Monday, October 01, 2007

Is General Betray Us a Phony Soldier?

Rush Limbaugh is the gift that keeps on giving. If he had just let his "phony soldier" remark rest on the Media Matters website it probably wouldn't have survived the 24 hour news cycle.

But the number one conservative talk show host wouldn’t let the controversy go away. On his September 28th show, Limbaugh told his ditto-head listeners that his reference to "phony soldiers" had nothing to do with Iraq war opponents but rather to one soldier who had recently been convicted of falsifying his military record. He accused Media Matters of taking his comments out of "context" to undermine his creditability.

Now here’s where it gets interesting.

Everyone knows that Media Matters does not publish material out of context. In fact, when they post an objectionable comment on their website they almost always post a word for word transcript of what the commentator or reporter said along with an unedited audio or video clip.

If the Media Matters website gets anything right – it’s context!

Here is what Limbaugh said: (go to Media Matters if you want more context.)

LIMBAUGH: 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.

So Limbaugh decides to bring the matter up on his September 28th show. He accuses Media Matters of "selectively choosing" parts of a transcript, and then tells his listeners that he going to play all three minutes and 13 seconds of the "entire transcript" to set the record straight.
Instead, Limbaugh plays an edited audio file containing a small part of the one minute and 35 second discussion containing his "phony soldier" and subsequent comment about the former soldier who had falsely claimed to witness anti-war attrocities. (He never identified this guy as a phony soldier.)

Limbaugh apologist and right-wing talk radio blogger Brian Maloney’s definition of context is even more inclusive. Maloney suggests Limbaugh’s "phony soldiers" remark was actually prompted by an ABC News report on September 24th.

So let’s understand:

According to Limbaugh to appreciate his context you have to cut out most of the comments made right before his "phony soldiers" remark and include a separate comment that was made about an hour later.

According to Maloney to appreciate context you have to go back two days to a TV report on ABC News (which Limbaugh refers to as the drive-by media.)

Of course, Media Matters posted a verbatim transcript and unedited audio clip of Limbaugh’s feeble attempt to establish the "true context" of his offensive remark. So instead of ending in the middle of last week, the controversy continued over the weekend and now appears to heading for halls of Congress.

The Carpetbagger Report claims that Rep Mark Udall (D-CO) will be introducing a resolution today in the House Representatives condemning Limbaugh for his "phony soldier" remark.

As the "phony soldier" controversy continued Democratic and Republican politicians have weighed in.

Campaigning in New Hampshire, Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards called on Republicans to denounce Limbaugh in the same way they came down on Democrats after the MoveOn ad.

"All these Republicans went running to the mic and the TV cameras when MoveOn ran their ad about General Petraeus. Now let's see if they really mean it," Edwards said. "Let's see if they'll speak out against Rush Limbaugh. Let's see if they'll challenge him about men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States."

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has released the following statement:

"Governor Romney would disagree with the negative characterization of those men and women who serve with honor and distinction in the United States Military. There may be disagreements with individual opinions, but no one would ever dispute the fact that those members of the military who disagree with the war have earned the right to express that opinion."

Politicians don't know a lot about context, but they do know a hot political issue when they see one.


Anonymous said...

This from a guy who avoided being drafted because of a pimple on his (huge) butt. Has he no shame?

Robert said...

"Everyone knows that Media Matters doesn't publish material out of context?" Since when? Media Matters isn't a media watchdog, they're a media attack dog. Media Matters exists to smear conservative media, and that's all this is: a smear campaign.

I.M. SMALL said...


A pity it has come to this,
Full-flaring animosity--
But this is not a special case
Unique in history.

Since ever first did God bestow
On humankind the human word,
Have there been some that even so
Would rather have it left unheard.

The truth is sometimes bitter, while
Some factions would have stopped all ears,
Stopped also tongues, said to beguile--
Not far from surface many fears.

The issue is a simple one:
Either you let me have my say
(Approving not what you have done)
Or let free speech go by the way.

Better men have before me thus
Risked all of it to speak their mind,
Condemned by all the rest of us,
Mocked and imprisoned, jeered, maligned.

So I (though I regret ´tis so)
But in their wake have got to follow,
Or hard-won freedoms, fought for, show
Themselves to have been merely hollow.

´Tis but a single battle line
Drawn in the blood since earliest Adam,
Not noticed--when the money´s fine--
But let´s discuss Iraq since Sadaam:

Then you will see the sides divide,
Then every word gets measured, weighed,
The simplest rhyme severely tried--
To see if one (perchance) "betrayed."