

Update 10/5/2007: There are many "phony soldiers" that the government is investigating.

Why would Rush Limbaugh say that all soldiers who are against the war are "phony soldiers"? They're not. Rush knows it. I don't know why he would say that. But I don't have to try to figure out why, because HE DIDN'T SAY THAT.

Media Matters has this to say about itself on its website:
Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.
At least they openly admit that they're only working at "correcting conservative misinformation". They're pretty diligent at "monitoring" what the conservatives are saying, but they suck at "analyzing" it and "correcting" it.
Media Matters went "ape poop" over something that Rush Limbaugh supposedly said (but didn't). You have to admit, they can really cover their own tracks (of hating General Petraeus and those who serve with distinction) if they can get mud like this to stick.

It became so important to Congress that they actually took up official business on the subject.
Democratic Sens. Harry Reid (Nev.) and John Kerry (Mass.) have denounced Limbaugh, and Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) introduced a resolution in Congress, "Honoring all Americans serving in the Armed Forces of the United States and condemning the attack by broadcaster Rush Limbaugh on the integrity and professionalism of some of those Americans."
What a charade! Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be proud. Wait a second...he IS proud.

Here's what actually happened:
On his Sept. 26 show, where the controversy started, Limbaugh spoke with a caller and referred to "the phony soldiers." After the call finished, Limbaugh told his audience: "Here is a Morning Update that we did recently, talking about fake soldiers. This is a story of who the left props up as heroes. They have their celebrities and one of them was Army Ranger Jesse MacBeth. Now, he was a 'corporal,' I say in quotes. Now, recently, Jesse Macbeth, poster boy for the anti-war left, had his day in court. And you know what? He was sentenced to five months in jail and three years probation for falsifying a Department of Veterans Affairs claim and his Army discharge record. He was in the Army. Jesse Macbeth was in the Army, folks -- briefly -- 44 days before he washed out of boot camp. Jesse Macbeth isn't an Army Ranger, never was. He isn't a corporal, never was. He never won the Purple Heart, and he was never in combat to witness the horrors he claimed to have seen. You probably haven't even heard about this. And, if you have, you haven't heard much about it. This doesn't fit the narrative and the template in the Drive-By Media and the Democrat Party as to who is a genuine war hero...."
Media Matters knows it. The part of their web site description that they're really good at?


Update: Investor's Business Daily correctly points out that those doing the most damage to America are those calling General Petraeus a phony. (Anti-American Americans: This is where you get out your pom-poms!!!) Interestingly, Media Matters thought BowelMovement.org's recent campaign against Petraeus was a jolly good show!!! Class, let's see if we can focus on the real issue here. Media Matters thinks Petraeus is a phony, but deflects that by claiming Rush said something about American troops that he never said.

In the first annual Phonyrama, the score stands at Media Matters 2, Rush Limbaugh 0.

Update 10/5/2007: CNSNews reports that the government is looking into the cases of 60 different "phony soldiers".


  1. I'm not sure how such an obviously partisan group can keep their non-profit status.

  2. Frank, did you read the real transcript or the transcript that was edited to get Limbaugh off the hook? He said it.

  3. LIMBAUGH: Another Mike, this one in Olympia, Washington. Welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.

    CALLER 2: Hi Rush, thanks for taking my call.

    LIMBAUGH: You bet.

    CALLER 2: I have a retort to Mike in Chicago, because I am a serving American military, in the Army. I've been serving for 14 years, very proudly.

    LIMBAUGH: Thank you, sir.

    CALLER 2: And, you know, I'm one of the few that joined the Army to serve my country, I'm proud to say, not for the money or anything like that. What I would like to retort to is that, if we pull -- what these people don't understand is if we pull out of Iraq right now, which is about impossible because of all the stuff that's over there, it'd take us at least a year to pull everything back out of Iraq, then Iraq itself would collapse, and we'd have to go right back over there within a year or so. And --

    LIMBAUGH: There's a lot more than that that they don't understand. They can't even -- if -- the next guy that calls here, I'm gonna ask him: Why should we pull -- what is the imperative for pulling out? What's in it for the United States to pull out? They can't -- I don't think they have an answer for that other than, "Well, we just gotta bring the troops home."

    CALLER 2: Yeah, and, you know what --

    LIMBAUGH: "Save the -- keep the troops safe" or whatever. I -- it's not possible, intellectually, to follow these people.

    CALLER 2: No, it's not, and what's really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.

    LIMBAUGH: The phony soldiers.

    CALLER 2: The phony soldiers. If you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve. They want to be over in Iraq. They understand their sacrifice, and they're willing to sacrifice for their country.

    LIMBAUGH: They joined to be in Iraq. They joined --

    CALLER 2: A lot of them -- the new kids, yeah.

    LIMBAUGH: Well, you know where you're going these days, the last four years, if you signed up. The odds are you're going there or Afghanistan or somewhere.

    CALLER 2: Exactly, sir.

    Source: Yep. Media Matters.

  4. Richard,

    Thank you for the real transcript. Yes, I had seen that. What is your point? That you can read Rush Limbaugh's mind?

  5. In context, he clearly says that soldiers who think it's a good idea to withdraw from Iraq are "phony soldiers." That includes at least two Army major generals I could name.

    In the transcript Limbaugh clearly says he thinks anyone who signs up must support the war because they know they are going to Iraq or Afghanistan. What about the seven 82d Airborne soldiers who wrote an op-ed in the New York Times last August? Are they phony soldiers? One is wounded now and two are dead. They went to Iraq and saw it was a fiasco.

    On September 28, Limbaugh specifically said he thinks Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) is a phony soldier because he raised questions about the killing of unarmed civilians in Haditha. Murtha is a retired Marine officer who earned the Bronze Star for Valor, two Purple Hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.

  6. This comes right from Media Matters' own web site:

    In asserting that he was originally "talking about a genuine phony soldier," Limbaugh went on to state: "And by the way, Jesse MacBeth's not the only one. How about this guy Scott Thomas who was writing fraudulent, phony things in The New Republic about atrocities he saw that never happened? How about Jack Murtha blanketly accepting the notion that Marines at Haditha engaged in wanton murder of innocent children and civilians?"

    How is Scott Thomas NOT a phony? How in light of recent events regarding Haditha can John Murtha NOT be considered a phony? And don't give me the regurgitated crap about his war heroism. That is to be respected in its own right, but that was then, and this is now, and now he is a phony.

    Where did Rush Limbaugh say that all soldiers against the war are phony. Read the ENTIRE Media Matters "expose'" and tell me where...seriously, where...he said that all soldiers against the war are phony. That is pure poppycock.

  7. Sorry Richard but Media Matters "gotcha" moment just doesn't do it for me.

    In the context of the program he was clearly talking about this fake soldier Mr. MacBeth. I actually enjoy listening to Limbaugh's show...I disagree about 60% of the time but I enjoy his program. He has spoken on air several times to soldiers who disagree with the war and he is always polite and respectful.

    Media Matters is attempting to create an issue that just isn't there. They've succeeded apparently but that doesn't make them right.

  8. Limbaugh was very clearly saying that real soldiers are phonies if they hold viewpoints at odds with the Bush administration (and Limbaugh). When he made the "phony soldiers" crack it was before any mention of MacBeth on the show.

    It ought to have been a simple matter for Limbaugh to show a little courage and admit he went overboard with this one remark, and then say that he really respects soldiers regardless of their political views (whether or not that's accurate). After all, he's on the air for hours daily and his audience is rooting for him to say something outrageous.

    Instead, he is making this worse by attacking Rep. Murtha. Marines killed unarmed civilians at Haditha. There was a cover-up. What did Murtha say that wasn't true?

    Limbaugh's favorite argument is to impugn the patriotism of anyone who tells the truth about Iraq. This is harder to do when the truth-tellers, like those 82d Airborne soldiers, are currently serving in the military. Thus, the "phony soldiers" epithet.

  9. With regard to MoveOn, do you have anything to offer besides name-calling? For example, is there anything in the Petraeus ad that isn't true? One wrong fact?

    Incidentally, the "betrayus" nickname was given to Petraeus by his own soldiers when he was a colonel. Also, did you know General Petraeus has a Bronze Star for valor even though he was never in combat before he was a major general? Fact. Truth.

  10. No offense meant Frank, but you should read the transcript before you go after MediaMatters.

    Regardless of what you think of them, it is important to report the facts of a matter.

    I can't stand Rush, but I listen to his show for cheap entertainment, and this one I actually witnessed first hand. He said what he said, and MediaMatters jumped on it. Can't blame them, it was an atrocious thing to say.

  11. You can't make the case that Media Matters interprets this correctly, even just going by the text. But if you add context and history to the discussion, there's absolutely no reason to believe, based on Rush's history, that he meant what liberals claim that he meant. On the other hand, when Dick Durbin says our troops are like Nazis, context and history support our interpretation that liberals put politics ahead of the military.

  12. Actually, reading just the text, it completely makes the case that MediaMatters is correct. I was listening in that day as well, and despite being a semi-regular fan of Rush, I think his comments were extremely inappropriate, and this biased defense of him even more inappropriate.

    He shouldn't have said what he did.

    Even as a conservative, I find the previous comment a bit ludicrous. The liberals tried to push for more leave time for our troops, and I believe it was conservatives who shot that down. So, previous commenter, let's call a spade a spade, huh?

    Either way, MediaMatters, who I am not a huge fan of, seems to have this one right, and I am tired of the embarrassment I feel each time I see fellow conservatives trying to argue against the facts so desperately they end up sounding idiotic.

    Stop it. (or perhaps I should say Grow Up?) Conservatives make mistakes too. The sooner you admit that, the sooner the GOP will regain it's integrity. We don't have it now, and defending Rush's comments won't get it back.

    - Anne Tooley

  13. Anne,

    Thanks for your comments. It's interesting that people can amicably (I hope) agree to disagree on this one. I agree with Craig's last comment--actually both of him he made to this article.

    It takes someone to be a mind reader to know what he meant. Maybe I'm one of the ones whose interpretation is lenient. Maybe yours in one of the ones that is harsh.

    The world will never know. So we have to take the context of the situation. I don't listen to Rush often enough, so I'll have to rely on Craig and others for that. Jason says the context indicates Rush is "guilty". Craig says it indicates Rush's "innocence". I think Rush is a dolt, but I still agree with Craig.

    One thing, by the way, that seems a near consensus from commenters thus far, is that no one likes Media Matters that much.

  14. Well, I was going to chime in here but Richard has just about covered it.

    I will add one thing in response to Frank's insistence that Rush didn't say all soldiers who oppose the war are phony. That may be true, but in the context of the call, the caller implied it by saying, "If you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve. They want to be over in Iraq. They understand their sacrifice, and they're willing to sacrifice for their country."

    That quote implies that any soldier who disagrees with the mission or doesn't "want to be in Iraq" is a phony and Rush certainly wasn't disagreeing with his caller.

    I have one more question Frank. Where is your account of "what actually happened" quoted from? It's curiously not linked. I'm curious to see where you are getting your spin.

    As for Petraeus, yeah, it's pretty funny that his own soldiers made up the nickname. The outrage over the Moveon.org ad was petty, self-serving politics if you ask me. It degrades our political discourse and leads to this kind of nonsense in response. We all know Rush is a big time blowhard. But if the idiot right-wing nutjobs hadn't gone ape-sh*t over Moveon then Rush's comment, as idiotic as it was, wouldn't even have been a story.

    (I guess I had more to say than I originally thought.) :)

  15. Don,

    Richard Warnick linked to it in one of his comments.

    I will agree with you that Rush should have disagreed with the caller when he said "if you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve." But that does not indicate Rush's personal feelings on the subject. The history of his feelings does place it in a proper context, and he historically discusses (according to other commenters on this article and other sources I have read) particular "phony soldiers".

    Based on the transcript that Richard linked to, I have formed that opinion, even though I may have jumped the gun in writing the article without that detailed knowledge. Others who have commented here, who listen to Rush regularly, give their (to me trusted) perspective of what Rush meant.

    Media Matters has a vendetta. They are wrong in this instance, as they have been a plethora of times before. David Brock is paying his penance to the left for having committed the sin of conservativism. George Soros' heavy hand behind the scenes ensures that Media Matters will get the story wrong most of the time.

  16. Oh, and if it wasn't clear, even though I think this is all nonsense, I think Media Matters was right about Rush's comment, given it's entire context.

  17. According to Media Matters, George Soros has nothing to do with them. Do you have information to the contrary or are just parroting Fox Noise?

  18. I agree that Rush is nonsense. And so is Media Matters. But the principle behind the nonsense is critical. Media Matters is a non-profit organization. They should at least lose that status for their continual mismanagement and misreporting of the truth.

  19. No, I don't get my Soros info from Fox News. I hate Fox News with a passion. But yes, I have evidence. The springboard to that evidence is here.

  20. Frank,
    I'm curious about the quote in your original post where you say, "Here's what actually happened:"

    I don't see that information in any of Richard's links.

  21. I find Media Matters to be quite right most of the time. They may put their own spin on things, for sure, but I haven't seen that they continually lie or mismanage their reporting of the truth.

    Any links to support that claim?

  22. Here is Richard's original link. If that doesn't cover all of it, I'd be glad to consider more information to 'fine tune' my opinion.

    I've got to run, but I'll reply to your other question tomorrow evening (when I get back from some R&R in the mountains).

  23. Have fun in the mountains Frank, good to get it in before the big storm on Friday! :)

    Have you read Media Matters' accounts of the George Soros funding matters? It sounds to me like there is a lot of speculation and spin coming from O'Reilly, IBD, Hannity, Gibson, etc.



    BTW, I must be blind, because I'm not seeing the information that you blockquoted in the Media Matters article Richard linked to. Here is the information I'm talking about:

    On his Sept. 26 show, where the controversy started, Limbaugh spoke with a caller and referred to "the phony soldiers." After the call finished, Limbaugh told his audience: "Here is a Morning Update that we did recently, talking about fake soldiers. This is a story of who the left props up as heroes. They have their celebrities and one of them was Army Ranger Jesse MacBeth. Now, he was a 'corporal,' I say in quotes. Now, recently, Jesse Macbeth, poster boy for the anti-war left, had his day in court. And you know what? He was sentenced to five months in jail and three years probation for falsifying a Department of Veterans Affairs claim and his Army discharge record. He was in the Army. Jesse Macbeth was in the Army, folks -- briefly -- 44 days before he washed out of boot camp. Jesse Macbeth isn't an Army Ranger, never was. He isn't a corporal, never was. He never won the Purple Heart, and he was never in combat to witness the horrors he claimed to have seen. You probably haven't even heard about this. And, if you have, you haven't heard much about it. This doesn't fit the narrative and the template in the Drive-By Media and the Democrat Party as to who is a genuine war hero...."

    Who are you quoting?

  24. Frank, I'd like to see you make a post proving your contention that Media Matters has been wrong "a plethora of times."

    Their whole purpose is to promote accuracy in the media.

  25. Don,

    Sorry about missing the link for the quote you referred to and for not paying attention to what you were really asking. The link should be there now (in the article).

    Richard and Don,

    I haven't paid that much attention to media matters, so I would have to go back and get additional anecdotal evidence. I will put that on my list of future blog ideas.

    I only am clear on two items, so for now that will be my plethora. The other was their lie about George Soros not being the puppeteer behind MM. I linked to that evidence in a previous comment to this article.

    It stands to reason, however, that someone who is disabusing conservativism as a non-profit is probably (a) not worthy of a non-profit status, because (b) they are not telling the truth with their anti-conservative bent. If there are these two fundamentally provable issues, there are surely more.

  26. Your link still isn't working right, but I gather you got your information from CNSnews.com, correct?

    CNSnews.com is run the the Media Research Center, which is basically a conservative version of Media Matters. Why do they get a pass on disseminating news with a conservative slant while being a non-profit, but Media Matters raises your hackles?

    I think it is far from clear that George Soros has anything to do with Media Matters. The "evidence" you linked to was nothing but speculation.

    As far as Media Matters disabusing conservatism, I think it is far from "fundamentally (proven)" that Media Matters is not telling the truth.

  27. I did a search on CNSNews.com for the first 8-10 words in my quote, and it came up with a wierd URL, but showed the story that I had previously found. Sorry if it doesn't come up correctly, but yes it is from CNSNews.

    I don't know about their associate with Media Research Center, but I'll look into it.

    The difference in the case at hand is that CNSNews reported what happened, while Media Matters reported part of what happened and, based on their feigned ability to read Rush Limbaugh's mind, what they wish had happened.

  28. Media Matters reported part of what happened? Come on Frank! Rush himself "reported" part of what happened. He's the one that edited out over a minute of his own show to try to create the link between his "phony soldiers" comment and Jesse Macbeth. John Gibson and apparently CNSnews then ran with Rush's edited version of "what actually happened".

    I think your indignation is curiously selective on this one Frank.

  29. I have already expressed my indignation at Rush. I don't like the guy. CNSNews may have done what you said, I don't know, but I trust you are correct.

    The indignation I am trying to express in this article is that Media Matters cannot possibly know what Rush was thinking when he said it.

    Depending on frame of reference (conservative or liberal, I guess?) some of us who have commented here see it one way, and some see it the other way.

    But because not everybody reads and decides for themselves what was going on here, the malicious smear perpetrated by MM that Rush called "phony" any troops who are against the war has caused thousands of knees to jerk in inaccurate indignation. That is the problem with MM making false statements like this. It is heavy handed politics. MM should not be allowed to be a non-profit and act this way.

    For what it's worth (this may be a tangent): I served in this war, and I'm against this war--in that I think we should have never started it in the first place--but I do not feel that he was calling me a phony.

  30. Frank,
    My point is that they all do it. Media Matters and Media Research Center (CNSnews.com) are basically opposing forces using the same techniques. They take the media and distill it to fit their own political agendas. We the people will agree, disagree or ignore based on our own political leanings.

    To single out Media Matters for something that is clearly (to me) not a "malicious smear" but merely some political spin just seems to me to be a bit over the top. As I said before, it's what happens when you have wingnuts going ape-sh*t over a Moveon advertisement. A little blowback is just good for the gander.

    I guess you can call it heavy handed politics, and yeah, a lot of us on both sides don't like it when we're the targets. But sometimes it sure feels good to see guys like Rush and Hannity having to eat a little crow every once in a while. Of course, they don't eat crow, they just continue to lie and spin and re-edit until they've successfully spun their way around the faithful.

    Have you continued to follow this story? What do you think about Rush's comments concerning the VoteVets.org ad and Brian McGough? Apparently Rush thought he knew what McGough was thinking and compared him to a brainwashed suicide bomber for speaking out against the war. Yeah, Media Matters got it wrong . . .

    That's my point in saying you're being selectively indignant Frank. There are too many instances of this type of crap (SwiftBoats anyone?) from both sides of the political spectrum to selectively say that Media Matters is some sort of evil enterprise.

    BTW, I honor and thank you for your service and truly respect your choice to serve. I also applaud your stance against the war, even though you're just a brainwashed suicide bomber. ;)

  31. You're right, they all do it. I really wonder how fair the Media Research Center is, and now that I know of their association with CNSNews, I'll have to look into that issue a bit.

    Thanks--to others as well--for the back and forth on this most interesting conversation.

    I haven't followed the Brian McGough comments. If you have some links, I would be interested in looking into them.

  32. It's all at MediaMatters.org Frank. ;)


  33. Here's my opinion of it. He didn't call him a suicide bomber. He referred to him metaphorically as having a bomb strapped to his belt, but he DIDN'T say metaphorically that Gough would detonate himself.

    Metaphorically, I interpret that to mean that the media is using Gough as a pawn, and at the appropriate time they would detonate him remotely.

    That's about how far metaphors can go, though, is our various opinions of what they mean.

    You may think I'm picking at nits here, but to me that is a HUGE difference.

    Media Matters did a fairly good job of reporting what the other media outlets said, but I think it slightly disingenuous for them to imply that Rush called Gough a suicide bomber when he clearly didn't. Not even any (most?) of the news outlets suggested that.

  34. Frank,
    I don't know how you can say that Rush didn't say McGough was blowing himself up. Rush said, "strapping those lies to his belt, sending him out via the media in a TV ad to walk into as many people as he can walk into." How can you say that isn't metaphorically talking about blowing himself up in a crowd?

    Rush basically insinuated that McGough was being used by VoteVets (not the media) the same way young radical Muslims are used by their leaders in suicide attacks. I don't know how you can interpret it any other way, even metaphorically.

    What do you mean "Not even any (most?) of the news outlets suggested that (Rush compared McGough to a suicide bomber)." They all, including Fox News, suggested that Rush compared McGough to a suicide bomber.

  35. Sorry that I didn't read the story closer. So it was VoteVets and not the media. At any rate, he wasn't saying that Gough was going to blow himself up, although he was being compared to a suicide bomber. It was his handlers that were going to do the exploding for him.

  36. More on Rush and VoteVets.org.

    Just so you know . . . :)

  37. I never did say that Rush was the sharpest crayon in the box. I just said that in one particular case (and now two--the suicide bomber claim) that he was being wrenched out of context by Media Matters.

    In the Daily Kos story, it appears that he was being unfair to Brandon Friedman. I really haven't listened to Rush for years--since he told people to be lazy all weekend and come back and he'd tell them what they needed to know. He's a jackass.

    My point is that Media Matters needs to be more accurate and fair in their reporting. And the same can be said for the Media Research Center.

  38. Frank,
    I understand your point. I wasn't challenging it by posting the link to the DailyKos diary from Brandon Friedman.

    I just thought that you would like to keep abreast of how your comrades in arms are being treated.

    I'm glad you think Rush is a jackass. It doesn't hurt to help others come to the same conclusion. :)


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