A Rush To Judgement?

As a regular listener to right wing radio, I'm always interested in learning what the squawking points of the day are. This week it seems to be "Save Rush Limbaugh" on right wing radio and FOX News (Although having only welfare TV channels, I don't watch FOX).

Of course, right wing nut radio no longer calls the non-FOX News outlets the "mainstream liberal media." Now it's the "MoveOn.org, liberal media." It wasn't sure what all the Rush flap was about and decided to check into it this evening after listening to Shawn Hannity implore his listeners to ignore the MoveOn.org smear campaign against great Americans like Rush and Shawn. This evening Michael Levine was also on saving Rush.

Today I got an e-blast from CNSNews.com site with the following "Save Rush Story:"

Limbaugh 'Needs Defending' From Liberals' Attacks, Kingston Says

Video report (CNSNews.com) - Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said Tuesday that he introduced a House resolution to support Rush Limbaugh because the conservative talk radio host "needs defending" from Democrats who have introduced resolutions and made statements condemning him for using the words "phony soldiers" on his radio show.

On his Sept. 26 show, Limbaugh used the term "phony soldiers" in setting up a story about Jesse Macbeth, a former soldier who was recently sentenced to five months in prison for obtaining veterans' benefits by falsifying his military records.

Macbeth claimed to have been an Army Ranger with a rank of corporal. He further claimed to have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and became a figure of the anti-war movement when he stated in Internet videos that he witnessed U.S. military atrocities in Iraq. In reality, Macbeth was in the Army only 44 days and never served overseas.

The liberal media group Media Matters for America (which has led a long campaign to have Limbaugh removed from taxpayer-supported Armed Services Radio) accused Limbaugh of referring to all anti-war soldiers as "phony soldiers."


It's interesting to note that CNSNews is part of the conservative alter ego of Media Matters. Here's what Wikipedia says about CNSNews:

Cybercast News Service (CNS) is a subsidiary of the conservative news monitoring group, the Media Research Center (MRC). Originally calling itself the "Conservative News Service," CNS changed its name to Cybercast in 2000. CNS was launched on July 16, 1998, by founder Brent Bozell, as an "alternative news service" to mainstream news sources which reports by MRC claim have a "liberal bias."

CNS says it strives to "cover stories that are subject to the bias of omission and report on other news subject to bias by commission," and "endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story."

Read more on CNSNews...

According to Wikipedia, the Media Research Center Inc. is a conservative media watchdog group run by president and founder Brent Bozell. The Center has a $6 million annual budget and 60 staff members and is funded by larger right-wing foundations.

From MRC's website: "The mission of the Media Research Center is to bring balance and responsibility to the news media. Leaders of America's conservative movement have long believed that within the national news media a strident liberal bias existed that influenced the public understanding of critical issues. On October 1, 1987, a group of young determined conservatives set out to not only prove - through sound scientific research - that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values, but also to neutralize its impact on the American political scene. What they launched that fall is the now acclaimed --- Media Research Center (MRC)."

Read more about MRC...

CNSNews and MRC were started by Brent Bozell. What kind of "fair and balanced" guy is he? From the Washington Post I gleaned the following:

Conservative activist Brent Bozell has long argued that the liberal media are distorting the news. Now, six months before the election, he's paying to get his message out.

Bozell's Media Research Center has raised $2.8 million for newspaper ads in 15 markets, billboards in 40 cities and a talk-radio blitz aimed at countering what he sees as a "liberal jihad" that is unfair to President Bush. The slogan (also on T-shirts and mugs) is not exactly subtle. A finger-pointing Uncle Sam declares: "Don't believe the liberal media!"

"This is a media that in the last year has gotten out of control," Bozell says. "They're so blatant in the way they slant the news. . . . It's as if people in newsrooms have just taken off the gloves, whether it's foreign policy, economic news or political news, there's a spin on everything that's said."


And so now they conservatives are trying to pull Rush's head out of his ass and put lipstick on his shit-eating lips. Lets let Rush explain his side of the story...

Rush Limbaugh: Anatomy of a Smear

After I listened to Limbaugh actual statement, I checked out this Jesse MacBeth character and I remember reading about him earlier this year an fabricating stories about being in Irag. Here's what the Seattle Times reported:

Man who lied about actions in Iraq admits faking forms

Jesse MacBeth stoked opposition to the Iraq war in 2006 when he spoke out about atrocities he committed as a U.S. Army Ranger serving as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

MacBeth, 23, of Tacoma, claimed to have killed more than 200 people, many at close range, some as they prayed in a mosque. He spoke at an anti-war rally in Tacoma and appeared in a 20-minute anti-war video that circulated widely on the Internet.

Trouble is, none of MacBeth's claims was true. He made it through only six weeks of Army basic training, was never a Ranger and never set foot in Iraq.

Conservative bloggers exposed MacBeth's lies in May 2006, destroying his credibility and embarrassing the Seattle company that produced the video about his exploits.

Now this MacBeth guy doesn't seem like the type of soldier any side of the debate would waste their time on...once the truth was exposed. However, contrary to what Rush said above, he does aim has controversial comments specifically at MacBeth. Instead he aims them at any soldier protesting the war in Iraq. Below what started all the fuss...

Rush Limbaugh Phony Soldiers Statement Sept 25 MacBeth

The White House Response

O'Reilly attacked Media Matters for "propaganda"

Tom Harkin attacks Rush Limbaugh on "phony soldier" misquote

With all the above taken into consideration -- including the MoveOn.org "General Betray Us" ad, I'm left wondering whatever happened to free speech and when will our government get done playing trivial pursuit and get down to the serious business at hand...

PS: If you haven't seen it, check out the documentary on FOX News "Out FOXed." You can get it locally through Inter-library loan. Below is a "fair and balanced" taste of the documentary:

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