I was going to skip the current furor over how Rush Limbaugh decided to attack any soldier who dares suggest that the Iraq War was a mistake. But when Rush’s defenders decided that he only attacked one person – Jesse MacBeth – the debate got silly arguing as to whether the Left was misrepresenting what Rush really said versus whether Rush’s defenders was editing the show. It is true that he did mention MacBeth by name thusly:
One of them was Jesse MacBeth. Now, he was a “corporal,” I say in quotes – 23 years old.
Maybe Rush and his fans are not the sharpest pencils in the box but doesn’t “one of them” imply he was thinking of several “phony soldiers”. Or catch what happened earlier during his conversation with “caller 2”:
CALLER 2: No, it’s not, and what’s really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.
LIMBAUGH: The phony soldiers.
Soldiers has a different ring than one soldier – doesn’t it? The exchange also used the term “they” rather than “he”. When I was in grade school, I was taught that “they” referred to more than one and if the intent was to refer to a single person, one should use terms like “he” or “she”. The way Rush and caller 2 framed this, it appeared that they were using Corporal MacBeth as an example of a general point. Then again – Rush and his listeners do come across as being rather stupid so maybe they don’t understand the basics of the English language.