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."
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.