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."
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, contributor Willie Geist stated that he had gone "back and looked at the full transcript" of Rush Limbaugh's recent description of soldiers who support withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq as "phony soldiers" and asserted that Limbaugh had been "talking about a specific soldier, this guy Jesse MacBeth," who falsely claimed to be an injured Iraq war veteran. Joe Scarborough agreed that Limbaugh's remark has "been blown out of context." However, the transcript and audio included in the original Media Matters item documenting Limbaugh's comments makes clear that he referred to "phony soldiers," plural.
Discussing Rush Limbaugh's controversial remarks about "phony soldiers," Bill O'Reilly claimed that "Media Matters is peddling that Mr. Limbaugh was denigrating soldiers who dissent from the Iraq War, but that doesn't seem to be true." As evidence, O'Reilly aired a clip of Limbaugh claiming that he "was talking about one soldier with that phony soldier comment. Jesse MacBeth." However, during the September 26 broadcast of his radio show, Limbaugh -- in his original comments -- actually referred to "phony soldiers," plural. Further, Limbaugh did not refer to Jesse MacBeth until one minute and 50 seconds after making his "phony soldiers" comment.
Many major media outlets that covered the controversy surrounding MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad have yet to cover the bipartisan outcry over Rush Limbaugh's remarks characterizing service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as "phony soldiers."
Discussing Rush Limbaugh's recent description of service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as "phony soldiers," John Gibson asserted on his radio show: "Rush was specifically talking about a particular one, Jesse MacBeth, who had pled guilty in court to lying about even being in Iraq." To support this claim, Gibson aired a clip in which Limbaugh purported to air the "entire" segment in question. In fact, that segment did not include a full 1 minute and 35 seconds of the 1 minute and 50 second discussion that occurred between Limbaugh's original "phony soldiers" comment and his subsequent reference to MacBeth.
Rush Limbaugh insisted that his September 26 remarks characterizing U.S. service members who support withdrawal from Iraq as "phony soldiers" had been taken out of context and that he was referring specifically to "one genuine, convicted, lying, fake soldier," Jesse MacBeth. But Limbaugh did not refer to MacBeth during his September 26 broadcast until 1 minute, 50 seconds after making his "phony soldiers" comment, and at no point on that show prior to making his "phony soldiers" comment did Limbaugh refer to any actual fake soldiers. Additionally, on September 28, Limbaugh misrepresented those comments.
In response to Media Matters' documentation of his recent description of service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as "phony soldiers," Rush Limbaugh claimed that he had not been talking "about the anti-war movement generally," but rather "about one soldier ... Jesse MacBeth." Limbaugh then purported to air the "entire" segment in question. In fact, the clip he aired omitted a full 1 minute and 35 seconds of discussion that occurred between Limbaugh's original "phony soldiers" comment and his subsequent reference to MacBeth.
Rush Limbaugh has called the MoveOn.org "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" advertisement "contemptible" and "indecent," but months earlier, on his radio show, he told his audience that he had a new name for Senator Chuck Hagel: "Senator Betrayus." Though Limbaugh has taken exception to accusations that he has attacked the patriotism of his political opponents, the "Senator Betrayus" remark is one of several instances in which Limbaugh has done so.
A Washington Times article reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner was demanding that House Democrats take up a nonbinding resolution condemning MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad, but the Times did not note that Boehner declared earlier this year that a "nonbinding resolution is nothing more than political theater."