[photos:WashintonPost & Random House]
Byron York's accurate take on Media Matters, the front group for all things Hillary, sparked a bit of a feud in cyberspace. Media Matters which masquerades as a 'media watchdog' instead of a PR-issuing liberal poodle, cut-and-pasted comments on Rush Limbaugh's show last week, and--voila! One manufactured "phony" controversy, fit for left wing media consumption, coming right up.
From Byron York at National Review OnlineThe reprinted article got MM's panties in a bunch and they did what they excel at: they issued a press release.
Editor’s note: The controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s “phony soldiers” remark has brought new prominence to Media Matters for America, the left-wing media watchdog founded by former right-wing media star David Brock. Media Matters is an avowedly political institution, part of a group of institutionsthe Center for American Progress, MoveOn.org, and others that have become increasingly important in Democratic politics. In 2004, Byron York revealed the origins of Media Matters and the big Democratic party donors who helped Brock bring it to life.
MM replied:As Daily Pundit puts it: My ribs are sore…
Media Matters is not, as the National Review claims, “an avowedly political institution,” but a nonpartisan, progressive nonprofit that is unaffiliated with any political party or candidate.
Byron York responded:So Media Matters is a watchdog for the media; that's soothing to know. If it just pointed out media bias like NewsBusters or Accuracy in Media, it's doubtful anyone would question their mission, their organizational status or their sincerity. But MM is not satisfied with only "watching" news, it wants to manufacture its own, too. And there's the beef.
That's good to know. It should be pointed out that Media Matters is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) institution, meaning it is tax exempt and that contributions made to Media Matters are fully tax deductible. That is, by one of the true perversities of our tax code that also benefits some conservative groups, a contribution to Media Matters is as tax deductible as a contribution to the Salvation Army or the Red Cross. It's a great relief to know they're not political.
Back to Byron York's 2004 story. Launched in early May , the organization says its purpose is to keep an eye on “conservative misinformation” in the American media. While in its first few weeks of operation Media Matters published attacks on the usual targets — Fox News, for example — Brock seems to be devoting particular energy to what he calls an “aggressive ad campaign” against radio host Rush Limbaugh.York delves into a bit of Media Matters maven, David Brock:
Brock has received far less attention for his new project than he received in 2002 when he published Blinded by the Right, the book in which he confessed to having lied in some of the stories he wrote for conservative publications in the 1990s.David Brock, Media Matters, not truthful? Conducting an "aggressive" campaign against his old target, Limbaugh?
The book did what many — even those on the left who share Brock’s contempt for conservatives — consider fatal damage to Brock’s credibility. When Blinded by the Right appeared, Timothy Noah, the liberal “Chatterbox” columnist for Slate, wrote that “Chatterbox yields to no one in his eagerness to believe the awful things Brock is now saying about himself and the conservative movement in America. But the more Brock insists that he has lied, and lied, and then lied again, the more one begins to suspect Brock of being, well, a liar.”
Which brings us to the Rush Limbaugh "phony soldiers" non-story. We're doing Death by 1000 Papercuts version of the 'Pepsi Challenge'. Blindfold yourself, have the following two versions read to you and decide which is "full of flavor".
HERE's WHAT Media Matters SAID LIMBAUGH SAID:HERE'S WHAT LIMBAUGH ACTUALLY SAID:
During the September 26 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh called service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq "phony soldiers." He made the comment while discussing with a caller a conversation he had with a previous caller, "Mike from Chicago," who said he "used to be military," and "believe[s] that we should pull out of Iraq." Limbaugh told the second caller, whom he identified as "Mike, this one from Olympia, Washington," that "[t]here's a lot" that people who favor U.S. withdrawal "don't understand" and that when asked why the United States should pull out, their only answer is, " 'Well, we just gotta bring the troops home.' ... 'Save the -- keeps the troops safe' or whatever," adding, "[I]t's not possible, intellectually, to follow these people." "Mike" from Olympia replied, "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 interjected, "The phony soldiers." The caller, who had earlier said, "I am a serving American military, in the Army," agreed, replying, "The phony soldiers."
RUSH ARCHIVE: It's not possible intellectually to follow these people.The reader can be the judge as to whether Media Matters is a "not, as the National Review claims, 'an avowedly political institution,' but a nonpartisan, progressive nonprofit that is unaffiliated with any political party or candidate." The reader can also be the judge as to what was actually said.
CALLER: 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 spout to the media.
RUSH: The phony soldiers.
CALLER: The phony soldiers. If you talk to any real soldier and they're proud to serve, they want to be over in Iraq, they understand their sacrifice and they're willing to sacrifice for the country.
RUSH: They joined to be in Iraq.
RUSH: It's frustrating and maddening, and why they must be kept in the minority. I want to thank you, Mike, for calling. I appreciate it very much.
As if it were somehow coordinated by an unseen hand, another group, VoteVets, immediately jumped on the "Rush is Evil" bandwagon. The leader/spokesman for VoteVets.org, another liberal front group, appeared on the Rusty Humphries talk show Thursday and here's the transcript .
HUMPHRIES: Okay, so it's not what Rush said, it's who Rush supports, and because he helped get them elected, he needs to be taken down, is that --Elected Democrats couldn't resist the 'call of the wild'. Again, as if by magic, a resolution appeared in Congress condemning Rush. Michelle Malkin points out:
FRIEDMAN: No, it's a pattern of what he does. I mean, this guy has a voice, and he affects people.
Rush goes on to say: The guy, ladies and gentlemen, a leading spokesman for VoteVets.org admitting publicly that the reason the liberal hit squad is attacking me is because they don't agree with my position on the war and that I'm influential.
Democrat Rep. Mark Udall is spearheading the resolution condemning Rush Limbaugh. It apparently has 19 co-sponsors now.So, at the end of the day, there's a media watchdog's doghouse-full of questions. Who's more accurate here: Byron York and National Review or David Brock and Media Matters? Does Media Matters link to anyone else but it's own PR releases for reference? Was Rush demeaning the military? Was he talking about "phony soldiers"? Did Media Matters get it right? Can they ever hope to get anything right? Is this an orchestrated campaign by the Left/liberal/Democrats? Or, is it merely a cosmic confluence of coincidences?
Again, take the Death by 1000 Papercuts Challenge: Who do you believe?
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