On October 4, Rush Limbaugh asserted that he "didn't call" wounded Iraq veteran Brian McGough "a suicide bomber" on his October 2 show and said he was "grateful" for McGough's service. Limbaugh said on October 2: "[T]his is such a blatant use of a valiant combat veteran, lying to him about what I said, then 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."
Responding to criticism of his "phony soldiers" comments, Rush Limbaugh again asserted that he had been referring to multiple military imposters -- including Jesse MacBeth -- rather than service members or former service members with whom he disagrees. Limbaugh described MacBeth as "the man I was referring to and others like him as 'phony soldiers.' " But immediately after the controversy erupted over his comments, Limbaugh twice claimed that he was "talking about one soldier with that 'phony soldier' comment, Jesse MacBeth."
On Fox News Live, Jim Angle repeatedly misrepresented both Rush Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" comment and the arguments of "Limbaugh's critics," falsely reinforcing Limbaugh's claim that he was referring to actual military imposters, rather than service members or former service members with whom he disagrees.
Purporting to "give you some background on this quickly," Fox News' Megyn Kelly said of Rush Limbaugh's comments characterizing service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as "phony soldiers": "Rush originally used this term 'phony soldiers' when he was talking about a guy named Jesse MacBeth." In fact, when Limbaugh first used the term on the September 26 show, he had not mentioned MacBeth, and did not mention MacBeth until 1 minute and 50 seconds after he used the phrase "phony soldiers."
NBC's David Gregory said it was "surprising" Sen Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama, and former Sen. John Edwards, speaking at a Democratic presidential debate, "would not promise a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces." But Gregory did not explain why he thought that this was "surprising," and in fact the statements of all three candidates were consistent with their previous positions.
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly responded to a viewer who asked him to "stop labeling those who criticize our continued stay in Iraq as anti-American" by asserting: "I respect dissent on the Iraq war." After Fox News anchor Laurie Dhue stated that "[w]e welcome dissent in this country," O'Reilly replied, "We do. And on this program." In fact, O'Reilly has repeatedly attacked both the members of the anti-war movement and the media for their coverage of the war, asserting that they are "declar[ing] defeat" and "rooting for the USA to lose in Iraq."
In a Washington Post article, Shailagh Murray wrote: "GOP Senate offices circulated the results of a Gallup poll released this week that showed 54 percent of those surveyed think [Gen. David] Petraeus's plan for removing troops is the right pace, or even too quick." However, this poll question did not explain to respondents how many troops Petraeus' plan called for removing or over what period of time this withdrawal would take place. Other polling shows that when respondents are told specifically what Petraeus recommended, the results are dramatically different.