IN DEFENSE OF RUSH LIMBAUGH
By Chip McLean
October 8, 2007
Let me begin by saying that I don’t agree with Rush Limbaugh about Iraq. I also don’t agree with President Bush about Iraq, if you’ll pardon my redundancy. I oppose our current involvement for several reasons, but those reasons are not the subject of this column. My purpose here is to defend Limbaugh concerning the uproar over his (supposed) comments about “phony soldiers,” and more importantly, defend conservative media and the principle of freedom of speech.
By now I’m sure you have at least heard of the brouhaha surrounding America’s most listened to radio talk-show host. On the off-chance though, that you live in Bugtussel and only recently discovered the wonder of ‘leck-tris-tee, Limbaugh was accused first by Media Matters (a liberal group with ties to leftist billionaire George Soros), and then by various Democrats such as Senator Harry Reid of having defamed military personnel who disagree with our Iraq policy, as being “phony” soldiers.
Did Limbaugh actually say those soldiers who think we should leave Iraq are “phony”? The answer is no, but more on that later. The question I have is - why does Reid care? Limbaugh is an entertainer, not a government official – his opinions, like those of all private citizens, are his own and carry no official weight.
We may of course, take all the actions at our disposal as private citizens to express our disapproval of any business or public figure – entertainment or otherwise – be it Limbaugh’s show, the Dixie Chicks, Ford Motor Company or whoever. For example, if Limbaugh or another talk-show host says something we don’t like, we can do things such as threaten boycotts of sponsors of his show, call the producers or send an angry e-mail and so on. All of those are legitimate protest actions by private citizens. But why should Senator Harry Reid take to the floor of the Senate to urge condemnation of Rush Limbaugh? Why take taxpayer time to debate a damn talk show? No legitimate reason comes to mind whatsoever. There is of course, another reason for Reid to do so, but it has nothing to do with running the business of the U.S. Senate.
What this is really about; is an attack on conservative talk-radio, television…and even the internet. In addition to Limbaugh, the left in recent days has been busily attacking other folks they don’t like, such as Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage and others. The mainstream media lost their stranglehold on the dissemination of information in recent years because of talk-radio and the internet, but they would love to find a way of regaining their pre-eminence. The way that a number of them would like to do so is by having liberals in Congress such as Dennis Kucinich, reintroduce the “Fairness Doctrine” (rescinded in 1987 during the Reagan administration). There is of course nothing “fair” about any legislation that dictates to broadcasters that they must carry “balanced” programming – “balanced” of course meaning liberal programs which have drawn consistently poor ratings, not to mention poor ad revenues.
A new incarnation of the Fairness Doctrine could easily extend to the internet as well, with conservative sites being required to link to liberal ones and other such nonsense. Rather than being “fair,” it’s simply another way for government to restrict freedom of speech by regulating what “choices” we have. One must understand that when government is involved with “choice,” it really means choices that no one is interested in choosing.
To me it’s largely irrelevant, but Limbaugh didn’t even say what Reid and company claim he said. Yes, he did use the phrase “phony soldiers,” but Media Matters, which apparently is Reid’s “source” for all of this, has been working overtime to spin this into something it isn’t – and since day one have deliberately taken Limbaugh’s remarks out of context.
I heard the original segment of Limbaugh’s show that is the subject of all of this. In addition I’ve read the unedited transcript, and it is very clear to me that Limbaugh was indeed referring to “phony soldiers” like Jesse Macbeth (talked about by Rush in the same segment) who have lied about their service record, and in Macbeth’s case, given a five-month prison sentence last month. In fact, the government is currently investigating more than sixty such “stolen valor” cases where people have made false claims about their military service.
Media Matters, whose spin on this continues unabated, has even gone so far on its website as to “document” Limbaugh’s “contradictory” statements. Soaring into ever-loftier heights of the picayune, the geniuses there have seized on Limbaugh’s later statement that he was referring to “phony soldiers like Macbeth,” and another where he said he was referring to “one soldier - Jesse Macbeth,” as being in conflict. Anyone with a modicum of common sense who heard the entire original broadcast segment knows Limbaugh was referring to Macbeth specifically, but was using him as an example of other “phony soldiers” as well. Of course, common sense isn’t what David Brock had in mind when he founded Media Matters, whose own mission statement proudly proclaims they are “dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” Too bad they aren’t interested in correcting their own misinformation.
The attack on Limbaugh by Media Matters is a smear job, but it is much more than just that. Leftist politicians like Reid are using MM’s misinformation in an effort to silence those who oppose them. Bringing back the “Fairness Doctrine” would help accomplish their goal.
The current Limbaugh flap isn’t about “phony soldiers” at all. It’s actually all about phony outrage.
© 2007 Chip McLean - All Rights Reserved
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Chip McLean is the editor/publisher for Capitol Hill Coffee House. Chip is a former broadcaster.
His interest in politics began at the age of eight, when his parents took him to a Barry Goldwater rally during the 1964 presidential election. In addition to his work at CHCH, Chip's columns have appeared in a number of online conservative publications.
What this is really about; is an attack on conservative talk-radio, television…and even the internet.