Phony Soldiers II: New Smear of Limbaugh Over 'Kennedy Memorial Health Care' Bill

“Demonstrating that not even weekends are safe from Democratic Party-sponsored anti-Rush Limbaugh attacks,” Brian Maloney observed on the Radio Equalizer blog on Saturday, “the talk titan is now under fire for a relatively mundane (and actually quite accurate) reference to the shameless political exploitation of Ted Kennedy's illness.”

Some media outlets readily picked up on the effort to discredit Limbaugh. The AP jumped in Friday, “Democrats blast Limbaugh for comment on Kennedy,” and MSNBC's Chris Matthews played a clip on Hardball as he prompted guest Bob Shrum to smear Limbaugh: “It’s outrageous, it’s typical of him. He’s a tasteless guy. He’ll say anything. He appeals to haters.” Saturday's Boston Globe joined in: “Kennedy cheered at summit; Limbaugh remarks sour to some.”

Limbaugh's supposedly outrageous remark: “Before it's all over, it'll be called the Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care bill.”

[UPDATED, at 8 PM EST, with a list -- at bottom of this post -- of recent personal attacks against Limbaugh from media and left-wing political figures.] Complete NewsBusters coverage of Limbaugh.

On Friday's program, Limbaugh had pointed out:

The failing health of Senator Kennedy is, as I told you way back when, the driving force here. The failing health of Senator Kennedy is already being used as an inspirational effort, or technique, to get national health care on the fast track.
Indeed, at Thursday's health care summit at the White House, President Barack Obama highlighted the presence of “Sir Edward Kennedy,” a reference to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's announcement earlier in the week that the Queen had bestowed honorary knighthood on Kennedy. To rousing applause, the Senator proclaimed: “I'm looking forward to being a foot soldier in this undertaking. And this time, we will not fail.”

That evening on the NBC Nightly News, reporter Chuck Todd appropriated the coach who inspired “win one for the Gipper” by touting how “the President's drive to pass health care got a Knute Rockne-like boost with a surprise appearance” by Kennedy.

Back to Limbaugh on Friday, he simply took note of how Obama had enlisted Kennedy in the PR effort to advance his drive to pass his nationalized health care plan:
So he's [Obama] moved on to health care. This is highly visible, it's news leading, gets a great focus, plus it has the great liberal lion Teddy Kennedy pushing it. Before it's all over it will be called the Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care Bill. So when you have the banking and the credit problem still unfixed and with health care still unfixed, they'll move on to another caring story: alternate energy -- I don't know; your guess is as good as mine. But whatever it is, the approval numbers will go up because it's not what Obama accomplishes; it's what he cares about.
Maloney explained: “As can be seen, the reference is to the Obamistas and their use of Kennedy's cancer to impose socialized medicine. It's NOT an attack on Kennedy himself.”

Tim Graham's earlier NB post today, “Chris Matthews Runs Rush's 'Liberal Lion' Kennedy Clip, Shrum Denounces His 'Appeals to Haters,'” recounted:
On Friday night's Hardball, Chris Matthews showed how willing he was to carry Democrat water on their manufactured outrage at Rush Limbaugh for mentioning "that great liberal lion" Ted Kennedy. Matthews played the Democrat clip and came out with a sour face -- an odd pose, given Matthews tastelessly mocked Ronald Reagan in 1995 after his Alzheimer's letter on ABC for forgetting he left the country with a big national debt. He let Democrat strategist Bob Shrum roll out the talking point:
MATTHEWS: What do you make of it?

SHRUM: It’s outrageous, it’s typical of him. He’s a tasteless guy. He’ll say anything. He appeals to haters.

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

SHRUM: And he is the face of the Republican Party right now, because no one else is doing a very good job and because he went to CPAC. This is not like the 1990s: Gingrich at his worst was massively popular compared to Rush Limbaugh. And stuff like this is just going to make it more difficult.
Matthews not only ran the audio clip and standard Rush picture of Media Matters for America -- MSNBC also added the Media Matters logo on screen for 10 or 11 seconds....
Graham also posted “AP Publicizes Dem Outrage at Limbaugh's Mention of Ted Kennedy,” which asked:
Does the Associated Press have any news judgment of its own? Or does it merely say "yes" to every Democratic press idea that hits the Inbox? This incredibly weak attack on Rush Limbaugh was defined as "news" by AP:
A Democratic official rebuked conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh on Friday for suggesting a health care proposal will be named in memory of Sen. Edward Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer. On his radio show, Limbaugh said President Barack Obama's proposed health care revisions will be championed by "the liberal lion Teddy Kennedy."

"Before it's all over, it'll be called the Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care bill," Limbaugh said.

UPDATE: Commenter "allanf" helpfully compiled a list of recent personal attacks against Limbaugh from media and left-wing political figures:

All liberals know Rush was out of line. But the following liberal comments are okay: 

  1. A Corpulent Drug Addict
  2. Buffoon
  3. A Sweaty and Swollen Clown
  4. Treasonous
  5. Walrus and Skunk
  6. Eastern European Gangster
  7. Backward
  8. Angry and Mocking and Full of Contempt
  9. Blow Hard Bullfrog
  10. Hitler Like
  11. Bigger threat than bin Laden
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center