Discussing Rush Limbaugh's recent description of service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as “phony soldiers,” John Gibson asserted on his radio show: “Rush was specifically talking about a particular one, Jesse MacBeth, who had pled guilty in court to lying about even being in Iraq.” To support this claim, Gibson aired a clip in which Limbaugh purported to air the “entire” segment in question. In fact, that segment did not include 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 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 Rush Limbaugh's recent description of service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as “phony soldiers,” Fox News host John Gibson asserted, “Rush was specifically talking about a particular one, Jesse MacBeth, who had pled guilty in court to lying about even being in Iraq.” Gibson falsely claimed that Media Matters “said Rush said something, posted an audio recording of it and a written transcript, and cut it off at the precise moment where the next thing he said proved them wrong.” To support this claim, Gibson aired a clip from the September 28 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show in which Limbaugh purported to air the “entire” segment in question from the September 26 broadcast of his program. In fact, as Media Matters has documented, the clip Limbaugh aired on September 28, which Gibson reaired, had been spliced. 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 clip from the September 28 Rush Limbaugh Show, Gibson asserted: “Now, the actual liar in this situation is Media Matters itself. And we have the proof. I mean, I have the proof a dozen different ways about me, but it's all pretty complex. This thing about Rush is really crystal clear. You can see how they lie.” Gibson stopped the clip at one point, saying, “All right, it ended right there on the Media Matters transcript.” He continued, “This is the part that they cut out -- I mean, almost the very next words,” and then played the remainder of the clip that Limbaugh used during his September 28 broadcast. Following the clip, Gibson asserted that “it's quite clear if you listen to the -- most of what came -- any of what came after the point where Media Matters cut off the tape -- that when Rush was referring to phony soldiers, he was referring to those like Jesse MacBeth.” But at no point during the segment did Gibson indicate that the clip he aired was not of the original September 26 broadcast of Limbaugh's show and that it had, in fact, been edited to remove 1 minute and 35 seconds of discussion that occurred between Limbaugh's reference to “phony soldiers” and his first mention of MacBeth.
In addition, while Gibson claimed that “Rush was specifically talking about a particular one [soldier], Jesse MacBeth,” Limbaugh expanded the group of “phony soldiers” during his September 28 broadcast to include Vietnam veteran Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) and Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp, who is currently serving in Iraq. Moreover, as the transcript makes clear, Limbaugh did not refer in the September 26 discussion to a "phony soldier," as he claimed on September 28 before a caller pointed out the contradiction; he referred to “phony soldiers,” plural. Responding to the caller's statement on September 26 that supporters of withdrawal “like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media,” Limbaugh responded, “The phony soldiers” [emphasis added]. The John Gibson Show is broadcast live beginning at 6 p.m. ET, three hours after the broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show ends.
Further, Gibson asserted that Media Matters is “funded by George Soros, even though I get letters from them every day saying, 'No, we're not! No, we're not!' " He continued: “Yes, you are. Yes, you are. Or were, certainly at the start.” In fact, philanthropist George Soros has never given money to Media Matters, either directly or through another organization, as has been repeatedly and exhaustively demonstrated.
From the September 28 broadcast of Fox News Radio's The John Gibson Show, including (in bold) the portion of the original segment cut from Limbaugh's “entire” audio clip:
GIBSON: I have been accused of being a liar in the last couple of days by Bathtub Boy. Now, what was funny about this is I did a “My Word,” and Bathtub -- and in it, I accused Bathtub Boy, over there on MSNBC, the Countdown show.
OLBERMANN [audio clip]: Resign.
GIBSON: I accused him of lifting copy directly from Media Matters and sticking it in the teleprompter.
ANGRY RICH (executive producer): And what did he do?
GIBSON: Well, Media Matters called me a liar. He picked it right up and stuck it in the teleprompter, and last night called me a liar. Media Matters for America is a left-wing website funded by George Soros, even though I get letters from them every day saying, “No, we're not! No, we're not!” Yes, you are. Yes, you are. Or were, certainly at the start. And it's a Soros front, one of many. We got more on that later in the show. However, Media Matters has been calling me a liar, and then other people then call me a liar. They called O'Reilly a liar. And now they call Rush a liar. Now, the actual liar in this situation is Media Matters itself. And we have the proof. I mean, I have the proof a dozen different ways about me, but it's all pretty complex. This thing about Rush is really crystal clear. You can see how they lie.
They lie sometimes with an outright misinterpretation of my words. And they'll transcribe it correctly, but say, “See what he said? He means this.” No, I didn't.
In this case, they said Rush said something, posted an audio recording of it and a written transcript, and cut it off at the precise moment where the next thing he said proved them wrong. This is what you call lying by omission. Now, what this involves is -- let's go back to Friday, September 21st. After the Rush show was over, a guy named Jesse MacBeth, a former celebrated Iraq war vet who claimed he participated in Iraq war atrocities and was a member of anti-war groups, was sentenced for lying to the Veterans Administration about post-traumatic stress disorder and lying about being in Iraq. This Jesse MacBeth was, you know, lionized by the left because he was a soldier, came back from Iraq, told what really went on, which was that American soldiers were all Lt. William Calley, and we were committing My Lais every day, and killing people and so forth. Turns out: all lies. He'd never been in Iraq.
Now, the next week, Tuesday, September 25th, Rush mentions Jesse MacBeth on the show. Remember, Jesse pleaded guilty to all this on the 21st of September. Twenth-fifth, Rush mentions it, and then on Wednesday the 26th, Rush again brings up Jesse MacBeth in a discussion of so-called “fake soldiers,” that is, people who call my show or call other shows, claim to be soldiers -- they're really anti-war protesters in many cases -- and, you know, tell us about awful things we're doing. And, you know, you've got them on the phone, and it's hard to tell whether they're real or not.
Media Matters ran what Rush said prior to bringing up the Jesse MacBeth example of fake soldiers and buries the Jesse MacBeth part, but says Rush is accusing soldiers who object to the war of being fake soldiers, phony soldiers. No, Rush was specifically talking about a particular one, Jesse MacBeth, who had pled guilty in court to lying about even being in Iraq. So, here's how it went down. I'll play this bit, and you can hear what Media Matters posted of what Rush said, and then I'll play you what he -- the words that came next -- the words that came right after they cut it off. And you will see -- hear, because this is radio -- you will hear the lie of omission by this Soros-backed group called Media Matters.
[begin audio clip]
LIMBAUGH: 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 September 28 audio clip]
LIMBAUGH: 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 portion of Limbaugh's original broadcast on September 26 excised by Limbaugh on September 28 (and by Gibson here)]
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 --
CALLER 2: 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. It's just --
[end portion of Limbaugh's original broadcast on September 26 excised by Limbaugh on September 28 (and by Gibson here)]
LIMBAUGH: 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. Here is a “Morning Update” that we did recently talking about fake s--
[end audio clip]
GIBSON: All right, it ended right there on the Media Matters transcript.
ANGRY RICH: Right, that's where they ended it.
GIBSON: That's where they ended it. This is the part that they cut out -- I mean, almost the very next words. They lifted out of it and stuck together, you know, what sounded like the end of the interview, and then Rush going on to another subject. In fact, they left out the following:
[begin audio clip]
LIMBAUGH: And they have their celebrities. One of them was Army Ranger 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.”
[end audio clip]
GIBSON: Jesse MacBeth, of course, was a complete and total phony. He was sentenced for lying to the VA about PTSD. He was sentenced to prison for lying about being in Iraq at all. He was a complete liar. By removing that piece of tape, and this one as well:
[begin audio clip]
LIMBAUGH: 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.
[end audio clip]
GIBSON: All right, now, it's quite clear if you listen to the -- most of what came -- any of what came after the point where Media Matters cut off the tape -- that when Rush was referring to phony soldiers, he was referring to those like Jesse MacBeth who have actually been adjudicated as liars and who were telling tales of atrocities that are provable lies.
Media Matters, doubtless, did not want to include the Jesse MacBeth stuff because they were doubtless part of the left-wing organizations that went out and made Jesse MacBeth into a hero, and it's embarrassing. So they cut it out. But the word went around that Rush was saying every soldier who does not toe the line and follow the press-release statements and direction of their superiors is a phony soldier.