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."
A New York Times article on the passage of Sen. John Cornyn's amendment repudiating a MoveOn.org ad critical of Gen. David Petraeus described another amendment by Sen. Barbara Boxer as "extremely similar" and claimed that Boxer's amendment "did not mention the MoveOn.org ad." In fact, Boxer's amendment did mention the MoveOn.org ad but, unlike Cornyn's amendment, also noted Republican-backed attacks against Democratic Sen. John Kerry and former Sen. Max Cleland in condemning "all attacks on the honor, integrity, and patriotism" of those who have served in the military.
In reporting on Sen. Jim Webb's proposal to require that active-duty troops spend at least the same amount of time at home as the length of their previous tour of duty overseas, CNN's Dana Bash stated, "Defense Secretary Robert Gates warns it would actually make him extend tours in Iraq, break up military units, and reduce combat effectiveness." But Bash made no mention of military leaders who have stated that insufficient time at home also reduces overall combat readiness.
The September 19 editions of ABC's World News and NBC's Nightly News both reported on Senate Republicans' blocking of a Democratic amendment stipulating that U.S. troops could be redeployed only after receiving home leave equal in duration to their most recent combat deployment, but that evening's edition of the CBS Evening News did not.
In reports on a new Rudy Giuliani campaign ad criticizing Sen. Hillary Clinton's position on the Iraq war, several media outlets highlighted a quote from the ad in which the narrator says: "[J]ust when our troops need all our support to finish the job, Hillary Clinton is turning her back on them." But none of these reports mentioned Giuliani's claim in October 2004, that U.S. troops, and not President Bush, were responsible for the missing explosives at the Al Qaqaa weapons depot.
CNN's John King reported that in his Iraq speech, President Bush would "say we can begin to bring troops home because of successes in Iraq." King earlier asserted that "critics say ... that the president is only doing this because he has to do it," since "the Pentagon doesn't have the troops to sustain the surge." In fact, it is not only "critics" who say this, but top officials at the Pentagon, including Gen. David Petraeus.