Multiple reports by the Associated Press have failed to accurately lay out the context of Rush Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" remark or his inconsistent explanations for the comment. Indeed, the AP has not only consistently omitted his contradictions on whether he was referring to one or more soldiers, the fact that he edited the audio clip and transcript of his original comments, and that Limbaugh did not mention Jesse MacBeth on his September 26 radio show until one minute and 50 seconds after his remark, but also failed to note in its most recent report the caller's comment to which Limbaugh was responding.
On Fox & Friends, Mike Huckabee criticized senators for denouncing Rush Limbaugh regarding his recent "phony soldiers" comments, saying that "it is not the business of government to infringe upon the free speech of anybody, including a talk show host." But host Gretchen Carlson did not point out that Huckabee supported -- and attacked Sen. Hillary Clinton for opposing -- a Senate amendment that condemned the "General Betray Us" MoveOn.org ad.
Tom DeLay claimed that "[a] few days back," Rush Limbaugh "and a caller were discussing Global War on Terror critics who have either exaggerated or entirely invented their military and combat service in order to bolster their credibility" when Limbaugh referred to "phony soldiers." In fact, during his September 26 broadcast, Limbaugh did not restrict his comments. DeLay also falsely claimed that Media Matters was "George Soros-funded."
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."
Reporting on Rush Limbaugh's explanation of his "phony soldiers" comments, Byron York wrote that "[a]s part of that explanation" Limbaugh "played a tape of the original September 26 program [and] cut some extraneous material out -- 'for space and relevance reasons, not to hide anything,' he told me." In fact, Limbaugh said that he was airing "the entire transcript, in context, that led to this so-called controversy" and gave no indication that he cropped the audio or the transcript.
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, after hearing a segment of Rush Limbaugh's controversial comments characterizing service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as "phony soldiers," guest Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women's Forum asserted, "If you go on for another, about 30 seconds, you hear Mr. Limbaugh start talking about Jessie MacBeth." In fact, a 1 minute and 50 second discussion occurred between Limbaugh's original "phony soldiers" comment and his reference to 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.
On Hannity & Colmes, discussing Rush Limbaugh's recent characterization of service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as "phony soldiers," Melanie Morgan asserted: "A number of soldiers who are fake or who are embellishers or who are posers, who go out there -- or soldiers like Jon Soltz of VoteVet.org [sic], who go out there and use their far-left, anti-American agenda, political agenda to undermine the real mission of our troops, our heroes who are out there, who are fighting in a hot war, who are fighting for our lives and for our security and safety."