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Commentary ::
Limbaugh says Iraqi abuse was 'Decent Punishment'
11 May 2004
"Let's face it, folks, we live in a society where sometimes the truth has to be shaded, denied, covered up, in order to protect people's feelings, in order to just keep things on a even keel." -- Rush Limbaugh, May 10, 2004
Rush Limbaugh Continues to Justify Iraqi Prison Torture
Media Matters for America, 5/11/2004

WASHINGTON, May 11 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Media Matters for America has posted Rush Limbaugh's latest comments (May 10, 2004, Rush Limbaugh Show) about the torture of Abu Ghraib prisoners by U.S. Guards. Limbaugh continues to downplay the severity of the prison abuse, suggesting it was "decent punishment," and questioning the sincerity of the outrage expressed by Democrats, the media, and the public. Limbaugh continued that the prisoners were getting "a taste of (their) own medicine."

"Rush Limbaugh's consistently extreme commentary has operated with almost total impunity for far too long," Media Matters for America President David Brock said today. "Media Matters for America now has in place a system to monitor, analyze and correct conservative misinformation in the media -- including Rush Limbaugh, America's most listened-to political commentator."

Also on May 10, Limbaugh appeared to be referring to Media Matters for America in criticizing a new website for, he claimed, taking his quotes out of context : "I think what happens is that the media has come across a new website that's supposedly chronicling what I say, and they all go there and they read it and they see and then they take the propaganda of that website and repackage it and call it news. And they leave the context of my remarks out. For example, nowhere where I've been quoted have I been quoted as saying that I think what happened there is not good. I don't support it, and I don't encourage more of it. I have not said that -- or I have said that, they've not quoted me on that. There's a number of things that they've left out, uh, most of it context. But now there's just a central clearinghouse for out-of-context quotes from this program. They can go there and present as news, even though it's just repackaged propaganda."

"Rush Limbaugh falsely claims that Media Matters for America is taking his comments out of context," Brock said. "Since he does not point out any specific examples, we would encourage Mr. Limbaugh to show us where we have taken his words out of context. We stand by the validity of our reports."

"Limbaugh on latest photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse" and more analyses of conservative misinformation, can be found at the Media Matters for America website:

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Media Matters for America is the first organization to systematically monitor the media for conservative misinformation -- every day, in real time -- in 2004 and beyond. For more information, log on to


From the May 10 Rush Limbaugh Show:

Limbaugh on latest photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse

RUSH: Look, folks, let's just cut to the chase here, okay? I've been trying to very slowly and gently maneuver all of you into now. Here's cut-to-the-chase time. We all know what goes on in war. We all know that what's in these pictures we've seen -- and we haven't seen pictures of death -- even this latest picture of the dog and the nude Iraqi, have you seen that one? A couple of Americans are holding it looks like a German shepherd, some kind of vicious big dog, dogs are barking, bow-wow (barking sounds), the Iraqi prisoner is cowering there in fear, he's all nude, and the picture captions "dogs attack Iraqi". No, the dog isn't attacking anybody, the dog is on a leash. The dog is scaring an Iraqi prisoner. (Gasping.) No! We're scaring them, too. Is that allowed in the Geneva Convention? We're scaring them with dogs?

Yes, my friends, we are. The dog didn't attack anybody, dog's not the attacking anybody, dog is on a leash, both of them are. I've seen the picture. So, yeah, I mean I'd be scared too if I were nude and I'd been committing crimes against Americans, now the Americans have me in their prison and a couple of dogs barking at me? Yeah, I might be a little scared. So what? It's war! We all know what goes on in war. And here's what's happened. And I don't know how many of you are part of this group. I'm not part of this group, but there are a significant number of Americans -- let's leave the press and the Dems out of this because they're acting political here, they're acting and so are a lot of people, a lot of people are acting. They have to act outraged and surprised because that's what you think is expected of you.

How many of you went out to social occasions over the weekend, and this subject, this story came up? And how many of you wanted to really say, "I don't see the big deal here. This is war. These are people that tried to kill Americans." But you didn't say it or some variation of that because you were afraid that you were the bunch of people would start yelling at you for being insensitive or coarse or crude or whatever. So you said what you thought you had to say in order to get along during the controversial situation that this conversation came up wherever you were. How many of you did that? Admit it to yourself. You don't have to raise your hands out there. We're not counting hands here. I want you to think about it. Because the fact of the matter is that's what I think most people are doing. This is where my optimism and faith in people of this country remains steadfast. I don't think most people are that outraged by it. Let's put it this way, the public outrage nowhere near matches what we watched on television on Friday and yesterday. Exhibited by these holier-than-thou sanctimonious elected officials who are themselves acting and saying what they think you, their voters, want them to say, and what you their voters expect to hear.

Let's face it, folks, we live in a society where sometimes the truth has to be shaded, denied, covered up, in order to protect people's feelings, in order to just keep things on a even keel. Remember during the Clinton years had all these stories about how lying is good for America? Remember that? Saves people's hurt feelings, spares people pain, lies here and there are actually good. Well, I think that was a series of stories designed to mitigate damage against Clinton, because he'd been found in contempt of court for lying. Just like there's the most incredible story, and I actually had this, got it over the weekend. Where is this story? Oral sex -- can I say oral now without getting bleeped in Indianapolis? You heard about this? You see the front page of the New York Times today? I got bleeped 11 times in Indianapolis for using the word orgy, damn, and what's the other word? I forget. [talking to program observer] Urinate! Because it's an Emmis owned station and Emmis stations have been fined so they're not taking any chances. So I get this headline: Oral Sex to Cut Rates of Teenage Pregnancy, and I say, hmm, I'm sure I can say oral, but can I say sex? I can sail oral cavity, except how many people -- you go out and say epidermis, a lot of people think you're making a sex joke because they don't know what epidermis is. But look at this, this is from the UK Guardian, Oral Sex Lessons to Cut Rates of Teenage Pregnancy.

Did you hear this, Dawn? You have young daughters. Oral sex recommended to cut rates of teenaged pregnancy. And you watch, it won't be long before this will be heralded as one of the great legacies of the Clinton years. Folks, somebody asked you what you think about this prisoner thing just tell them the truth and I guarantee you the more people you will tell the truth will say yeah, I agree with you, than you know.
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"They're not returning calls"
11 May 2004
For Immediate Release
May 11, 2004
Aboard Air Force One En Route Fort Smith, Arkansas

Q Is there any difference you know of between the Vice President's reaction to this -- to these photos in the Iraqi abuse case, and the President's? All we've heard from the Vice President is that people should get off Don Rumsfeld's back.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think the President and the Vice President have expressed similar views strongly supporting Secretary Rumsfeld, who has served very ably during times -- during times of war.

Q My question's about the President's deep revulsion to the photos and the abuses. We haven't heard anything from --

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, you can talk to the Vice President's office, but I am sure he --

Q They were not returning calls --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- I am sure he shares the President's sentiments and the sentiments -- these are sentiments that the American people share, as well.

Q Was the Vice President talking about --

MR. McCLELLAN: Because they do not represent our United States military and the more than 200,000 people who have served very honorably in Iraq.

Q Do you think the Vice President will do the Rush Limbaugh show again, given his almost embrace of these photos?

MR. McCLELLAN: You can ask the -- ask those questions to the Vice President's office. They have a -- they have a press office.

Q They're not -- they're not returning calls about this matter. Is there a reason for that, that you know of?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you can talk -- they talked to reporters over the weekend about some of the Vice President's views.

Q About Rumsfeld, but not about this specific incident and any revulsion to it, or --

MR. McCLELLAN: I haven't heard anything about that, but you're welcome to call them.