This story, Which I call the "phony soldiers episode", is the clearest example of media bias and congressional deception for political purposes in recent history.
It starts off in 2006, with a Tacoma man named Jesse Macbeth, who took the stage at demonstrations held in opposition to the U.S.’s role in Iraq. Macbeth claimed to be a decorated Iraq war veteran. Macbeth recounted tales of systemic murder and torture performed by US military on Iraqi civilians.
The AP ran a story about Macbeth's allegations of abuse by the US military. Naturally, the Mainstream media (MSM) took the ball and ran with it. The MSM was constantly running stories about how the US military was performing torture and murders. There were many other news stories with similar themes. One other that comes to mind in the "Haditha massacres".
As it tuned out, most of these stories turned out to be false. In reality, Macbeth only made it through only six weeks of Army basic training and never set foot in Iraq. Macbeth completely fabricated his stories about abuses by the US military in Iraq. Macbeth faced charges for making false statements. Macbeth was eventually convicted and sentenced to five months in prison in U.S. District Court in Seattle, three months in a halfway house after his release and three years of probation.
At this point, Rush Limbaugh was talking about media bias in regard to the Iraq war. Limbaugh called those who report falsely on US atrocities in Iraq as "media darlings". Limbaugh was explaining how the media was reporting on all allegations of military abuse with prominent coverage. Limbaugh pointed out that most of these allegations were subsequently proved to be false and the MSM would give the exonerations obscure coverage or no coverage at all.
Subsequently,Limbaugh used the term "phony soldiers" while talking to a caller. Rush was clearly referring to liars like Jesse Macbeth. Jesse Macbeth was a "phony soldier" because he never served in Iraq and made up stories about US military abuses.
At this point in time an unrelated poll came out that indicated that many soldiers in Iraq were opposed the way that Bush was handling the war. "Media Matters", a liberal watchdog of conservative radio, took Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" comment out of context and reported that Rush Limbaugh was calling soldiers who opposed Bush's Iraq policies "phony soldiers". The MSM picked up the ball and went on a rampage against Limbaugh. The MSM attacked Limbaugh as being unpatriotic. The MSM said that Limbaugh had disrespected our soldiers and veterans because he calls them "phony soldiers' when they oppose Bush's policies in Iraq.
This "out of context" quote of Rush saying "phony soldiers" reached fever pitch in the MSM. Unbelievably, several Senators made speeches on the Senate floor condemning Limbaugh for disrespecting our soldiers and military. They even talked abut voting for "censure" of Rush Limbaugh. After a couple of days of discussing Rush Limbaugh on the Senate floor, Harry Reid wrote a letter to Rush's syndicator. This is the letter that Harry Reid wrote: http://download.premiereradio.net/guest/rushlimb/pdf/RushLimbaughSmearLetter.pdf
Here is an unedited version of Limbaugh's broadcast where he used the term "phony soldiers". Please listen to the entire clip. Limbaugh uses the term phony soldiers in the beginning of the clip and then several minutes pass before he explains what he meant by the term phony (fake) soldiers. The MSM reports only report on the first part of this clip and completely ignores the context that Limbaugh provides at the end. Please listen to this entire clip. Here is the youtube video of Limbaugh's broadcast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry5vNorVphM
Limbaugh brilliantly turned this incident to his advantage. As it turned out, Mark Mays, CEO of Clear Channel Communications, the recipient of Harry Reid's letter of admonition, also happens to be a friend of Rush Limbaugh. Mark Mays turned the letter over to Rush. Then Rush had a brilliant idea. Rush decided to publicly auction this letter off on EBay. Rush pledged to donate the proceeds of the auction to a charity that provides college scholarships for children of American servicemen who have been killed in action. Rush also pledged to match the winning bid with his own donation to that charity.
The auction ran about a week. It was very exciting. Rush announced the high bid every day on his show. Finally, at the end of the week, Rush announced the winning bid. The winning bid was 2.1 million dollars. This was the highest sale on EBay for charity ever. Rush also pledged to match the winning bid and Rush donated another 2.1 million dollars to the charity himself.
What is amazing is that the auction, the record sale price, the 4.2 million dollar donation to charity and the truth about the phony soldiers episode was barely covered by the MSM. In the end, Harry Reid tried to take credit for the events that led up to the 4.2 million dollar charitable donation, although Reid himself did not contribute a dime, even after being asked to donate by Limbaugh.
Here are two more links to youtube videos. The first video is when Limbaugh announces the auction. The second one is an interview on FOX News, a month after the auction, in which Rush confirms that the Charity had received 4.2 million dollars. Be sure to watch the second video in it's entirety. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PppO7hF7ugY
In my humble opinion, this type of bias by the media was no mistake, it was intentional. This is part of a pattern that I constantly see. Do you know the whole story about the 8 marines that were arrested in Haditha, Iraq for war crimes? In a nutshell, they were locked up in a military prison for over a year during their murder trials. Eventually they where not only acquitted, but completely exonerated. The Judge actually called some of these men heroes for their part in the so called "Haditha massacre".
Time magazine wrote an article accusing Marines of atrocities in Haditha. Then the MSM picked up the ball and ran with this false accusations. Of course the media extensively covered the charges and constantly used the term "Haditha massacre". Democratic Pennsylvania Congressman Murtha publicly called these Marines cold blooded killers and actually fabricated stories about their atrocities during news interviews. The charges of atrocities were plastered all over the news reports in gruesome detail. However, the eventual outcome of the trial was barely mentioned by the MSM.
This video is typical of the coverage by the MSM, it includes a tape of congressman Murtha calling our troops cold blooded killers. It was later proved in court that these charges were based on the acuisations of enemy sympathizers in Iraq without any corroboration. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7przeLpl2s
Please watch this entire report and extensive interview of Murtha.
Here is a blog about the outcome of the final trial. http://allanerickson.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/haditha-marine-commander-exonerated-time-to-charge-murtha/