Scarborough: Media Matters Used 'Phony Story' to Go After Rush

As Brent Baker of MRC/NB has documented, MSNBC has been among the worst MSM offenders in propagating the falsehood that Rush Limbaugh had accused all anti-war military members of being "phony soldiers."

A point of light at that same network this morning, however, as Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist combined to debunk the Media Matters allegation, accusing the organization of using a "phony story about a phony soldier" to go after Rush.

It began at 6:04 A.M. EDT today, during the "Morning Joe" opening coffee klatsch.

View video here.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Now you've got Media Matters going after Rush Limbaugh. This really does look like a phony story about a phony soldier.

WILLIE GEIST: Once again, Joe, as we did with O'Reilly [regarding his "Sylvia's" comments] we went back and looked at the transcript. The comment they're talking about is the, quote, "phony soldiers" comment that Rush Limbaugh made when he was talking to a caller on his show last week. Well, he was talking about a specific solder, this guy Jesse Macbeth, you might remember, who claimed to have served in Iraq and came back and criticized the war. He never went to Iraq, never served.

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on one second, by definition, can I Google "phony soldier"?

GEIST: I don't think you have to Google on this one. So, it's sort of hard to argue that he was, that Limbaugh was [not] right on this one. Again, no context ever given. They see the quote "phony soldiers," and that's all they hear. But he was actually talking about a person who actually was a phony soldier.

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, so it's been blown out of context.

GEIST: Of course.

SCARBOROUGH: I'm sure Media Matters will make a lot of money for blowing it out of context, cause people hate Rush Limbaugh, and you know, so who knows, maybe George Soros will write them a big, fat million-dollar check.

During all this, the normally voluble Mika Brzezinski stayed silent as the Sphinx. But when Joe, a bit later, displayed the cover of New York magazine showing Bill Clinton as "First Lady," Mika suddenly found her voice, wanting viewers to understand that "it's a joke, it's a joke," adding that Bill is "going to be far more than a First Lady." "Going to be"? Guess Hillary's election is a done deal in Mika's book.

In any case, good on Joe and Willie for exposing Media Matter's fraud, one that congressional Democrats and their MSM echo chamber were only too happy to exploit. Will we now see the rest of MSNBC, from Tamron Hall to Chris Matthews down to Keith Olbermann, correct the record and apologize for the serial misreporting?

Bonus Coverage -- Joe Suggests He Might Have Been Too Tough on O'Reilly: It was something of a day for setting the record straight at "Morning Joe." Before turning to the Media Matters smear, Scarborough harkened back to his harsh criticism [documented here and here] of Bill O'Reilly for the "Factor" host's comments about "Sylvia's" Harlem restaurant.

SCARBOROUGH: Media Matters went after Bill O'Reilly, and I just have to put a little asterisk here, I went after Bill pretty hard too, because I thought what he said was ridiculous. But I heard a lot of people this weekend, like liberals, on the Upper West Side, as I was walking up and down Broadway, you know, people smoking dope, saying "hey Scarborough, I think you're being a little tough on O'Reilly."

GEIST: Really?

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, I did, I did, I seriously -- and some people around here saying it may have been blown out of proportion. I don't know.

Mika could be heard in the background uttering a skeptical "ehhh." Bubbles is clearly sticking with the bash-Bill brigade.

View video here.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.