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October 03, 2007

Comments

He's utterly useless as a human being, no question. The most frightening thing to me about this story is the way Fox News has rallied to his side, using Rush's doctored transcripts as "proof" that Media Matters is making it up. We really are looking at Orwell's memory hole here, and you can expect an attack from the Rushbots who are either too blind or too stupid to see the evidence in front of them.

It's exceedingly odd to me that I've ended up in the role of Limbaugh defender but: Clark is wrong and a lot of bloggers I like seem to me to be reacting too much to what Limbaugh did in this instance rather than the principle that Congress throwing him off of Armed Forces Radio would stand for.

To quote me on this thread: Limbaugh is a terrible individual and the "phony soldiers" comment is despicable and would, in my ideal world, cause the private stations which carry his show to cancel it. But I don't think Congress should be taking people who the government pays to give their own political opinion off the air just because that political opinion is disgusting. It's a very dangerous precedent, though Rush is a very unsympathetic case for it (in part because he doesn't depend on the government for his income and in part because he's such a negative presence in our society).

And on Unfogged (where I started talking about the topic out of nowhere just to see if other people thought I was nuts): [T]his would seem like a valid precedent for Congress to, e.g. order PBS to take Bill Moyers off the air because of his poltical speech. A government employee whose job it is to express their own political opinions shouldn't have to worry about how Congress is going to react to those opinions. To the extent that it's naïve to think such an employee won't worry about it, we should be trying to minimize the degree to which they do.

In the immortal words of Dan Quayle "The mind is a terrible thing to lose".

My problem with Limbaugh on AFN, washerdreyer, isn't so much his opinions--it's his deliberate inaccuracies and lies about at least half the population on a daily basis. We're not talking about opinion here--we're talking about outright falsehoods, and Rush has a captive audience and no one to hold him responsible for it. If he's going to be inaccurate, if he's going to tell lies, then why should the federal government keep him on the air to the troops?

Massa's really impressive there. I don't know if everyone appreciates that sort of waterfall delivery, but I can't imagine Limbaugh daring to take him on directly.


I see wd's point on the AFN question, since it's a govt venue, I don't see why Limbaugh has a right to appear on it. He has every right to broadcast on commercial radio (I guess if he meets minimal decency standards) but not to be sponsored by the govt. (I used to listen to AFN when I lived in Germany simply because it was in English, and the captive audience argument speaks to me.)

AFN question, but since...

To a conservative, anybody who consistently makes liberal angry ipso facto has a supple, sinewy, shrewd intelligence worthy of emulation. No matter what idiocies come out of George Bush's mouth, his ability to drive liberals up the wall will make some credit him with a fine "quality of mind." That's all Ledeen meant.

Indeed, thinking about it, it's a sign of the implosion of movement conservatism that all they can do anymore is slap each other on the back for annoying liberals. There used to be more to them than this. They're done.

I liked this post, mostly because I'm imagining an uncomfortable hilzoy trying to justify this horrible blight upon her person: having once disliked someone for being stupid.

"It was a long time ago!"
"It was only for a very brief moment!"
"He wasn't just stupid (I don't dislike just stupid people), he was a complete moron!"
"It was just because I didn't know much about him!"
"I dislike him for other reasons now. :) Did I mention how despicable he is?"
"It's not about his intellect anymore."

Hehe. We forgive you hilzoy!

That said Limbaugh is an offensive idiot. Whether Wes Clark's campaign is a good idea, I don't know. I understand washerdreyer's point, and I am very loath of 'disrespecting the troops' arguments to begin with. I'm probably opposed, if just for the fact that if this campaign succeeds, it will mean even more publicity for him and more fake outrage from the right.
Just make sure the soldiers who prefer something less repulsive than Rush have an alternative.

Let's try to be charitable: compared to Ledeen, Limbaugh DOES have a high-quality mind. (The last time I heard about Ledeen, a few weeks ago, he was announcing with a straight face that only Toby Keith admirers are "real Americans". He didn't, however, mention that fact that Keith says he now opposes the Iraq War.)

Rush is untouchable, a certified National Treasure even. and Clark's thing will only rally Rush's supporters.

i expect that Moore, or someone in MoveOn, or on DKos will do something offensive and stupid in reaction to Rush (maybe they'll go harass him at home, or take out a stupidly-worded ad somewhere!) and the whole issue will turn on them. then Congress will have to pass resolutions condemning Rush's harasser, and Rush will get to crow about it for the next six months.

and, what's more, i think Rush and Fox are expecting what i described and are goading the left into overreaction: Rush's increasingly bald-faced denials and edited transcript, Fox's "Disgraced Military Leaders" editorial, etc.. this stuff is bait.

i'm sure The Left will take it, too.

How about getting some counterprogramming? Rachel Maddow comes to mind...

...the principle that Congress throwing him off of Armed Forces Radio would stand for.

I understand the principle of free speech and Rush Limbaugh is perfectly entitled to it, as are all Americans.

However, I don't believe Limbaugh on AFN is a free speech issue. Free speech does not require a taxpayer-funded government broadcasting service to carry a right-wing propagandist.

There is no reason for the military to have Rush Limbaugh preaching to American troops that half, or more, of the American people hate them, hate America and aren't real Americans. That's just despicable, and I think it is also dangerous.

I am with farmgirl. The solution to Rush's influence isn't to require him to be removed, but to avoid giving him a monopoly on talk, by having him balanced. Unlike the issues raised by the Fairness Doctrine for domestic media, there is a lack of choices here.

But I don't think Congress should be taking people who the government pays to give their own political opinion off the air just because that political opinion is disgusting. It's a very dangerous precedent..

Are we to pretend, then, that Armed Forces Radio is currently open to all sorts of partisan political perspectives?

Dantheman, I've read some on this subject and the Armed Forces Network is actively steering its programming to the conservative pro-Bush side, just as it restricts access to left-wing bloggers and Web sites. I think intervention is justified, though I agree "more" free speech is a better alternative.

Actually I have a grudging respect for the "effectiveness of his work." He's full of shit, but he's developed a personality and a style that has made him an immense success. His mind ... nah.

you all miss the point, libelous speech isn't protected by the constitution or any law I can think of

Rush's comments here appear libelous. Probably res ipso -- all the info is in the public domain!

I smell a lawsuit -- why hasn't one been filed yet? Those libel vics should be suing all involved -- I think we know how a court will decide, and the vets could sure use the $$$

Rush's comments here appear libelous

And who has standing to sue? Why, phony soldiers!

then why should the federal government keep him on the air to the troops

since it's a govt venue, I don't see why Limbaugh has a right to appear on it

Primarily because it is what the troops asked for. AFN does market research just like their civilian counterparts. Rush is on AFN because the troops want to hear him.

The alternatives being tossed around here are a heck of a lot more scary than Rush. Congress should determine what our soldiers overseas get to listen to? Are you folks serious? When the majority changes do they get to reset the programming? Maybe a new Department of Information Oversight? On the plus side I guess they’d take rap music off the programming…

I don’t listen to talk radio in general and I don’t have a strong opinion of Rush. I do know that the charge is silly because no celebrity I can think of besides Bob Hope has been more supportive of or done more for the troops over the years.

And the irony meter pegs when Harkin (who was busted for exaggerating his service) gets in the middle of this and accuses Rush of being high on drugs on the Senate floor.

I don’t think you can ignore the fact that ABC’s Brian Ross had the story two days prior on “phony veterans” and “phony heroes” that focused around the sentencing of Jesse Macbeth.

And you really can’t expect me to take Media Matters as a respectable source on this. MM has been working to get Rush off AFN for years. They had Harkin introducing a fairness doctrine for AFN a couple of years ago. I’m going to have to go with Glenn on this – it’s a lot bigger than Rush – it’s preparing the battlespace. Paying college kids to sit around and listen to everyone on your hit list, just waiting for a gottcha moment that can be exploited is disgusting. And HRC is in it up to her neck.

If this was a right-wing operation most here would condemn it in the strongest terms as censorship, crushing of dissent, and suppressing free speech. And you would be right.

I don’t listen to talk radio in general and I don’t have a strong opinion of Rush. I do know that the charge is silly because no celebrity I can think of besides Bob Hope has been more supportive of or done more for the troops over the years.

I express no opinion on whether or not this is true, but Rush will throw the troops under the bus as soon as it serves the purpose of advancing the power of the republican party.

Paying college kids to sit around and listen to everyone on your hit list, just waiting for a gottcha moment that can be exploited is disgusting.

oh boo hoo. like Rush's entire career isn't based around screeching like a baboon every time he catches one of his political enemies in a gotcha.

Rilkefan - He has no right as an initial matter to be sponsored by the government, I think he might have the right to not have the government respond to his disgusting statements by taking away that sponsorship.

Just make sure the soldiers who prefer something less repulsive than Rush have an alternative.

I agree with this, Congress should either pass new general guidelines for AFN or more likely, order the relevant agency to do so in a manner which provides more alternatives.

appear libelous
I'm not sure about this either. It's obviously a thin line between someone thinking that a false statement has damaged their reputation and someone wanting to silence a speaker who says false things which damage their reputation, but libel suits should really only be motivated by the former. At the very least, a number of people should be requesting Rush retracts his false statements about them.

I don’t think you can ignore the fact that ABC’s Brian Ross had the story two days prior on “phony veterans” and “phony heroes” that focused around the sentencing of Jesse Macbeth.

I don't see why not. Unless I've read an incorrect version of the transcript Rush didn't bring up Macbeth until much later.

Paying college kids to sit around and listen to everyone on your hit list, just waiting for a gottcha moment that can be exploited is disgusting.

If the gotcha is an accurate report of what the person actually said then I can't say I'm disgusted by that at all.

But this is all trivial today, more importantly [sentiments which would violate the posting guidelines] every person who stood up for the principle that freedom to torture who we want when we want is more important than following duly executed laws.

OCSteve, I'm sympathetic to the idea that it would be more honorable for us on the left to unilaterally disarm and refuse to stoop to the tactics of fake outrage over gotchas that have been honed to perfection by the right-wing noise machine (recent examples include Kerry's botched joke, Durbin's mention of Nazis, Amnesty International's use of "gulag", MoveOn's Petraeus ad).

But as long as the political environment continues to reward such tactics, and as long as the modern Republican Party continues to be such a threat to American values, I'm all for building our own noise machine, as long as we don't follow the right wing into simply making up lies.

And wasn't Limbaugh put on AFN after a bunch of whining by Congressional conservatives?

Ugh,

And wasn't Ed Schultz removed for a while for the same reason?

Being related to a Rushbot, I have often had to sit by the Limbaugh fireside. Rush is a hollow shell; it's all a performance. I wouldn't be surprised if, at some point, there comes a revelation that his entire purpose was to precipitate the end of Conservatism as a political theory, and bring about the rise of the Beast, for lack of a better symbol. The "Talent on Loan From God" is part of it. I think it was part of the credit bubble.

OCSteve, you can talk smack about Media Matters all you want, but in this case, in order for them to be wrong, you'd have to argue that they dummied up over a minute of Limbaugh's voice saying these things to make these claims. That's beyond unlikely--that's 9/11 conspiracy theory land, with even less actual proof that they did it. Get past your biases and listen to the two pieces. Rush's people edited the tape, and he made the comments.

Congress should determine what our soldiers overseas get to listen to? Are you folks serious? When the majority changes do they get to reset the programming?

I think it's entirely rational for Congress to say that Armed Forces Radio, which uses taxpayer funds to broadcast to a largely captive audience, should be kept free of partisan political broadcasts. I don't see this as creeping fascism in the least. And by the way, I'm a stalwart opponent of the Fairness Doctrine.

Incertus (Brian): you'd have to argue that they dummied up over a minute of Limbaugh's voice saying these things to make these claims.

Huh? MM’s claim is based on the fact that he didn’t mention MacBeth until 1 minute 50 seconds after the remark. Is there a “five second rule” of some kind in force here?
Their case that he misrepresented his own comments is based on this:

Limbaugh twice claimed that rather than speaking generally of soldiers who support withdrawal from Iraq, that he was "talking about one soldier with that 'phony soldier' comment, Jesse MacBeth." But as the transcript makes clear, Limbaugh actually referred to "phony soldiers," plural. Responding to the caller's statement 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"

So it wasn’t about MacBeth because he used the plural. Forget the fact that it is plural (there have been more than just MacBeth), even MM makes the point that he was responding to the caller - who used the plural. That’s pretty weak.

Look - there is no freedom from consequences in free speech. If Rush actually offended the troops they will make that known to AFN and AFN will drop his show. Rush does not and should not have any protection from blowback over his remarks.

But Congress intervening to remove a talk show from AFN is the very definition of censorship. Worse – it is blocking an opinion from reaching the very people who defend the constitution. Think about that for a minute – do you actually want the government deciding what soldiers get to hear and what they do not? Do you want any party controlling the flow of information and opinion to the armed forces? That sounds like a really bad idea to me…

Think about that for a minute – do you actually want the government deciding what soldiers get to hear and what they do not? Do you want any party controlling the flow of information and opinion to the armed forces? That sounds like a really bad idea to me…

WTF are you talking about? That's exactly what the gov't does right now with respect to AFN, isn't it? Or is the programming based solely on a period vote of the troops (who are also part of the gov't in any event)? And does not the military already block access to sites on the internet?

OCSteve - Seriously, how is it currently decided what programming gets selected for Armed Forces Radio? Wikipedia discusses what some of the current programming is here, but not how it's chosen.

Steve: think it's entirely rational for Congress to say that Armed Forces Radio, which uses taxpayer funds to broadcast to a largely captive audience, should be kept free of partisan political broadcasts.

That would be tough. So no talk radio at all. One of their most popular offerings is NPR – so they’re gone too. They use NBC, CBS, ABS, CNN, Fox and MSNBC as news sources. You’ll want Fox gone, I’ll want MSNBC and likely CNN gone. Many songs carry a politic message today – have to screen all those out… NASCAR is viewed by many as a right-wing kind of thing, lose that…

When enough soldiers wanted Al Franken and Air America they carried it. If Rush actually offended the troops they’ll make their opinions known and he’ll get dropped. I’d rather see it shut down completely than to see the government either ban “partisan political broadcasts” (and decide what counts as partisan) or try to implement a fairness doctrine for the troops.

No OCSteve--the bashing of Limbaugh is based on the fact that he cut over a minute of his show, spliced it together, then aired that to AFN, and also doctored the transcript that he put on his website, which Fox News commentators have used as "proof" that MM is lying about him

Sorry, OCSteve--I got one bit of that wrong--Limbaugh excised over a minute from the original bit when he reaired it two days after sticking his foot in his mouth, transcribed that, and claimed it was the original. In short, he and his allies are trying to make the story disappear down the memory hole, and people who buy into their version are aiding them.

One of their most popular offerings is NPR – so they’re gone too.

Look, if you think Rush Limbaugh and NPR are comparable examples, I really can't talk to you.

I'm not talking about an outfit like Fox News that presents stories with an ideological slant, or that occasionally slips the wrong party ID next to Mark Foley's name. I'm talking about a guy who openly preaches hatred of Democrats and liberals on a daily basis. There's no difficult line-drawing exercise involved here.

I agree with OCSteve to this extent--I hate the idea of the government banning someone. I don't care if this counts as censorship or not.

Limbaugh is a dirtbag, of course. I've listened to him on road trips, as a masochistic exercise, and it was time better spent looking at roadkill.

the very people who defend the Constitution

ACLU lawyers?

It's tough to disagree with OCSteve because he's so cussedly agreeable.

OCSteve wrote in regard to Limbaugh:

"Primarily because it is what the troops ask for"

and

"... no celebrity I can think of besides Bob Hope has been more supportive of and has done more for the troops over the years"

Well, as Bob Hope once quipped, "To give you an idea of how long these guys have been at sea, they just made Phyllis Diller their pin-up girl."

When Rush has Dorothy Lamour, Jayne Mansfield, Brooke Shields, and Betty Grable exchanging thinly veiled sexual repartee with him, sign me up.

More seriously, if I was a soldier in Iraq who may have exchanged some private negative opinions about the war and President Bush to a comrade whom I later found out was a Dittohead, I'm trying to think which way I'd be looking for that next attack.

OCSteve, I followed some of your links and even my sarcasm is not up to the task of commenting on the list of names demanding apologies from Media Matters (and by extension every liberal under the sun): Brent Bozell, O'Reilly, Mark Levin (MARK LEVIN?!), every talking head on FOX, Michelle Malkin, you know, all of the usual thin-skinned, deeply wounded, whining suspects, who would rip the throat out of Bambi if she blinked to her left.

As to Hillary and Soros having their fingerprints all over this, what took them so long? It's a thing of beauty to observe the wolves go after MM's David Brock, who ran with them for so long and taught a few of them how to bloody their snouts with liberal blood.

And,

"It's preparing the battlespace."

No, the battlespace, in terms of political rhetoric, was scorched earth a long time ago. Limbaugh carried a very effective flamethrower.

See, you've made good points about the drawbacks of banning Limbaugh from Armed Forces Radio, despite my opinion that he is nothing as classy or, may I say, quintessentially American (in the sense of not feeding military ill-will against some of the citizens' they serve) as Bob Hope.

I don't agree with Hilzoy and others either regarding balance and not stooping to the level of Limbaugh and company. No, I'm thinking the rhetorical battlefield should look a little like Dresden when all is said and done.

Then we'll see if Limbaugh wants to go another round.

That said, I'm sorry to pile on and my comments carry no personal animus. So, I'll end with this:

Bob Hope, commenting on Bing Crosby's singing:

"Crosby sounds like a passionate cow being milked with suede gloves."

oh noes, librulz talks bad bout me

Ugh: Or is the programming based solely on a period vote of the troops (who are also part of the gov't in any event)?

Washerdreyer: Seriously, how is it currently decided what programming gets selected for Armed Forces Radio?

Well my firsthand knowledge is many years out of date and I’m combining that with things I’ve heard/seen more recently, so don’t take this as gospel.

High level they try to get rights to whatever shows have high ratings in the US. The reasoning is that the troops as a group will mostly like whatever it is that America most likes at the time. They can’t always get broadcast rights though. So if a show has high ratings and they are willing to give AFN broadcast rights that’s one avenue. They do also have a responsibility to balance commentary, especially in an election year. So while I don’t think that Al Franken’s ratings would have made him a first choice, they added him when people asked for him in the name of balance IMO.

They also do surveys and take listener feedback like any broadcaster. They do make programming changes based on what listeners want:

“Our audience has made it clear that they are big fans of National Public Radio’s live programming,” said Bautell. “NPR’s All Things Considered will now run from 10 p.m. to midnight replacing the Tom Joyner Morning Show.”

Rush was originally added because he had huge ratings and a lot of people who wanted to hear him. Writing this now though - I also seem to remember some kind of Congressional involvement. I think troops weren’t having much luck getting AFN to carry Rush and they were writing their Congressmen about it as a lack of balance issue or something and a couple of Congressmen wrote to AFN or something like that. So there’s another good reason not to want Congress deciding what’s balanced. ;)


Steve: Look, if you think Rush Limbaugh and NPR are comparable examples, I really can't talk to you.

Not at all (although again I don’t listen to Rush). I was just trying to point out that what’s partisan is in the eye of the beholder. I’m sure that most people right and left would agree that Rush is very partisan; I don’t think there is any question there. But plenty of folks on the right also believe that NPR is partisan. I’m not saying they are comparable. (I’d compare Rush to Franken or Rhodes.)


John Thullen: I followed some of your links and even my sarcasm is not up to the task of commenting on the list of names demanding apologies from Media Matters

Well, I wouldn’t normally use them as cites (well, Newsweek maybe) but once hilzoy used MM I couldn’t resist. Consider it a “meta” dig in a moment of weakness.

That said, I'm sorry to pile on…

As I’ve noted before John – it’s a pleasure reading your comments even when I’m on the receiving end. ;)

Whoops. It seems I now have to do some work for those annoying folks who sign my paycheck. Later.

OCSteve - thanks.

Paying college kids to sit around and listen to everyone on your hit list, just waiting for a gottcha moment that can be exploited is disgusting.

Wait, what? Seriously, the fault isn't with Rush for calling people phony soldiers, doctoring the tapes and transcripts, and then comparing veterans to suicide bombers; it's with people listening to the show he broadcasts and then commenting that these statements are, you know, disgusting? That's your position?

To a degree, I agree that "gotcha" politics are stupid, but that does not excuse saying things that are actually terrible.

I got nothing to say about Limbaugh that anyone really wants to hear. I'll just talk about "fairness", "balance", and "censorship".

If I'm not mistaken, AFR, unlike (these days) private media, is required to be balanced in its presentation of topical and/or political opinion. The relevant regulation appears to be DoD Regulation 5120.20.

DoD regs are enforced by the DoD. Not Congress. There is no issue of Congressional censorship of the airwaves, public or private. Congress can't take Limbaugh off AFR, they can only ask DoD to do so.

DoD censorship of AFR, however, is not only legal, its appropriate, for more reasons than I care to go into here.

Here in the civilian world, it's all well and good to claim, for instance, that the wife of the President and Commander In Chief had a former associate and current staff member murdered to cover up financial hanky panky. Sort of well and good, anyway.

That kind of libelous crap goes well beyond "political opinion", however, and if the DoD decides to yank Limbaugh, I'll cry no tears.

Ironic as it may be to say so, AFR is really not the place to insist on first amendment protections for speech, just like military bases aren't the place to insist on fourth amendment protections from unreasonable search and seizure.

AFR is broadcast to people whose lives are on the line, protecting us. It also is heard by folks (friendly and not so friendly) who live and work in and around US military bases. These people don't need to hear the kind of bilious spew that Limbaugh dishes up. Even if they find it entertaining.

Thanks -

russell's comment makes me wonder, do we need AFR (or TV) these days?

Pooh: That's your position?

Not exactly. If people say stupid crap and someone catches it call them on it. What I object to is big political money funding people to sit around and monitor everyone on their hit list in the hopes of catching anything that can be used to create a controversy – whether one exists or not.
He may have misspoke or recovered poorly. Stacked against his decade’s long history of supporting the troops in many many ways this is BS. It is taken way out of context.
But politics is a blood sport these days – whatever.


Ugh: russell's comment makes me wonder, do we need AFR (or TV) these days?
Short answer – Yes. Again going back many years…

I’d like to say no. I lived “on the economy” and did my best to learn German. I think everyone should. But after 6 months or so I craved American broadcasting. Major landlord/tenant dispute: I tried to put up a dish antenna in his backyard. We compromised by him allowing me to go on his roof and place an antenna that could get AFN.
Total Immersion is the way to learn the language, customs, etc. But you need a slice of home. Popular shows run a season behind. Guess what? What you miss most is the commercials! AFN replaces every network commercial spot with an Army/Navy spot. Pure military propaganda.

Our friends and family mailed us VCR tapes every few months or so and what we actually loved and missed was the commercials! We kept up on Americana that way. Do you know how some people watch the Super bowl just for the new commercials? Anyway – way important.

You drive a lot – and you need radio. You want to keep up:

“Beep, beep, beep, beep, beeeep…. It’s X O’clock in Central Europe. By satellite, from the United States, the news is next on AFN…”

Now it has been many years, but I’ll bet you that is pretty much verbatim.

It is a slice of home, even if it lasts 30 seconds.

What I object to is big political money funding people to sit around and monitor everyone on their hit list in the hopes of catching anything that can be used to create a controversy – whether one exists or not.

And where do you think Rush, hannity, FOX, et al get all the crap the scream about. They have scores of interns and what not do that very thing, have have been doing it for the last 15 years. I mean they tracked down an obscure professor from colorado state (Ward Churchill) and shrieked that he was 'the face of the left' Who even knew he existed before that hatefest?

I guess the frustrating thing about some of you critiques of democrats or the liberal movement in general is the GOP has been doing all this for so long now, and so successfully, and NOBODY called them on it. But the first instance that liberals fight back using the same techniques, everyone starts tut, tut-ing: "you dems won't get any votes be being so underhanded"

I agree that they are underhanded, and in an ideal discourse this sort of thing would be shunned. But I have seen it work over and over again for the GOP - didn't hurt them one bit.

Fledermaus: Fair enough. Disagree on Churchill (he painted the bulls eye on his head) but I agree with you overall.

Not fair using our techniques against us. ;)

(he painted the bulls eye on his head)

And Rush didn't? Come on, dude...

Stacked against his decade’s long history of supporting the troops in many many ways this is BS.

You'll have to fill me in on this.

I see that he's donated, personally, to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, and encouraged his listeners to the do the same, to the tune of millions. That is, frankly, all good.

He also has the "Adopt A Soldier" program, where he gets his listeners to sponsor subscriptions to his own Limbaugh Letter for military personnel. Ka-ching!! Which is to say, to me that sounds an awful lot like Rush pimping the troops to boost his own subscription base. YMMV.

His other contributions to the troops seems to consist of road trips (all good, I guess, but I wonder on whose dime) and licensing his radio show to AFN. See "Ka-ching" above.

Did Bob Hope get paid for his Vietnam era troop shows?

I appreciate that you were hungry for a slice of home while you were overseas, but there must be something more constructive than Rush that can fill the gap.

Check this out. As noted above, Rush has, consistently, over the years advanced the proposition that Hillary Clinton had Vince Foster murdered. Hey, maybe she pulled the trigger herself! Great entertainment, no doubt.

But what if she's the next Commander in Chief? Will we have hundreds of thousands of Americans, in uniform, serving under Clinton while you and I pay Rush to advance the claim that she's a murderess?

If that doesn't look like a problem to you, I respectfully submit that you need to clean your glasses.

If it makes you feel better to yank Franken as well, that's OK with me. IMO a policy of political neutrality for the AFN is a good idea.

Rush ain't neutral. And I don't mean "ain't neutral" like NPR ain't neutral (although it basically kinda is). I mean "ain't neutral" like a freaking pit bull ain't neutral.

Thanks -

Regarding OC Steve's arguments:

(1) Let's take an actual look at that exchange between Limbaugh and his dimwitted caller:

"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 --"

As Steve Benen points out, Limbaugh then deliberately edited the transcript of his actual conversation to conceal the fact that it was two minutes before he suddenly started mentioning Jesse Macbeth. In that initial exchange, he was clearly agreeing with his dimwitted caller that all "real soldiers" favor the Iraq War. Then he started having uneasy second thoughts about how that would come out.

Still, if Limbaugh is forced to do enough groveling now and publicly repeat enough times that he didn't REALLY mean that all active soldiers who disagree with the Iraq War are traitors, it's fine with me as a substitute. Until he does something like this the next time, that is -- which won't be long. (Actually, he's already done so. In his "apology", he announced that John Murtha was a "phony soldier" because he had "blanketly accepting the notion that Marines at Haditha engaged in wanton murder of innocent children and civilians" -- although Murtha actually said that sources within the military had told him that the investigation had already concluded that they had done so and, as MSNBC reported on 5-17-06, "Military officials told NBC News that the Marine Corps' own evidence appears to show Murtha is right." Murtha, by the way, received the Bronze Star with Combat "V", two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.)

As for Limbaugh's supposed belovedness among the troops: take a look at the following Salon article on the extent to which the directors of AFR don't give the troops much choice on who, or what, they listen to: http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2004/05/26/rush_limbaugh/index.html

Of course, as we all know by now, it's extremely unlikely that the Pentagon under Bush would ever engage in such crass attempts to manipulate public opinion. But it DOES seem a little odd.

Ugh: wasn't Limbaugh put on AFN after a bunch of whining by Congressional conservatives?

Dantheman: wasn't Ed Schultz removed for a while for the same reason?

My memory is that Rush has been on for a long time. Around 2002-3 Tom Harkin got a bill passed to mandate that Ed Schultz go on for some effort at balance, since there was no liberal opinion radio. [Memo to whoever mentioned NPR above: they're not "liberal talk radio".] Then getting Schultz on didn't happen, and didn't happen, and didn't happen, for at least a year after the bill took effect signed ... and I quit paying attention.

If it turns out the Pentagon/administration decided not to follow that legislative directive just by sitting on it, then I'm perfectly comfortable with yanking Limbaugh. He's had a decade of pouring his hateful lies into the ears of a captive audience.

I'm going to dispute that Rush supports the troops. It's one thing to cheer them on. But did he support measures to make sure they go into battle fully equipped? That they get adequate leave? That their dependents are properly provided for? That veterans have proper care and the aid they need to return to productive civilian life? That those who've died in the line of duty receive appropriate public recognition from the president and country? No. The president has opposed all of these, and Bush has done his part to rally public support against laws that would have contributed directly to making our armed forces the best prepared and best supported they could be in the midst of a very difficult mission.

Basically, Rush is engaged in the crudest kind of collectivist thinking. Like the president and administration, he's much more interested in that nebulous abstraction, the war effort, than in real soldiers and their real, individual situations. This is the very category of error they spent thirty years attacking, only to become its own best practitioners. But the war effort's circumstances can't be determined apart from those of the people engaged in it, and if they suffer, it does too.

Naturally, Jesus covered all this in parables back when.

I always wondered what would hapen when God called the loan.

What I object to is big political money funding people to sit around and monitor everyone on their hit list in the hopes of catching anything that can be used to create a controversy – whether one exists or not.

This is what, among others, Bill Bennett, David Horowitz, Bill Donohue, Brent Bozell and many others have done for decades now, and your political party rode quite a wave on it, so I recommend you sit back and take it for a while.

He may have misspoke or recovered poorly. Stacked against his decade’s long history of supporting the troops in many many ways this is BS. It is taken way out of context.

How many USO visits to Iraq has Mr. Ass-Boil made? Al Franken has made at least four.

Nell,

Here is Howard Kurtz on the decision to pull Ed Schultz off Armed Forces Radio. I couldn;t find by googling any articles on when he was eventually put on, but he is there now.

Apropo of Bruce Baugh's comment, I have to ask if Rush has, in supporting the troops, weighed in on this one yet?

"MINNEAPOLIS, MN (NBC) -- When they came home from Iraq, 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard had been deployed longer than any other ground combat unit. The tour lasted 22 months and had been extended as part of President Bush's surge.

1st Lt. Jon Anderson said he never expected to come home to this: A government refusing to pay education benefits he says he should have earned under the GI bill.

"It's pretty much a slap in the face," Anderson said. "I think it was a scheme to save money, personally. I think it was a leadership failure by the senior Washington leadership... once again failing the soldiers."

Anderson's orders, and the orders of 1,161 other Minnesota guard members, were written for 729 days.

Had they been written for 730 days, just one day more, the soldiers would receive those benefits to pay for school.

"Which would be allowing the soldiers an extra $500 to $800 a month," Anderson said."

Via Balloon Juice

pooh, that's one hell of a story. The no profanity rule doesn't stop me being able to describe what I think about it, because there are no words profane enough.

A National Guard unit? 22 months? One day shy of the benefit you say?

I've often regretted that I can't seem to convince myself to believe in the christian notions of heaven and a loving god with a plan. Only now do I find myself regretting that I don't believe in hell. That belief would also have some comfort value.

@John in Nashville: Heh.

Thanks for that link, Dantheman. Couldn't help but notice that Limbaugh introduced the "NPR is the balance for my show" meme that showed up earlier in the thread.

Since Schultz hadn't made it on to the network at the point Kurtz's column appeared, "pulled off" doesn't quite seem to capture it. Something of a Lucy and the football element to the announcement, given the references in Levy's email, and given that more than a year had passed since Harkin's resolution passed.

So, if Schultz is now, my guess is that it became effective in mid-November 2006. Not that I'm cynical or anything.

I'm wrong; the network relented only a few weeks later. My, what a fair and balanced lineup:

Last week, the Pentagon sent letters to a group of congressmen who went to bat for Schultz, saying it had changed its mind: Schultz's voice would be added to those of Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura Schlessinger and James Dobson on AFRN.

The point is, in my mind, the larger pattern. I don't buy all the excuses Limbaugh's defenders trump up, but that's secondary. Look at this pattern:

*Swift Boat Lies,
*Lies about Max Cleland
*Jay Fawcett's campaign office set on fire twice
*The soldier who blew the whistle on Abu Graib driven our of his home town by death threats
* After Cole (of the New York Times esaay) died, his Republican legislator in Montana first claimed that he couldn't have written the essay since soldiers don't write four syllable words, then claimed that poor Cole had been duped by lefties.
* Limbaugh, trying to explain away his gaff, said that antiwar soldiers are being duped and manipulated.
*harassment of Paul Hackett
*attempt to SwiftBoat Murtha ( who may be vulnerable to charges of corruption, but not to claims that he was a bad soldier)
*The Republican who ran against Pat Murphy ran ads that claimed that Murphy was a desk soldier, not a combat vet. Lie--he fouught in Bahgdad
*Tammy Duckworth's opponent called her a cut and run Democrat. She lost both legs in Iraq.
*Members of the Gathering of Beagles attacked a Gold Star father and tore up the photo of his son.
*Remember the innterrogator who wrotean apology that was published in either the Times or the Post? He was subjected to weeks of hate mail from the right.
*Attacks on Tillman's family after the hearings on his death

I suppose, if someone really wanted to cling to the myth that Republicans are the Real True Natural Support for soldiers, then a determined person could come up with some way to rationalize each example I gave.

But that is self deception.

The pattern is that rightwingers act as if they own soldiers. The only soldiers they support are the ones that toe the righhtwing party line. Any soldier who deviates is immediately attacked first as being a bad soldier, then as being too stupid to thinnk for himself or herself. It is not the case that rightwingers support the military. The right wing mindset is that the military is supposed to support THEM.

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