Limbaugh selectively edited "phony soldiers" clip, claimed it was "the entire transcript"

››› ››› ANDREW WALZER

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.

During the September 28 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, in response to Media Matters for America's 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 further asserted that "Media Matters had the transcript, but they selectively choose what they want to make their point." To support this claim, Limbaugh purported to air the "entire" segment in question from the September 26 broadcast of his show. In fact, the clip he then aired had been edited. Excised from the clip was a full 1 minute and 35 seconds of the 1 minute and 50 second discussion that occurred between Limbaugh's original "phony soldiers" comment and his reference to MacBeth, the full audio of which can be heard here .

Prior to airing the edited clip, Limbaugh said: "Here is, it runs about 3 minutes and 13 seconds, the entire transcript, in context, that led to this so-called controversy." After the clip ended, Limbaugh stated: "That was the transcript from yesterday's program, talking about one phony soldier. The truth for the left is fiction that serves their purpose, which is exactly the way the website Media Matters generated this story."

From the September 28 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, including (in bold) the portion of the original segment cut from Limbaugh's "entire" audio clip:

LIMBAUGH: I was not talking, as Contessa Brewer said here, about the anti-war movement generally. I was talking about one soldier with that "phony soldier" comment, Jesse MacBeth. They had exactly what I'm going to play for you. This is Michael J. Fox all over again. Media Matters had the transcript, but they selectively choose what they want to make their point. Here is -- it runs about 3 minutes and 13 seconds -- the entire transcript, in context, that led to this so-called controversy.

[begin audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: I -- it's not possible, intellectually, to follow these people.

CALLER 2: No, it's not, and what's really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.

LIMBAUGH: The phony soldiers.

CALLER 2: The phony soldiers. If you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve. They want to be over in Iraq. They understand their sacrifice, and they're willing to sacrifice for their country.

LIMBAUGH: They joined to be in Iraq. They joined --

CALLER 2: A lot of them -- the new kids, yeah.

LIMBAUGH: Well, you --

[begin Limbaugh edit]

LIMBAUGH: -- know where you're going these days, the last four years, if you signed up. The odds are you're going there or Afghanistan or somewhere.

CALLER 2: Exactly, sir. And, and my other comment was -- and the reason I was calling for -- was to report to Jill about the fact that we didn't, didn't find any weapons of mass destruction. Actually, we have found weapons of mass destruction in chemical agents that [inaudible] been using against us for awhile now.

I've done two tours in Iraq. I just got back in June and there were many instances of -- since [inaudible] not know what they're using in their IEDs [improvised explosive devices]. They're using mustard artillery rounds. The VX artillery rounds in their IEDs.

Because they didn't know what they were using, they didn't do it right, and so it just kind of -- it, it didn't really hurt anybody but there are -- those munitions are over there, it's just -- it's a huge desert. If they've buried it somewhere, we're never gonna find it.

LIMBAUGH: Well, you know, that's a moot point for me right now --

MIKE: Rush --

LIMBAUGH: -- the weapons of mass destruction. We gotta get beyond that. We're, we're there. What -- who cares if, if -- we all know they were there and, and Mahmoud [Ahmadinejad, Iranian president] even admitted it in one of his speeches here about -- talkin' about Saddam using the poison mustard gas or whatever it is on his own people -- but that, that's moot, right? What, what's more important is all this is taking place now in the midst of the surge working.

And all of these anti-war Democrats are getting even more hell-bent on pulling out of there, which means that success on the part of you and, and your colleagues over there is, is a great threat to them.

[end Limbaugh edit]

LIMBAUGH: It's just, it's frustrating and maddening, and it is why they must be kept in the minority.

Look, I want to thank you, Mike, for calling. I appreciate it very much. I gotta -- let me see -- got something -- here is a "Morning Update" that we did recently talking about fake soldiers. This is a story of who the left props up as heroes. And they have their celebrities.

One of them was Jesse MacBeth. Now, he was a "corporal," I say in quotes -- 23 years old.

[reading from "Morning Update" (subscription required)]

What made Jesse MacBeth a hero to the anti-war crowd wasn't his Purple Heart. It wasn't his being affiliated with post traumatic stress disorder from tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, though. What made Jesse MacBeth, Army Ranger, a hero to the left was his courage in their view off the battlefield.

Without regard to consequences, he told the world the abuses he had witnessed in Iraq: American soldiers killing unarmed civilians, hundreds of men, women, even children. In one gruesome account translated into Arabic and spread widely across the internet, Army Ranger Jesse MacBeth describes the horrors this way:

'We would burn their bodies. We would hang their bodies from the rafters in the mosque.'

Now, recently, Jesse MacBeth, a poster boy for the anti-war left, had his day in court, and you know what? He was sentenced to five months in jail and three years probation for falsifying a Department of Veterans Affairs' claim and his Army discharge record.

He was in the Army. Jesse MacBeth was in the Army, folks, briefly -- 44-days before he washed out of boot camp. Jesse MacBeth isn't an Army Ranger. Never was. He isn't a corporal. Never was. He never won the Purple Heart and he was never in combat to witness the horrors he claimed to have seen."

You probably haven't even heard about this, and if you have, you haven't heard much about it. This doesn't fit the narrative and the template of the drive-by media and the Democrat [sic] Party as to who a genuine war hero is.

Don't look for any retractions, by the way, not from the anti-war left, the anti-military drive-by media or the Arabic websites that spread Jesse MacBeth's lies about our troops, because the truth of the left is fiction, is what serves their purpose. They have to lie about such atrocities 'cause they can't find any that fit the template of the way they see the U.S. military.

In other words, for the American anti-war left, the greatest inconvenience they face is the truth.

[end audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: That was the transcript from yesterday's program, talking about one phony soldier. The truth for the left is fiction that serves their purpose, which is exactly the way the website Media Matters generated this story. Fiction, out of context, did so knowingly.

What is amazing, is that after all of the examples of how this organization is simply a Democrat Party-Hillary Clinton front group, how they constantly do this, how they take things out of context and embarrass themselves, and get things wrong, they still have credible, so-called journalists and others, members of Congress, Democrat Party, who treat what they say as gospel.

Not one member of the media, not one member of Congress has called our office to ask, "Did you really say this, and what did you mean by it?" The reason this doesn't work, ladies and gentlemen, is that I have a 19-and-a-half-year record on this program of being one of the most devoted supporters of U.S. military personnel in uniform that there is.

And the effort here is simply to discredit people that they consider effective and powerful on the right, ginning up, leading up into the '08 elections. They cannot beat us in the arena of ideas. They cannot challenge what we say and refute it and come out on top, so this is the anatomy of a smear, and I'll show you how it works when we come after the break. We have a bunch of sound bites here from Jim Webb, Jan Schakowsky, Frank Pallone, Democrats and senators, plus the Kerry statement that I read to you. All that coming up right after this.

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