Brent Bozell

Start with CNN. This network is so prideful of its professionalism that it fact-checks comedy skits on "Saturday Night Live." Clearly it needs to focus less on comedy shows on NBC and more on the "news" coming from its own anchors. On Oct. 12, afternoon anchor Rick Sanchez showed his expertise at hit-and-run journalism by repeating the "slavery had its merits" quote as fact, with no effort whatsoever to authenticate it before moving on. When it was made clear that no authentication existed, and an apology was in order, instead Sanchez made matters worse. The following day, again he read the offensive fabrication, but this time added Limbaugh's denial, "to be fair to Rush," thus keeping alive the possibility that the accusation was truthful. On Friday, four days after they broadcast a falsehood, Sanchez finally delivered an apology.

MSNBC was even worse. They kept pushing the fake quotes even after it was apparent to everyone that they had not been substantiated. Their on-screen citation for the slavery quote was even sillier. It wasn't a newspaper. It was a linebacker: "Cited by James Farrior, Pittsburgh Steelers." After sliming Limbaugh from Monday to Thursday, on Friday MSNBC's David Shuster finally acknowledged they needed to "clarify" their sloppiness: "MSNBC attributed that quote to a football player who was opposed to Limbaugh's NFL bid. However, we have been unable to verify that quote independently. So, just to clarify." No retraction, no apology.

Earth to MSNBC: The best time to verify your quotes is before you broadcast them across the nation for four days. But that would have hurt MSNBC's pressure on the NFL to dump Rush. "Clarifications" can wait until the damage is done.

These cable networks were not alone. Newspapers from USA Today to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published these howlers from sports writers, and liberal talk-radio hosts put the lies in heavy rotation. Washington Post sportswriter Michael Wilbon spewed the phony slavery quote on his ESPN show, "Pardon the Interruption." That show could now be called "Pardon the Fabrication."

Now match this war on Limbaugh with the White House's war on Fox News, and what you see is a blatant campaign by the Left to "delegitimize" conservative talkers and alternative media outlets. Is there anything that sounds more hermetically sealed in a liberal bubble than claiming Fox News is not a "legitimate" news network because it reports information with a "perspective"? If there's anything more bizarre in the last week than watching Al Sharpton attack anyone else for being "racially divisive," it's watching David Axelrod complain to George Stephanopoulos that the news shouldn't come with a partisan "perspective."

Team Obama's idea of "straight news" is that which goes straight from Rahm Emanuel's cell phone into Stephanopoulos' mouth. Team Obama's idea of news without "perspective" is Brian Williams broadcasting publicity stunts like Obama buying hamburgers for his staff and the "news" of the day is how many apples can be spotted at the White House.

The only thing in their way is the emerging alternative media, which is why they're out to destroy Rush Limbaugh.

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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