Topic: Media Research Center
In its fine tradition of not-so-special "special reports," the new Media Research Center report by Tim Graham, "Rush to Ruin: the Left's Character Assassination Campaign Against Rush Limbaugh," is more significant for what it omits than for what it includes.
The errors of omission start at the beginning, with a quote from P.J. O'Rourke that "It’s the twilight of the radio loudmouth, you know? I knew it from the moment the fat guy ... refused to share his drugs." Nowhere is it mentioned that O'Rourke is a libertarian conservative.
Graham goes on to highlight how Limbaugh's statement that "We are being told that we have to hope Obama succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this was the first black President" caused the "media establishment" to "denounce Limbaugh and demanded that Republicans distance themselves from his claims." As the MRC has before, Graham gives Limbaugh a pass on the sexual crudity of Limbaugh's remark, just one of many references to anal sex by Limbaugh that Graham and his MRC buddies don't find offensive, though references to anal sex by other entertainers are routinely denounced.
Graham complains how Limbaugh has been subject to "vicious personal attacks" by various people in the media. But the MRC has a long history of personal attacks on President Clinton in the form of sex jokes.
Graham also engages in irrelevant evidence on another claim, calling it unfair that Limbaugh was criticized as racist for his 2003 statement regarding Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb that "The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback can do well" and insisting that there was "plenty of evidence of liberal sports columnists 'desirous' of black advancement in the NFL (New York Times columnist Selena Roberts complained the NFL was 'white as baking soda')." But a single example making a general claim about blacks in the NFL -- which, as excerpted, does not demonstrate support for the claim -- doesn't prove Limbaugh's specific assertion regarding McNabb correct. As we detailed back then, the MRC couldn't back up Limbaugh in 2003, either.
Gaham stuck to the Limbaugh party line in defending him over his 2007 statement that he appeared to call soliders who called for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq "phony soldiers." Graham wrote:
Less than two minutes after that exchange, Limbaugh elaborated on what he had meant, explaining exactly who he was thinking about when he offered the term: Jesse Macbeth, a left-wing hero on YouTube for describing the horrors he’d seen American troops commit – but was then charged and convicted of falsifying a military record and falsely applying for veterans’ benefits. He’d never served overseas, and was dismissed from boot camp. ABC’s Brian Ross had done a story several nights earlier, and called Macbeth a “phony soldier.”
The left and Democrats in Congress then mangled Limbaugh’s comments to claim he had said that any servicemen or women who might oppose the war in Iraq in public had been defamed by the talk show host as “phony soldiers.” They typically made no reference to the actual “phony soldiers” Limbaugh was talking about.
In fact, it was not at all clear that Limbaugh was referring to MacBeth at the time he said the remark. As Media Matters documented, Limbaugh had not mentioned MacBeth at all on that day's show before he made the "phony soldiers" remark, and then did not specifically reference MacBeth until 1 minute and 50 seconds later. Limbaugh did not call MacBeth a "phony soldier" at that point either; rather, he berated the media for not checking out his story.
Given that Graham's report came out in the midst of Limbaugh's failed attempt to buy a piece of the St. Louis Rams, Graham complained that some media outlets attributed racially insensitive statements to Limbaugh that have since proven to be unverified or fabricated. Unsurprisingly, Graham didn't mention that there are numerous other examples -- fully documented -- of racially charged statements by Limbaugh.