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Thom Hartmann Appears on FOX & Friends to Discuss Rush Limbaugh

Reported by Marie Therese - October 8, 2007 -

On Saturday October 6th, progressive talk show host Thom Hartmann appeared on - of all places - FOX & Friends Weekend to spar with conservative radio host Pat Campbell over the issue of Rush Limbaugh's by-now infamous "phony soldiers" comment. Host Page Hopkins - a true-blue FOX foot soldier - dutifully tried to repeat the falsehood that Limbaugh was speaking about one soldier when he used the plural of "soldiers." That in and of itself is characteristic of the the mentality of those on the right. They will look into the camera and blithely contend that singular means plural if it serves their purposes. With video.

"You know, Rush Limbaugh made this comment about a phony soldier, actually citing one specific phony soldier, who was, in fact, proven to be a phony soldier and this whole thing has taken on a life of its own," Hopkins said. "Why?" she then asked. Thom Hartmann responded: "Well, actually if you go back and listen to the - to the quote - he was talking about phony soldiers, and then he went on to say 'they all signed up to go to Iraq.' It really was not taken out of context and I think it's an insult to all soldiers, frankly."

Pat Campbell then offered up his opinion - straight from Sun Tzu's The Art of War - that one should never attack an opponent's strengths, claiming that the Democrats had erred in going after Limbaugh's support for the troops.

(Aside: Karl Rove's favorite strategy has been to go after an opponent's strengths and successfully turn them into weaknesses. e.g. Kerry's medals, McCain's compassion in adopting a non-Caucasian baby, etc. Maybe Sun Tzu's work is not the be-all and end-all of strategic thinking.)

Campbell, whose show airs in Florida, got hot under the collar as he bashed Media Matters. "They accused me of calling for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, which I did not do," Campbell stated. "This is an organization - I'm so glad this has happened this week because even the New York Times has denounced this organization. It's a left-wing smear machine, staffed primarily by former Clinton administration employees, funded by the evil George Soros."

Hartmann replied "You are shooting yourself in the foot," after which Campbellsaid "Thom, you had your chance." Hopkins did not intervene. When Campbell complained that Media Matters tapes all three hours of his broadcasts and then "cherry picks" a few sentences taken out of context, Hartmann jumped in to say that "the right has been doing this exact same thing for years." He continued: "The real issue is that Limbaugh is saying that any soldier who dares speak out is a phony soldier and that all of the guys who sign up for the military, sign up to go to Iraq. ... Our taxpayer dollars are paying to have Limbaugh speak to the soldiers in Iraq and tell them that, if they dare stand up, they're phonies."

Page Hopkins then invoked the name of the dreaded, evil George Soros again, repeating the claim that Soros funds Media Matters, something Media Matters consistently has denied.

From Media Matters:

In a May 8 Washington Times op-ed, conservative media consultant Phil Kent claimed that "few journalists dare to criticize" Media Matters for America "or its bankrollers for fear of inviting attacks upon themselves." Kent repeated the debunked claim -- recently propagated by Fox News host Bill O'Reilly -- that philanthropist George Soros funds Media Matters through the Tides Foundation, the Democracy Alliance, and the Center for American Progress so that he might "manipulate[] the media by stifling and smearing center-right political voices." As Media Matters has explained several times, Soros has never given money to Media Matters, either directly or through another organization.

###

The Washington Post reported on July 17, 2006, that the Democracy Alliance "endorse[s]" specific organizations and serves as a "cooperative for donors, allowing them to coordinate their giving so that it has more influence."

While Soros is identified as a member of the Democracy Alliance, he has never given money to Media Matters through the alliance or otherwise. (End excerpt)

Thom Hartman managed to get enough time to speak the truth about the Limbaugh issue, when Hopkins brought up the MoveOn.org "General Betray-us" ad:

HARTMANN: "MoveOn.org was buying an ad in the New York Times. It's a - it's a public for profit institution. If Rush Limbaugh was just saying this on talk radio on premiere, fine, no problem. But on Armed Forces Radio, which is paid for by taxpayer dollars - MoveOn.org did not go there. Limbaugh did. And when you attack our soldiers on Armed Forces Radio, I think that, legitimately, people should say 'Wait. Wait a minute.'"

COMMENT

As for Campbell's claim that Media Matters lied, here is the exact quote he made on Tucker Carlson's show: "Pat Robertson may actually have been on to something when he suggested possibly assassinating Hugo Chavez." You can read more on this and watch the video at Media Matters