Calling out MSNBC and Chris Matthews for enabling the radical right

I’ll start by saying that anyone who uses the sentence that “MSNBC is the only counterpart to FOX and the right wing noise machine” has their head completely up their ass.  Two hours per day (Olbermann and Maddow) do not make up for the countless hours of “fair and balanced programming” that Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough or much of the daytime programming comprises – certainly, this is a mixed bag at best and nothing near the ridiculously and blatantly skewed programming on FOX – or even worse, the “supposedly neutral” but SO NOT neutral CNN.

But I digress….

A couple of weeks back, Chris Matthews had two Congressmen on Hardball to discuss health care reform and how the issue could be moved forward in a bipartisan manner.  The Republican Congressman appearing was New Jersey’s own Scott Garrett.  At the end of the segment, Chris heaped effusive praise on Garrett, calling him his type of Northeastern Republican, which I guess means the most radically rightwing kind.  He even invoked the word “moderate” to describe Garrett (at which mention Garrett visibly cringed).  

To grasp the abject stupidity of Matthews’ misplaced admiration, you have to understand who Scott Garrett is and what he stands for.  As we have documented here time and time again, Garrett is arguably THE most radical right-wing member of Congress.  His illustrious legislative record includes, among many other things:

  • Voting against aid for victims of Katrina,
  • Voting against extending unemployment benefits for American families,
  • Voting against extending the Voting Rights Act,
  • Voting against providing health care to poor children,
  • Voting against anti-price gouging legislation holding big oil accountable,
  • Voting against taxing bonuses for Wall Street execs (he actually argued that they “deserved” them),
  • Voting for every bloated Bush budget, and
  • Voting for every dime spent in Iraq.  

Oh, and by the way Chris – He’s also catering to the birthers – if not necessarily an outward one himself, having said at a public meeting that he wanted to see Obama’s birth certificate.  Garrett further distinguished himself following the earthquake in Haiti.  His message on his Congressional web site said the he was praying for those constituents of his affected by the quake.  No mention of the thousands of Haitians who were dead or injured.  Garrett also opposed abortion even in the case of rape or incestallowing a rapist to choose the mother of his child or a molesting father to force his daughter to bear his own grandchild.  And he referred dismissively to the push to eliminate DADT as a “side issue” not worthy of his consideration.  That’s Chris Matthews’ kind of Republican.

As Jason notes below, Garrett also recently appeared on MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show with guest host Ed Schultz.  Once again he performed his one man show designed to portray himself as the sincere moderate that truly wants to work across party lines for the good of the American people.  I can’t blame Ed because he was filling in at the last moment.  But I can blame the show’s staff for not doing even a modicum of homework on their guest.  Like Matthews, Schultz – someone who should know better – bought the well rehearsed charade hook, line and sinker.

By giving Garrett this kind of forum without challenging him on his record, MSNBC has aided and abetted an insidious political fraud.  It is incumbent upon MSNBC to make sure this journalistic incontinence doesn’t happen again.  First, try to actually do some research on your guests.  You know, like Rachel Maddow does so well.  Second, next time you extend an invitation for Congressman Garrett to appear on one of your infotainment shows, ask him why he voted time and time again to deprive Americans of their most basic civil rights.  Then ask him how we can buy into his fairy tale of working toward a bipartisan utopia when he questions the very legitimacy of our President to serve in office based on debunked crackpot theories.

Maybe then MSNBC can begin to regain some semblance of journalistic integrity.          

Comments (5)

  1. The Wizard

    the right wing media.

    Democrats opposed to health care reform with a public option are described as moderate, as in the middle. That framing does not stand up to reason. Polls show over 60% of Americans favor a public option. Since when did 60% represent the fringe? It’s the moderates who favor health care reform with a public option, and the radical fringe that opposes it.

    And Garrett is to the right of Goering.  

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  2. Rufus T Firefly

    Falsely portraying Garrett as a moderate iis deplorable, but I see this as an example of the kind of inside-the-Beltway mentality regularly displayed by Washington insiders like Matthews – Garrett’s a Republican, he’s from a blue state, ergo he must be moderate.  The fact that they chose the most reactionary member of the delegation is a bit puzzling, though.

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  3. SmartyJones

    and disappointed.

    I haven’t watched either Ed Schultz or Dylan Rattigan much, but I always thought they were reasonably progressive.  And I thought they (and staff) did their homework re: guests.

    So, the idea that either one of them would consider Garrett a moderate is both surprising and disapointing.

    Ya know, ya could understand bad brew Joe and his DNA challenged sidekick, Tweety (who, personally makes me embarassed to have been a PCV) or even Mrs. Greenspan taking this position, but who knew?

    One would hope that they read Blue Jersey – with its sizable constiuency –  or that the BJ editorial board sends this diary to them.  We are not to be ignored.

    Off topic.  Please put “the albany project” on your blog roll.  Indeed, the site is NY centered, but we are on their blog roll.  And we have so much in common, yet we are so different, but we should compare.  Dysfunctional state government (they win), budget disasters, including public transportation (they have the 2nd non-elected official running the show now – Ratvich.  And elections have goten us what?  A despot)  Would anyone care to take on a comparison of Jim McGreevey and Eric Massa?  I hope not.  

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  4. FormerBureaucrat

    with the likes of Fred Thompson and Rudy Guiliani as well.  Matthews has no really consistency or logic to his political philosophy, a political philosophy formed not by positions on issues, but how the person comes across on the television machine.  He really doesn’t like Howard Dean because Dean throws facts at Matthews that dispel Matthews’ pre-conceived notions as recently happened in a show immediately after the Scott Brown victory in Mass.  Matthews was arguing that the Brown win was an indication that the Democrats had tried to do too much and were too “left” for the electorate and that’s why Oakley was defeated, in other words, the standard CW of the Village.  Dr. Dean countered with a flash poll that indicated that a great deal of displeasure at the Democrats was that they had done too little and were making a mess of the process of governing.  Matthews kept on berating Dean with his own pre-conceived ideas and gave that patented Chris Matthews look that his debate partner was stupid and unworthy, but in reality Matthews’ own limited intellectual powers did not allow him to explore the credibility of Dr. Dean’s thesis.  Additionally, as a product of an exclusively all-male Catholic education, Matthews has trouble accepting the ideas from women as equals and just doesn’t do well in a discussion with women.  He is prone to objectify women by looks and dress, rather than to respond to their ideas.  He is much more comfortable bullshitting away with Barnacle and Pat Buchanan.  Why they keep him on that show I have no idea because he is something of a political trainwreck.  Perhaps that is why people watch.  

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