In an uncommon bout of journalistic self-control, the New York Times had thus far ignored the phony controversy over Rush Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" comment on his radio show last Wednesday, remarks wrenched out of context by the far-left Media Matters.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) took to a popular conservative blog today to issue a defense of radio host Rush Limbaugh against left-wing smear attacks. As NewsBusters has reported, Blackburn herself was the target of a "gotcha" game by MSNBC's David Shuster.

NewsBusters editor Brent Baker has done a superb job reporting on the smear job against Bill O'Reilly from the liberal group Media Matters. Fox News's John Gibson does an awesome job at tearing them apart. If you haven't heard the audio from his show yet... you should definitely take a listen.

Quoting Gibson:

On Wednesday, a MSNBC graphic flat-out accused Bill O’Reilly of being a racist. It read: "Anchor’s Racist Comments" and there was no accompanying question mark to at least add the benefit of the doubt. During the 11am hour of "MSNBC News Live," anchor Contessa Brewer discussed a liberal group’s attack over O’Reilly's comments about eating at a black restaurant. A second graphic, below the host, did offer some slight uncertainty. It asked, "Anchor’s Racist Comments? Bill O’Reilly Comes Under Fire For Description of Black Restaurant."

Brewer discussed the issue with Paul Waldman of Media Matters and Republican strategist Joe Watkins. At one point, Watkins noted that both he and the host had previously been attacked by the liberal organization. Brewer defensively replied, "And, by the way, I'm not a conservative." The host appeared to be sympathetic to the idea O’Reilly’s comments, which originated on the September 19 edition of his radio show, had some sort of negative intention. She opened the segment by asserting the Fox News host is "now at the center of a heated debate about racist language."

Update with video posted below fold.

File this one under the rubric "Unintentionally Revealing Moments of MSM Bias." ABC publishes an article about media watchdog groups and singles out two for mention: NewsBusters and Media Matters. But the article goes on to cite the work of and publish comments by a representative of only one of those groups. Which one do you think it was?

Yesterday, ABC posted an article by its Samantha Wenders entitled The Camera Is Always Watching: The Internet Has Helped Citizens Play 'Gotcha' With the Press; Is That a Good Thing?"

Wrote Wenders: "Media watchdog groups like the conservative Newsbusters and the liberal Media Matters regularly post examples of what they see as bias in the media."