Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Limbaugh versus the truth

   I want to be the first person to break this story.

   I do not listen to Rush Limbaugh but I check his transcripts from time to time.  On Tuesday, I found this:

   "We all owe a debt to a smoker.  A guy in his house wanted to smoke a cigarette.  His wife would not let him smoke the cigarette inside.  So he went out in the backyard, and while he was smoking his cigarette he's looking at his boat.  And he said, "There's something strange about that boat."  Something didn't look right.  It was his boat, so he climbed up on his boat while he's out in the backyard smoking a cigarette, he unzips the protective winter cover that he has on his boat, and he sees the bleeding, half conscious Boston Marathon Muslim bomber.  Remember that old saying, for the want of a nail the kingdom was lost, something like that?
"This guy wants a cigarette.  We hate cigarettes.  We hate smokers.  But, if not for this guy being a smoker, if not for this guy being forced to the backyard to smoke his cigarette, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev might still be in that boat bleeding out. He might not have been caught if it hadn't been for that smoker.  Now, we don't know because the guy did get caught, and it's all downhill from there.  I just wanted to let everybody know.  "Mr. Limbaugh, you really enjoy this, don't you?  You know that everybody hates smoking and you like smoking and so you just had to --" I'm just pointing out what happened.  I'm happy the guy smoked.  Smokers do a lot of good in this country, and they're a maligned group and I just wanted to single this guy out."

Great story, right? There's just one problem. There isn't a word of truth in it.  Here is the interview David Hennebery, the man in question, gave to WCVB Channel 5 in Boston.  Since he's a neighbor of mine--we haven't met, but I live a little over two blocks away--I feel strongly.  Excerpts:


WATERTOWN, Mass. —David Henneberry calls himself an "incidental hero."             
The Watertown man, who found Boston Marathon bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding in a boat in his backyard ending a week of terror for the region, told NewsCenter 5's Ed Harding exclusively that his one hope is to bring closure to the families of those killed and those who were wounded.

"I'm just glad," Henneberry said as he struggled to control his emotions. "I hate to use clichés.  If people who were killed can get some (comfort), then I am at peace with it.  If I help these people that lost people, if I can help them in their mind, then everything is good with me here."
View a slideshow of the bombing victims | View a slideshow of Henneberry's storyHenneberry's first-person account of his discovery of Tsarnaev, 19, differs in one important way from that told by law enforcement the night of the arrest.
 It was a discovery driven by his obsession with, of all things, the shrink wrap on the boat he calls his "baby," the Slip Away II.
Like all Watertown residents, Henneberry stayed in his Franklin Street home as the hunt for Tsarnaev paralyzed much of eastern Massachusetts on Friday.  When he looked out the window at his boat at one point during the day, he noticed something was amiss.
"I put pads between the shrink wrap, and it stopped the chaffing and two of those had fallen down to the ground.  It was really windy, so I didn't think twice about it," he said.
When the "shelter-in-place" order was lifted just after 6 p.m., Henneberry said he went outside.

"Go out and get some air. I am just going to put the pads back. They were bugging me all day.  So I went out in the yard and felt the freedom that everyone is Watertown was feeling. When I pulled the strap, it was a lot looser than it usually is.  But again, the wind could have loosened things up," he said.
Despite official accounts that he saw blood on the outside of the boat, Henneberry said that is not true.
 "No indication of anything.  I know people say I saw blood on the boat, 'He saw blood on the boat.'  Not true," he said.
"I said OK, everything is fine.  There are no visible signs of blood outside the boat.  I went inside," he said.
But something was nagging at him and his obsession with his boat soon had him taking another walk into the yard. This time, he put a ladder up to the side of the boat to take a closer look.
"I got three steps up the ladder and rolled the shrink wrap.  I didn't expect to see anything, but I saw blood on the floor of the boat.  A good amount of blood," he said.
"And I said 'Wow, did I cut myself last time?' I thought.  I was in the boat a couple of weeks ago.  Then I just look over there, and there is more blood," he said.
Then he saw Tsarnaev. [End of interview excerpts.]

That's it, Rush. Would you care to identify your source? Would you care to apologize?  Would you care to give your readers a better idea of how seriously they should take what you say by owning up?  Or is making things up just part of "having more fun than anyone ought to be allowed to have," as you so charmingly put it?


Unknown said...

It's a sad commentary on our society when lying for a living is mainstream and makes the big bucks. Limbaugh makes me does the "dedication" of a library today in honor of a war criminal.

gr2phx said...

What is so troubling to me is that Rush Limbaugh and his ilk find such a receptive audience among people I wouldn't have expected to be so gullible. My sister (Masters degree) and her husband (M.D.) were riding high on the economy that tanked in 2008. They didn't go broke, but their bubble did burst. They could no longer afford a home, a second home on the Lake Michigan shore, a condo in Naples, FL, and trips all around the world. Rather than acknowledge they were spread too thin, they shocked me by starting to listen to right wing talk radio 24/7, accepting what they heard as gospel truth.

We were raised moderate Republicans and now they're cozying up to the Tea Party. I am dumbfounded that such intelligent, educated people could lose their ability to think for themselves.
I can only guess that it's a comfort to them to hear someone put all the blame for their problems on a target that makes their anger feel justified.

What is so chilling to me is that is seems vaguely familiar. Years ago I lived in worked in Germany, and had many conversations with people who had been mezmerized by Hitler's rants. Years later, as they looked back, they couldn't believe that they had been duped. The Nazis were a minorty party, like the Tea Party today, but they succeeded with the acquiescence of "moderates" just like my own kin. Am I wrong?