National Review's Reihan Salam did such a fabulous job of educating Matthews and his guests - especially Time's Joe Klein - that I imagine him quickly becoming a NewsBusters favorite.
The initial topic of discussion was Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally scheduled to occur after this was taped.
Between Matthews' disrespectful introduction, and Klein calling the conservative talk show host "a paranoid lunatic," one had the feeling this would have devolved into a full on hate-fest if not for Salam's presence.
Fortunately, the National Reviewer was there to set the record straight (videos follow with transcripts and commentary):
JOE KLEIN, TIME: Newt Gingrich should be embarrassed by the way. He's much smarter than this. Glenn Beck something different. The guy's obviously a paranoid lunatic who is a great entertainer. And He is exploiting something that always happens in our country when the economy is bad and when we're at war. During World War I, if people were caught speaking German in the street, other people would beat them up. During World War II, we interned the Japanese. And now there, the combination of bad, bad economic times over the last couple of years and, and, you know. the terrorism, has, has led to this wave that Glenn Beck and his puppet master Rupert Murdoch are exploiting.Amazing. So geniuses like Klein actually think folks going to Tea Party rallies are akin to people that beat up Germans during World War I or had anti-Japanese tendencies during World War II.
Is this really what qualifies as enlightened thinking from so-called journalists today?
Regardless of the answer, after opinions from the BBC's Katty Kay and NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, Matthews turned to his lone conservative guest (readers are strongly encouraged to watch the videos to see just how well Salam takes control of the panel and the discussion):
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Reihan Salam, this, this whole thing I think it gets ethnic, I think it gets tribal. I listened to Rush Limbaugh this week saying, you know, "We're not Islamophobic. We elected Barack Obama. That proves we're not Islamophobic." That's saying he's Islamic again when the guy's a Christian.For those interested, Salam wrote an article about this on Sunday. But I digress:
REIHAN SALAM, NATIONAL REVIEW: I don't that's quite what it's saying.
MATTHEWS: What is it saying?
SALAM: I think what it's saying is that Barack Obama is someone who comes from a very different kind of background and America has embraced him in large numbers. I also think the idea, respectfully, that Glenn Beck is being controlled by Rupert Murdoch as a puppet master gets things wrong.
KLEIN: He hired him. He hired him.
SALAM: When you look at Glenn Beck, when you see someone, for example, remember Louis Farrakhan the Million Man March? What was the Million Man March about? A lot of people were terrified about it. It caused a lot of consternation from liberals and conservatives. But ultimately what you saw was an event where tons of African-American men got together and it was really about identity and pride. And I think that when you're looking at our politics right now, it's true that in an economic downturn, you see a lot of confusion. You see a lot of uncertainty. And there is a decent number of people who feel not like have-nots, but they feel like are-knots. They feel that they're not being respected in their public life and they want to assert themselves.
MATTHEWS: Who are the Glenn Beck constituency?Stop the tape! Isn't that what Republicans could have asked unhappy voters in 2006? The economy was still booming. Unemployment was under five percent. Yet Democrats had an historic midterm election transfer of power.
SALAM: I think that it's a lot of folks. It's a lot of people from smaller cities, rural areas, small towns, tend to be white, tend to be Christian-identified.
MATTHEWS: Okay, who is their villain?
SALAM: I don't think they necessarily have a villain so much as there's a lot of confusion...
KLEIN: Oh, come on.
SALAM: ...and anger and resentment.
KLEIN: No, listen, the anger is the key here. The one thing that the Million Man March has in common with the Glenn Beck march is anger. And, this is the greatest Democracy and the most prosperous country in the history of the world. Sooner or later you got to ask people, "What are you so damned angry about?"
Now, with unemployment at 9.5 percent and likelihood heading higher, this pathetic liberal "journalist" doesn't understand what people are "so damned angry about":
SALAM: Anger is what united those men who gathered during the Million Man march. I think it goes back to...Yes, that's not an error in transcription. Klein really said the Million Man March was about African-Americans angry at white people:
KLEIN: Anger at white people, yes!
SALAM: I'm pretty sure that's not true.Ouch! Talk about your shot to the heart!
KATTY KAY, BBC: When you say, when you say that they're not have-nots, they feel they are-nots, they are not what? They are not what they see represented in Washington?
SALAM: That's, that's certainly a part of it. Also, a lot of these people felt disaffected during the Bush years as well. There's a large number of voters...
KAY: But they weren't angry and they weren't speaking out against Washington.
SALAM: Oh, they certainly were angry, but that anger, that anger wasn't part of the narrative. Right now that anger fits a media narrative, if I may, that's very compelling and exciting for people to talk about, and it fits a lot of preconceived notions.
KLEIN: And where is that coming narrative coming from?
SALAM: It's coming from a lot of folks, including some of the folks around this roundtable not intentionally, but I think it's the prism through which we see the world.
Of course, what Salam was saying was 100 percent true. The disaffected conservative voters have been showing their displeasure since Ross Perot began educating people about the perils of fiscal indiscipline in 1992.
More recently, this anger manifested itself when conservatives didn't show up to vote in 2006 due to their disgust with the out of control spending by a Republican-controlled Congress.
Not that shills like Klein would ever want to admit it, but conservative anger at Republicans had just as much to do with the Democrats' victory in 2006 as did liberal anger at Republicans.
But this lesson wasn't over, for Matthews asked Salam another great question:
MATTHEWS: Here's my question: There's a big differential between Republicans attitudes towards Islam and Democratic attitudes. There's some animus from both parties. But only 27 percent of Democrats say they have a problem with Islam. 54 percent of Republicans do. Explain the differential.As a little background, Matthews has been harping on this issue since the Pew Research Center released these numbers on August 19. Now, the liberal host was finally going to understand the data:
SALAM: I will happily explain it. 25 percent of Americans identify as Republicans. 42 percent identify as conservatives. When you look at those conservatives who don't identify with the Republican Party, they have different views on a whole host of issues including gay marriage and what have you. And I think that when you're looking at that 25 percent, that smaller group, then it stands to reason that they're going to have somewhat different views. Another thing is...Exactly, for the narrative today is that anyone that doesn't agree with Barack Obama is racist and anybody that doesn't support the Ground Zero mosque is anti-Islamic.
MATTHEWS: Why are they anti-islamic.
SALAM: One way of saying "I have an unfavorable view of Islam" is to say that "I devoutly believe my own religious views, and I do not accept those views as true." The view that a lot of Americans have, you know, Buddhists and Hindus and Christians are all going toward the same God, that is the eccentric view in the history of Abrahamic religion.
SALAM: And I think that, you know, if you asked this several years ago, you would have gotten a pretty similar answer. It's just that it didn't connect with the political narrative.
As such, people like Matthews, Klein, and all the Left's media minions are using any polling data that arises to further this narrative in the hopes the electorate will buy into it before Election Day.
Nicely played, Reihan. Bravo!