Defenders of Rush Limbaugh from radio station and groups executives, and radio trade press writers to politcians and right wing bloggers have been on a mission this week trying to spin the conservative talk show host’s "phony soldiers" remark. At the same time, Limbaugh along with his fawning supporters, are claiming that the conservative talker, not the offended anti-Iraq war veterans, is the real victim.
If you are not familiar with flap that was started when Limbaugh responded to a caller’s complaint about soldiers who speak out against the war as phony soldiers. You can read previous Talking Radio posts here and here or better yet go to Media Matters, which has published "word for word" transcripts and audio clips.
Since making the statement Limbaugh has been hardly transparent in his efforts to dispute the intent of what he meant when he made the "phony soldiers" remark. Here’s what, the Vietnam error draft dodger, said and did about the controversy:
*That he was not referring all anti-war soldiers but to one soldier, -- a former soldier named Jesse Merced who was convicted of making false statements about war atrocities in Iraq.
*He put together an edited recording of the segment on his September 24 show when he made the statement. The segment excluded about four minutes of his conversation with callers before and after the comment and added his reference to Merced, which was made two minutes afterwards. You can listen to the unedited recording here.
*He said on several occasions that he was only referring to McBeth when he referred to "phony soldiers." However, when forced to consider why he used the plural (soldier[s]) he changed his story and said "we have discussed many of these phony soldiers over the course of the past few months."
*He denied calling Congressman Jack Murtha, a decorated Vietnam veteran, a "phony solder" when the transcript of his September 28 show clearly reveals that he did. Here’s what he said:
"How about this guy Scott Thomas [Beauchamp] who was writing fraudulent, phony things in The New Republic about atrocities he saw that never happened? How about Jack Murtha blanketly accepting the notion that Marines at Haditha engaged in wanton murder of innocent children and civilians?"
*But probably the most egregious flip-flop of them all was when he denied comparing anti-Iraq war vet Brian McGough to a suicide bomber. McGough, who received a traumatic brain injury during his Iraq service, cut a spot on behalf of votevets.org. (more on this below) The spot blasts Limbaugh for making the "phony soldiers" remark and challenges El Rushbo to "say it to [McGough’s] face."
"You know, this 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."Well, enough for Limbaugh. To use an expression popularized by morning lib talker Stephanie Miller. He’s "a lyin' sack of crap." Limbaugh uses his three-hour daily to pipe dis-information into the ears of his adoring radio audience of ditto-heads, seemingly unware that other people may be listening to what he is saying!
Meanwhile about the actions of some his supporters and apologists in the radio industry.
We talked about the votevets.org ad challenging Limbaugh about the "phony soldiers" remark. Well, it seems that WJNO-AM, one of the 600 plus radio stations that carry his show, has refused to run the ad.
After turning down the ad, here’s how John Hunt, vp market manager for Clear Channel's, West Palm Beach properties, attempted to defend this gutless action:
"In light of the audience composition and the tone of the commercial presented by "Vote for Vets", we cannot air the three spots requested for broadcast on WJNO AM during the Rush Limbaugh Show. Airing anti-Rush Limbaugh commercials during the Rush Limbaugh show on WJNO AM would only conflict with the listeners who have chosen to listen to Rush Limbaugh. As an alternative, we would propose airing the commercials during other dayparts on WJNO or on some of our other appropriate stations in the market, and would be happy to make advertising recommendations based on format and demographics to aid you in your station selection."In other words, we don’t want to offend the ditto-heads here in West Palm Beach and we certainly don’t want to offend to Limbaugh who broadcasts his show from his mansion in Palm Beach.
It could be damaging to Rush's oxyCotin scared ear drums.
Votevets.org got a much warmer reception from Jim Farley, gm of WTOP-AM, the Bonneville all news station in Washington.
"Since we have accepted ads from veterans groups supporting the war, we could hardly turn down the other side. An all-news station becomes a marketplace of ideas, even when it comes to commercials."
We have more to say about "phony soldiers" flap, but this post has already gone on far enough. Over the weekend we will have more about Limbaugh apologists including CC executives, fawning radio trade media writers, bloggers, and politicians.