If this doesn't take the cake, I don't know what does? On an ABC News Blog called the Political Radar, ABC reports on Rush Limbaugh's $2 million condemnation letter and throughout the piece continually links "Democrats" to the charity donation that Limbaugh and the ebay bidder for the letter are giving the money to. After reading this ABC blog report, one gets the sneaking suspicion that ABC thinks that Harry Reid and the Democrats are the ones that should be hailed as the good guys responsible for raising this monumental sum for charity. It is clear that ABC did their level best to play down Limbaugh's part in the story and play up the supposed positive contribution of Democrats.
The report by Z. Byron Wolf starts off trying to massage the outrage of the original faux controversy into a mere episode of political fingerpointing instead of the outright calumny it actually is. "Who says the political fingerpointing in Washington is all for naught?," the post begins lightheartedly.
And even though there is a lot of "explanation" in this report, the Political Radar report does not take any time at all to fully explain what the letter even is nor the controversy that surrounds it, a move that further softens the outrage surrounding the letter, making it all seem just an amusement.
Here is how the post begins:
Back in September, when Democrats and Republicans were sniping at each other over the Iraq war, Republicans passed a nonbinding resolution in the Senate condemning Moveon.org for calling David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, "General Betrayus" in a newspaper ad.
For their part, Democrats sent a letter calling for Rush Limbaugh to be reprimanded for calling soldiers who opposed the war "phony soldiers."
The furor seemed to have died down as the Senate moved away from voting on a string of Iraq resolutions to voting on domestic spending bills.
So, they describe the "Betray us" ad in detail even though that episode doesn't really track the Reid letter story exactly, but all they have to say of the letter situation is that "Democrats sent a letter" to Rush? Then to further soften the outrage over the whole letter incident, ABC blithely tosses it off as something that quickly faded from view because it wasn't as important as "voting on a string of Iraq resolutions to voting on domestic spending bills."
The Next paragraph again links "Democrats" to the letter...
But today comes word that a Wasghinton, D.C. area philanthropist, Betty Casey (or bettyc588, as she is known on Ebay) is going to pay over $2 million for a letter Senate Democrats wrote to Mark Mays, President of Clear Channel, asking him to condemn Rush Limbaugh for the "phony soldiers" comment.
ABC also takes great pains to show that the woman who won the letter, Betty Casey an east coast philanthropist and long time political donor, gave money to Barack Obama and other "disparate political interests" like trying to donate $50 to build a mayoral residence for the mayor of Washington D.C.
Then ABC is back to linking the letter to Democrats.
Back on October 1st, Harry Reid brought the letter to the Senate floor and asked Republicans to join him condemning Limbaugh for saying that soldiers who oppose the Iraq war are "phony soldiers.
They give Reid's side of the story and mention that Rush supposedly said "phony soldiers" several times in this piece and not one time do they fully flesh out the fact that Rush did NOT say all soldiers who oppose the war are phony. Nor do they even give Rush's side of the story using the "Limbaugh claims" rhetorical device. They simply state he said "phony soldiers" as if there was no question of the fact or any other context to inform the readers about.
And the ending of the piece is an exercise in the absurd as ABC reports with a straight face the efforts of Harry Reid to take credit for the great good the $2 million charity donation will do.
Today, Reid was more conciliatory to Limbaugh and whoever is paying for the letter. Though he said on the Senate floor that as he had watched the bidding throughout the week, he never thought it would get to $2 million.
"Now, everyone knows that Rush Limbaugh and I don't agree on everything in life and maybe that is kind of an understatement," Reid said.
"But without qualification Mark May, the owner of the network that has Rush Limbaugh, and Rush Limbaugh should know that this letter that they're auctioning is going to be something that raises money for a worthwhile cause. I don't know what we could do more important than helping to ensure that children of our fallen soldiers and police officers who have fallen in the line of duty have the opportunity for their children to have a good education," he said.
You have got to be kidding me? Harry Reid LIES on the floor of the Senate. Harry Reid FAILS to get support from his own party for the effort. The Democrats create a FAKE controversy to help deflect from their supporter’s outrageous attack on one of our most decorated soldiers. And ABC lets Harry Reid take CREDIT for this charitable donation like HE was the one responsible for it.
You can't say that the Democrats and their ABC supporters lack gall, that's for sure.
And catch this last line in the ABC report:
The bidding ends at 1:00p.m. No mater what, Democrats are going to make a ton of money for a charity off their political vitriol.
Seriously. You have to be kidding me? “Democrats are going to make a ton of money for charity?”
Democrats are responsible for this wonderful thing?
They don’t lack gall, for sure, and neither does ABC for their outrageous efforts to give the Democrats cover for their calumny.
UPDATE: New York Times' Faulty Coverage
Well, not surprisingly, the NYT's coverage of the sale of the letter is even worse than ABC's.
The Times' account starts with an outright lie:
After Rush Limbaugh referred to Iraq war veterans critical of the war as “phony soldiers,” he received a letter of complaint signed by 41 Democratic senators. He decided to auction the letter, which he described as “this glittering jewel of colossal ignorance,” for charity, and he pledged to match the price, dollar for dollar.
Of course, only the nutroots and MoevOn.org still thinks that Rush said any such thing as "Iraq war veterans critical of the war" are phonies. he did no such thing.
It takes the entire story before they even give Rush space to deny the "phony soldier" quote. But, at least the Times does that. The ABC post doesn't even bother to reveal the truth of the matter at all.