On the July 8 broadcast of his radio show, host Rush Limbaugh read aloud from an article in the congressional newspaper The Hill about the "debate over American Forces Radio and Television's broadcast of conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh's radio show," and then appeared to return to the false premise that Senator Tom Harkin's (D-IA) amendment to the Defense bill calling for fairness and balance on taxpayer-funded American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) seeks to remove him from the service. Limbaugh also issued the false claim that he has Senator "Ted Stevens on [his] side."
From the July 8 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH [Reading from an article in The Hill]: "[House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's (R-IL) spokesman] Feehery said (Speaker of the House Dennis) Hastert will 'absolutely not' tolerate tampering with Limbaugh."
Hubba hubba! Well, that makes me feel better. Speaker of the House on my side and I've got Ted Stevens on my side and I've got Sam Johnson in the House on my side. This is great. It's amazing. The story does not go away.
In his show of gratitude to Speaker Hastert, Senator Stevens (R-AK), and Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX) for coming to his defense in the midst of the debate over Senator Harkin's amendment -- which passed in the Senate by unanimous consent on June 14 -- Limbaugh continued to ignore the fact that neither Senator Harkin's amendment, nor his statement in the Congressional Record, called for The Rush Limbaugh Show to be removed from AFRTS. While Harkin said he agreed with critics that Limbaugh's comments "do damage to the American image when they are heard around the world," Harkin specifically stated, "I am not calling for American Forces Radio to pull Rush Limbaugh's commentaries from their talk radio service."
On June 18, Limbaugh falsely claimed that Senator Stevens had, at Limbaugh's request, sought and obtained the removal of Limbaugh's name from Senator Harkin's amendment. In fact, neither the amendment Harkin proposed on June 7 nor the modified amendment mentioned Limbaugh by name. On June 29, Limbaugh changed the account of his call to Senator Stevens, saying only, "I called Senator Stevens and he shared with me what it [the Harkin Amendment] said. And talked about it a little bit." On July 8, Limbaugh simply declared, "I've got Ted Stevens on my side." But Limbaugh does not have Stevens on his "side" regarding the Harkin amendment. As Salon.com senior writer Eric Boehlert documented on June 24, Stevens's spokeswoman Courtney Schikora said, "Stevens does not oppose or want to alter Harkin's amendment, since it simply reaffirms the network's existing mission, specifically regarding fairness and balance."