Are Media Wisely Running Away From Bogus Rush ‘Phony Soldiers’ Story?

October 2nd, 2007 11:39 AM

On Monday, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) stepped onto the floor of the Senate and strongly denounced talk radio host Rush Limbaugh for what have proven to be out of context statements made by the conservative personality on his program last Wednesday.

Yet, with the exception of a CNN segment aired Monday, and articles by Fox News, USA Today's On Politics blog, The Hill, NewsMax, and the New York Post, virtually no major media outlets covered Reid's statements.

Not the New York Times. Not the Washington Post. Ditto all three broadcast network evening news programs Monday, and the Associated Press.

This raises an important question: Have most major press outlets correctly concluded that the leftwing organization Media Matters did indeed cherry-pick and misrepresent Limbaugh's statements thereby making earlier reports on the subject erroneous?

Or, did they recognize how hypocritical it would be to castigate Limbaugh for basically reiterating what ABC's Brian Ross and Charles Gibson reported last Monday evening just two days before Rush made his statements?

Of course, a more cynical view would be that the media - now that it has been shown that Democrat presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton admitted her connection to Media Matters - want to bury this story as quickly as possible so as to shelter her and her husband from any scrutiny concerning these ties.

Regardless of the reason, there's been a peculiar silence regarding Reid's statements Monday, and, although the leftwing organization is about to run a rather disgraceful ad denouncing Limbaugh, most media outlets appear to be running away from this story as fast as they can.

Whether this continues is anyone's guess, as is the cause.

Stay tuned.

Update 17:10 | Matthew Sheffield. A quick Google News search does seem to suggest the media's interest in the Media Matters smear story has continued to peter out.

There are very few MSM mentions of the story at all. The only unfair ones were as follows:

  • A blog post from NBC's Mark Silva which mentions a left-wing astroturf group's ad trying to prolong the story. No mention at all about how Limbaugh did not say what was attributed to him by a far-left group.
  • This blog post from the Tribune Co.'s Washington bureau focuses on Nevada Democratic senator Harry Reid's criticism of Limbaugh with barely anything from the radio talker himself.

Kudos to the Kansas City Star for correcting its initial report about the Limbaugh non-story. In a small item in today's gossipy "The Buzz" column, the paper's Darryl Levings spoke of a "Judgment wrong to Rush (read backward)."

Democrats, meanwhile must be getting desperate on this. Having failed to gin up a controversy over nothing, they're clearly overreaching, going so far as to trot out Iowa senator Tom Harkin as their attack dog. That's odd since Harkin actually has a record of his own at being a "phony soldier."