Chris Matthews and “Misinformation”
July 19, 2007
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews appeared on “The Tonight Show” Wednesday night pontificating, mostly, about the Iraq war. Those who deny the overwhelming liberal bias of the mainstream media and who are pushing the Fairness Doctrine to muzzle conservative talk radio should be required to watch a tape of Matthews’ performance.
To a fawning Jay Leno, Matthews engaged in a nearly uninterrupted soliloquy trashing all things Bush, from his governing according to perceived signals from God to his alleged lies about WMD.
Notably ironic, was Matthews’ repeated spewing of misinformation in the process of characterizing the administration of disseminating misinformation. They talk about men and women occupying different planets. Perhaps, but at least their planets seem to be in closer proximity than the ones inhabited, respectively, by liberals and conservatives.
Leno jump-started Matthews by asking him about New York Times columnist David Brooks’ supposed assertion that President Bush has pursued the war in Iraq because God wills it. “God told him that we should fight this war.”
We’ve heard this bogus charge before. Matthews dutifully responded, “Well, if he was going to play Joan of Arc, we wouldn’t have elected him. Getting whispers from heaven is scary business. The guys we’re fighting say that, too.” Matthews said Bush needed “a little humility.” Even Abraham Lincoln, Matthews said, didn’t claim to have God on his side in the Civil War.
While I can’t prove a negative, I am confident Bush never said that God is on our side in this war — though it wouldn’t bother me if he had — or that God directed him to attack Iraq. He has said he continually prays for divine guidance and reads the Bible every day. That is wise, commendable and utterly no different from what Abraham Lincoln and many, probably most presidents in our history did.
This is not a distinction without a difference. Matthews is unequivocally implying that Bush has claimed to get his marching orders directly from God and that that is scary — as if he’s in some kind of spiritual trance. It simply isn’t true, and Matthews is distorting the truth in suggesting it is.
Contrary to Matthews’ depiction, Bush is exhibiting the ultimate humility in prostrating himself before God to ask for His guidance and blessing. Perhaps Chris has his wires crossed. It’s the secular humanist types who are more likely to have too much pride: to believe in God, much less ask for His guidance.
Matthews then began a rant, saying “almost half the American people believe that Iraq attacked us on 9/11. The misinformation, the indoctrination that’s going on. And the rest of the American people have gotten so skeptical now do you think the American people believe that the brass didn’t have something to do with Abu Ghraib? Do you think the American people don’t think that we were given a bill of goods to get us in over there? … I think we gotta be damn skeptical of this crowd, because on WMD, on the connection to 9/11, on the surge … on the torture, on every step of the way we’ve been given misinformation to the point now, we just did a poll, a fifth of the American people believe we found weapons of mass destruction when we got there. They’re still indoctrinated. … How do we get all this misinformation? From the top, unfortunately. It’s a sad thing … “
There is no question in my mind that Matthews believes this nonsense he is spewing. I think he’s a decent enough guy — but he just doesn’t think straight. The administration never said Iraq attacked us on 9/11. It never said there was an operational relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, just that there was a relationship, which there was.
Only grassy-knoll nutcakes and anti-military types believe the “brass” authorized systematic abuse of enemy combatant detainees. I don’t deny that many Americans now mistakenly believe, after being bludgeoned over the head with liberal propaganda for years, that Bush lied us into war — as I’ve said three billion times, but apparently not often enough.
On all of these points and more it is the Democrats and mainstream media who are responsible for the “misinformation.”
If two-fifths of the American people believe Iraq attacked us on 9/11, it isn’t Bush’s fault because he never said that. And if one-fifth of the people believe we found new WMD stockpiles (we clearly did find old WMD), it isn’t because Bush said so. Yet Matthews says this “misinformation” came from “the top,” meaning Bush. But he knows that Bush has never said we’ve found WMD there. Never. He’s said quite the opposite. This one isn’t even arguable.
Unchallenged, even frequently applauded, Matthews “disseminated” his “misinformation” to the audience. It’s no wonder people so many people are so woefully misinformed.
Chris, you’re not helping.