Referring to Rep. John Murtha's recent statements on President Bush's troop increase strategy in Iraq, Sean Hannity asserted that "Democrats are going to have an even harder time trying to win the White House on a blame-Bush and the Republicans platform now that their loudest critic has gone to the other side." However, Murtha's comments did not indicate that he "has gone to the other side." Rather, Murtha said: "I think the surge is working, I think -- but that's only one element. ... But the thing that has to happen, the Iraqis have to do this themselves." In a November 30 statement, Murtha also reiterated his support for withdrawing troops from Iraq.
A day after accusing CNN and MSNBC of ignoring the Medal of Honor ceremony for Lt. Michael Murphy during prime time, Bill O'Reilly once again blasted the two networks for their lack of coverage of the event, asserting, "It's just another example of anti-military media matters in the USA." However, although CNN and MSNBC did not report on the story during the 8-11 p.m. ET prime-time period, on the day the family received the honor, MSNBC reported on Murphy at least five times throughout the day, broadcasting the award ceremony live; and CNN covered the story on at least seven distinct occasions.
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.