Rush Limbaugh is the king of modern talk radio. That makes him an instant target of both conservative talk radio hosts and the faux left. The former group try to beat him in the ratings, while the latter group can't, so they resort to the next best thing in their eyes: character assassination. For the most part, they've been unsuccessful in making anything stick, which makes the faux left more desperate and angry.
The most recent assault on Limbaugh came after a comment he made on his show last week. During a call, Rush made reference to "phony soldiers" in the following exchange.
CALLER 2: Yeah, and, you know what --
LIMBAUGH: "Save the -- keep the troops safe" or whatever. 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.
Media Matters, a liberal media watchdog group headed up by David Brock, jumped on "phony soldiers" to make it sound like Limbaugh attacked all soldiers. Rush shot back by saying his comments were taken out of context and that he was referring to anti-war activists claiming to be veterans, such as Jesse MacBeth. That wasn't good enough for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his fellow Senate Democrats, 41 all total who sent a letter to Clear Channel Communications demanding that its president "publicly repudiate these comments that call into question ('antiwar soldiers') service and sacrifice, and ask Mr. Limbaugh to apologize for his comments."
I'm going to catch heck for this, but I have to say it. Neither side is completely honest in this situation. Rush tried to do a little after-the-fact spinning to defend himself by adding in the MacBeth reference. Regardless of whether he's right, the fact that he didn't clarify that at the time he made the statement, which opened the door for Media Matters and Harry Reid to jump on his comment and distort them. As someone who has been taken out of context a lot, he should have known better and either clarified his statement at the time he made it or chosen a different turn of a phrase.
Now, before you faux liberals start cheering, you're no better than Limbaugh. What Brock and Media Matters did was nothing short of pure intellectual dishonesty. Then again, it's par for the course for them, since they've made a cottage industry out of taking comments from conservative media figures out of context, twisting what was said, and then bashing the "real" message. That's the essence of a strawman argument, and it reflects an utter weakness in the argument of the person or people making it.
That brings us to Harry Reid. Political opportunism is the least of your "crimes" here, sir. Not only did you perpetuate the Media Matters lie, but you did so in a particularly cowardly way. You didn't go in front of the public to make your case; you stood in the well of the Senate where no one could challenge you. So far, I haven't heard whether you would meet Limbaugh's challenge to repeat your lies to his face, and I doubt we ever will.
As far as the other Senate Democrats who signed the letter condemning Rush, not one of you has a moral leg to stand on. Not only were you in on the lie, but you didn't even have Reid's courage to stand up, even in an echo chamber like the Senate, and voice your disapproval. And considering that it was signed by four Democrats running for President (Clinton, Obama, Dodd, and Biden), this shows me that you are afraid that what you say won't be appreciated by your fellow Americans, who I'm told kinda like talk radio and Rush in particular. Leaders aren't afraid of bad press, but you Democrats wouldn't know about that, considering you have no real leaders in your party.
In short, both sides of the latest Limbaugh controversy aren't being completely truthful. Not that they care, really. The faux left will say and do anything to discredit a conservative, and there are more than a few conservatives who would twist the truth to get one-up on the left. But some of us long for a day when both sides can once again make arguments based on truth and logic, not half-truths and emotional outbursts. Let's hope that day comes soon.