By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2005, 3:15pm PT  

While it may not be "breaking news" that Rush Limbaugh is a liar, it's important that somebody hold him accountable for it. Today it's our turn, we guess.

Rush spent virtually the entire first hour of his show today ranting and raving and spitting and spewing that Democrats have "lost touch with all reality."

His claim, it seems, is based on the Democrats' invoking of Rule 21, which shut down the Senate to a closed door session in which the Dems, in a rare moment of having discovered a spine, called upon Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KA) to complete his promised investigation into the Bush Administration use and/or misuse of pre-war intelligence. That would be the investigation that Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, decided (for some reason) to put off until after last year's Presidential Election, but has --- in the full year since --- all but succeeded in forgetting about.

Of course, Rush knows full well that it's not the Dems, in this case, who have "lost touch with all reality," but he's counting on his listeners to be so uninformed as to believe anything he says. He has good reason to count on that, since a) he's been misinforming them by creating his own fantastical version of "reality" for years and b) the Corporate Mainstream Media has completely abrogated their responsibility to report on these matters to the American People with anything that even resembles thoroughness or accuracy for the past five years.

So it's very easy, as we wrote about recently at HuffPo for Rush and his ilk to get away with spinning their "Dems-Out-Of-Touch-With-Reality" scam on the American People. And, for that, we can thank the Media for their delinquency, and the Democrats for their years-long failure to stand up to thugs and liars like Rush and Bush and make sure the truth (the real one, not the phony Rush/Bush version) is understood.

Case in point: On Monday morning, at the top of his first show since the indictment against Scooter Libby came down last Friday afternoon, Rush was able to come on the air and out and out lie to his audience about Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's indictment and press conference. Rush quoted Fitzgerald as having said at the press conference: "Despite all of our investigation, we did not find any evidence of the outing of a covert agent."

Since we don't need to lie or mislead, here is the precise audio clip [mp3] of Rush lying to America, and here's the text of what he said precisely...

LIMBAUGH: He said two things in that press conference that will stand out above anything else that I hear about it. He said, "Despite all of our investigation, we did not find any evidence of the outing of a covert agent," so it means that our investigation turned up nothing, so we decided to turn up a crime as part of our investigation, so they've got this crime of Libby covering up a non-crime.

Of course, Fitzgerald said nothing of the kind. Those Americans who didn't take the Alito-bait and chose instead to learn about the matter for themselves, perhaps by reading the 22-page indictment or reviewing the transcript of Fitzgerald's news conference, know full well that a great deal of evidence about the administration's effort to out Valertie Plame --- whose identity, the indictment and press conference made very clear, was indeed both classified and inappropriately exposed --- was presented by Fitzgerald. However, due to Libby's persistent false statements, perjury and obstruction of justice, Fitzgerald has not yet been able to collect enough evidence to as the Grand Jury to bring an indictment on the specific crime of outing a covert agent.

Nonetheless, Rush is counting on being able to lie directly to his listeners without fear of paying a penalty for it. Since Coporate Mainstream Media will, no doubt, continue to fail to hold virtually anyone accountable for lying to the American People, it's easy for him to get away with. Rush knows that well. Case in point; only ourselves and Media Matters (who has more on this) seem to have bothered to report on Rush's out-and-out lie made to some 20 million Americans (his numbers) over the publicly owned airwaves. As a bonus, his lies also go straight into the ears of the men and women of the Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan who receive only Rush Limbaugh's version of "reality" over the Armed Forces Network where his talk show is the only one they are allowed to hear.

If Dan Rather had said something so demonstrably incorrect in an exact "quote" to his audience would it have gone completely unreported by the Mainstream Media?

For the record, after combing again through the entire transcript of Fitzgerald's news conference, the closest we could find to what Rush alleged was said (or simply, made up, which is more the reality here!) is the following:

QUESTION: Can you say whether or not you know whether Mr. Libby knew that Valerie Wilson's identity was covert and whether or not that was pivotal at all in your inability or your decision not to charge under the Intelligence Identity Protection Act?

FITZGERALD: Let me say two things. Number one, I am not speaking to whether or not Valerie Wilson was covert. And anything I say is not intended to say anything beyond this: that she was a CIA officer from January 1st, 2002, forward.

I will confirm that her association with the CIA was classified at that time through July 2003. And all I'll say is that, look, we have not made any allegation that Mr. Libby knowingly, intentionally outed a covert agent.

We have not charged that. And so I'm not making that assertion.
...
What we're talking about is why --- the investigation was why someone compromised her identity.
...
QUESTION: The indictment describes Lewis Libby giving classified information concerning the identify of a CIA agent to some individuals who were not eligible to receive that information. Can you explain why that does not, in and of itself, constitute a crime?

FITZGERALD: That's a good question. And I think, knowing that he gave the information to someone who was outside the government, not entitled to receive it, and knowing that the information was classified, is not enough.

You need to know at the time that he transmitted the information, he appreciated that it was classified information, that he knew it or acted, in certain statutes, with recklessness.

And that is sort of what gets back to my point. In trying to figure that out, you need to know what the truth is.

So our allegation is in trying to drill down and find out exactly what we got here, if we received false information, that process is frustrated.
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Let's not presume that Mr. Libby is guilty. But let's assume, for the moment, that the allegations in the indictment are true. If that is true, you cannot figure out the right judgment to make, whether or not you should charge someone with a serious national security crime or walk away from it or recommend any other course of action, if you don't know the truth.

A far cry, of course, from Rush's complete misquoting of Fitzgerald as saying "despite all of our investigation, we did not find any evidence of the outing of a covert agent."

And in case there are any further questions, note this unambiguous statement from the beginning of the press conference:

FITZGERALD: It was known that a CIA officer's identity was blown, it was known that there was a leak. We needed to figure out how that happened, who did it, why, whether a crime was committed, whether we could prove it, whether we should prove it.

And given that national security was at stake, it was especially important that we find out accurate facts.

Get that Corporate Mainstream Media? "National security was at stake." Do you think we can begin a serious investigation yet? And do the job of holding liars like Rush accountable when he does so to millions and millions of Americans on the publicly owned airwaves?

We didn't think so.