Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Limbaugh Can't Dodge "Phony Soldiers" Flap

As we reported on October 1, comedian Rush Limbaugh is the gift that keeps on giving. It is now been a week, since Limbaugh uttered those two infamous words during the second hour of his daily radio show – "phony soldiers" -- and the controversy appears to growing exponentially.

At that time we blogged about controversy, which erupted when a caller to Limbaugh’s show complained about an alleged anti-war bias in the media, complaining that [they] "never talk to real soldiers." Limbaugh responded "the phony soldiers. "

Quickly, Limbaugh resorted to damage control. He made a aircheck of this segment of his show selectively deleting some 80% of the audio leading up to his comment. He also added a separate commentary that was made later about a soldier convicted of making false war atrocities charges.

He never explained why he used used the plural "soldier[s]" if he was just talking about one soldier.

Well, in the past 24 hours there have been some stunning developments.

The Hill writes this morning about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's letter to Limbaugh's bosses at Clear Channel Communications, in which the Nevada Democrat calls on the owner of Limbaugh's syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks, to make their number one talker "publicly repudiate these comments that call into question their service and sacrifice and to ask Mr. Limbaugh to apologize for his comments."

The Senate overwhelming approved a Republican backed resoluton two weeks ago, condemning the liberal political action group moveon.org when moveon ran a full page ad in the New York Times critical of General David Petraeus testimony before Congress. The headline of ad was "General Patraeua or General Betry Us." No Republicans in the Senate had any unkind words for Limbaugh.

Votevets.org, which describes itself as an organization comprised of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns who oppose the current policy in Iraq, has released a TV ad that takes aim at the number one right wing talker.

The group says it will spend $60,000 to run the ad nationally Wednesday and Thursday on Fox News and CNN. A radio version will air during Limbaugh's show on WMAL-AM Washington, D.C., and in his home market on WJNO-AM Palm Beach, Fla.

In the ad, votevets.org founder Brian McGough discusses his service in Iraq and the wounds he suffered there. He says to Limbaugh, "until you have the guts to call me a 'phony soldier' to my face, stop telling lies about my service."

Patrick Murphy, a Democratic Congressmen from Eastern Pennsylvania, who is an Iraq War veteran, blogging on the Huff Po said "when someone like Rush Limbaugh says that soldiers who disagree with the failed strategies of President Bush …are 'phony soldiers,' you have to consider the source."

"Someone should tell chicken hawk Rush Limbaugh that the only phonies are those who choose not to serve and then criticize those who do. I served proudly, so did two of my fellow paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne who spoke out and died just weeks ago. Generations of American veterans have worn the uniform with pride and we know it is no contradiction to serve your country and still disagree with the Bush-civilian leadership that mismanaged this war."

And Senator Tom Harkin, (D-IA) commented on Limbaugh’s erratic and confrontational behavior by saying the following on the floor of the Senate:

"Well, I don’t know. Maybe he was just high on his drugs again. I don’t know whether he was or not. If so, he ought to let us know. But that shouldn’t be an excuse."

Yes Limbaugh and his minions of right wing supporters like Brian Maloney and Michelle Malkin have been spinning the controversy like crazy over the past few days.

During the first hour of his October 1 show, Limbaugh said: "I want to apologize to all of the members of the United States military, both in uniform and out, active duty and retired, for Media Matters for America."

Remember it was Media Matters, which published a word for word transcript and sound clip, capturing the exact words that Limbaugh uttered on his September 24 show.

Limbaugh then went after Reid, challenging the Nevada Democrat to debate.

"What I want to do now is demand that Harry Reid come on this program and confront me like a man. Live, unedited, come on this show and let's go at it. I'm not going to allow hack politicians to lie about what I said, to cover up what they have said and done."

That’s interesting. As you know, Limbaugh never debates with any of his opponents and hasn’t even responded to challenges put forth by several lib talk hosts including Randi Rhodes. In fact, his TV appearances are limited to a handfull carefully choreographed puff pieces.

Conservative talk radio blogger Brian Maloney used most of his posts today (here and here) to attack the politicians and veterans who are asking Limbaugh to apologize for his remark.

Here’s what Maloney said about Sen. Reid.

Better than other Americans, Nevadans know that the Harry Reid of 2007 is remarkably like the Harry Reid of 1997, just more petty, spiteful and vindictive, even against schoolchildren and the blind… While he claims to value the American ideal of free speech, the truth is that he's much more at home with the likes of Putin, Ahmedinejad, Chavez and Mugabe. The Silver State has many reasons of which to be proud, but Harry Reid certainly doesn't provide one of them.

Maloney also called votevets.org, which is headed up by Purple Heart winner McGough, as a "partisan group." He published a link to their WebPage and added, "get a load of the lefties [their] board"

Right wing blogger Michelle Malkin also went after the politicos and vets, rather than to explain why Limbaugh used the offensive characterization.

She referred to votevets.org as "moonbats" and "phony vets for truth" and to other people who have spoken out on this issue as the "Rush hating left."

One right wing talk show host, who is probably happy about the controversy surrounding Limbaugh, is Bill O’Reilly.

Less than two weeks ago the media was all over Bill-O for his comment about Sylvia’s a popular black owned and operated restaurant in Harlem.

"If you recall Bill-O said that he "couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship…there wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.' "

If this controversy continues Limbaugh might start asking for more OxyCotin.


raccoonradio said...

Libs couldn't defeat Rush with "the
molasses-dripped voice of Al
Franken" (to quote a liberal
on a messageboard). They're falling all over themselves trying to knock
Rush and BOR off the air, now.

Even if Premiere/Clear Channel
were to dump Rush, which they
won't, he'd just start up his own
syndie effort and still be on
about 8 times as many affiliates
as Air America at their peak.
Rush has an estimated 13.25 million listeners and libs would love
to silence him.

While the TALKERS magazine
survey does include some libtalkers, most are conservatives like Rush, Beck, Hannity, Laura
I., Savage, etc. Part of this
stems from radio stations backing away from libtalk and part of
it stems from the fact that
conservatives have simply done
better shows that appeal to
all audiences, not just one speck
of the political spectrum. If
libtalk can get its own Rush,
with 13.25 million listeners,
more power to them.

But...as the bumper sticker
says, "Even on Drugs...Rush
Is Right"

barooosk said...

C'mon raccoon...You know this issue isn't about ratings. If it was Limbaugh would be happy (his ratings have fallen by 40% over the past half dozen years)This story could help him turn things around. And please don't mention the bogus talkers survey here. According to Talkers Ed Schultz has twice as many listeners as Randi Rhodes (rated number 1 by TR in the Spring 07.) If you believe Talkers about that one I have a bankrupt Liberal Talk network to sell you.

No this about who is telling the truth. Media Matters and several top Democrats say that Rush called soldiers who oppose the war "phony soldiers" MM has posted a word for transcript and audio clip of the segment where he made the statement. Rush says he was referring to one soldier, who was jailed by lying about war atrocities. He offered an edited audio clip (no transcript) to support his contention.

Here's the issue. If Rush actually meant that anti-war soldiers are phony soldiers should he be fired. We don't think he should be.

Bill's Mom said...

This 'Rush's ratings have dropped 40% in the last six years' story is approaching the same urban legend status as 'Clear Channel banned the Dixie Chicks'.

Neither are so.

As anyone who has been in the business more than to just do a weekly call in to a show with no ratings in Naples, FL can tell you...

1) It was Cumulus which had the corporate edict to pull the chicks. Clear Channel may be responsible for a lot of kooky things, but this isn't one of them.

2) I recall Rush having a high (no jokes, Baroosk) of some 15,000,000 weekly cume...I think TALKERS might have been the source...a drop to 13.25 would be a drop of about 12 percent. Not great, but certainly not this 40% drop that Baroosk likes to quote.

Now there may be some individual markets where Rush IS indeed down 40%...but there are probably some others where he is also substantially up.

barooosk said...

I recall Rush having a high (no jokes, Baroosk) of some 15,000,000 weekly cume...I think TALKERS might have been the source...a drop to 13.25 would be a drop of about 12 percent. Not great, but certainly not this 40% drop that Baroosk likes to quote.

Funny you should mention Talkers Magazine. In 1997 the Talkers Magazine list of Top Talk Radio Audiences showed Limbaugh reaching 18.5 million radio listeners per week. Mama, as you noted the most recent Talkers survey showed Limbaugh was reaching 13.25 radio listeners. That's a 37% decline.

Anonymous said...

"... 1997 the Talkers Magazine list of Top Talk Radio Audiences showed Limbaugh reaching 18.5 million radio listeners per week. Mama, as you noted the most recent Talkers survey showed Limbaugh was reaching 13.25 radio listeners. That's a 37% decline."

I think you better check your math again, barooosk. 18.5M to 13.25M is a 28% decline, not 37%.

John D Infidel said...

I doubt very much that the overall number of people listening to conservative talk radio has declined. Rush's audience may have declined because there are more conservative/liberitarian talk radio shows to choose from, some in the same time slot as Rush. Most of the time I listen to Rush via online streaming media or recordings of previous shows.

Anonymous said...

Love El Rushbo

the count said...

im glad i found this left-wing dribble its rainy and I needed a good laugh.Its funny air america doesnt get a quarter of his listeners on his day off.YOU PEOPLE HAVE NOTHING IMPORTANT TO SAY GET OVER IT

PORTLNADpunk said...

CRUSH Limbo has about 11 listeners, PLEASE. The drugged up drug addict is a MACHINE OF HATE and A CONSERVONAZI KILLBOT. hIS DAY IS DUE, CALLING THE SOLDIERS babykillers or whatever. MAYBE time for some Freindly Fire there, fatso? SUPPORT OUR TROOPS, BRING THEM HOME. AirAmerica KILLS fatso in the 9-noon timeslot here in portland by like 75% so if he says he has more listeners he is a FAT LIAR PIG.