Expertise's Politics and Sports Blog

Friday, August 20, 2004
Malkin vs. Matthews

There were alot of fireworks on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews last night, as Matthews got heated with both Swiftboat Vet Larry Thurlow and the queen of controversy, Michelle Malkin.

I'm kind of pissed that I didn't see the show, and due to MSNBC's Olympics coverage there weren't any replays tonight.  But by just looking at the transcript  it seems quite obvious that Matthews's objective from the get go was to discredit any and every allegation that was brought up by the Swiftboat Vets, instead of an objective analysis.

But see, the first problem in how people view Chris Matthews is that they consider him objective and credible.  Matthews is "mainstream"?  Maybe.  Only when the real mainstream media can use him for their own purposes, like they have with this Swiftboat story.  But Matthews AND Olberman are nothing but political analysts. opinionated and full of bullshit.  And it shows by their ratings.  Hell; I probably know more people on a personal level than Keith Olberman has watching his show.

Here's some of the Matthews/Malkin exchange:

(Matthews):  What do you make of the president‘s—this campaign being run on behalf of the president, if not officially to try destroy John Kerry‘s war record? 

MALKIN:  I don‘t think that President Bush orchestrated this at all. 

MATTHEWS:  Why doesn‘t he call up and say stop it. 

MALKIN:  Well, look he‘s already made his statement.  The White House said, it doesn‘t associate itself with these 527 campaigns, any of them.  And he said that Kerry has served nobly.  What else do you want him to say?

MATTHEWS:  Well, back when we had the Willie Horton Act, back in 1988, all that Jim Baker or anybody at the White House campaign had to do was call on behalf of President Bush Sr., and say stop running that racist ad.  Nobody ever did, OK.  I‘m asking if you‘re speaking on behalf of President Bush, why doesn‘t he make a phone call to these veterans, including Mr.  Thurlow and say stop running the ads.  Why doesn‘t he do that?

MALKIN:  Well first I‘m not here speaking on behalf of the Bush campaign.  Second of all...

MATTHEWS:  Well, do you think these guys should be running.

MALKIN:  Well, second of all, you brought up Willie Horton.  I think that‘s quite interesting that you did.  The underlying implication is that some how this is a Republican orchestrated thing, just like the swift boat campaign.  Of course, it was Al Gore who brought up Willie Horton first. 

MATTHEWS:  No, the ads.  No the ads were ran, by something called the American Security Council supporting President Bush.

MALKIN:  And who made the issue—who made the issue germane, Al Gore and the Democrats.  And it‘s the same thing here, John Kerry said, bring it on and the Swift Boat Veterans have brought it on.

Matthews starts right off the bat spinning like a top:  Why did he go all the way back 16 years ago to the Willie Horton ads? 

If he really wanted to talk about 527 groups, he could have brought up and the numerous other 527 leftist organizations that have received over $18 million from George Soros.  Now contrast that to the $200,000 that was used to get the Swiftboat Vets started.
Or how about talking about the James Byrd ad  created by the NAACP that tried to depict George Bush as racially insensitive at best and racist at worst by not sponsoring a hate crime bill after Byrd's death?  But you never hear anything about that.

Also, Malkin did a good job mentioning that it was Al Gore who first brought up the prison furlough law.  I don't recall him mentioning Willie Horton himself, but he did mention two other murders that killed again during their furloughs, although not by name.  But there is no doubt that Al Gore did bring up the issue, and it was a credible one.

Moving on:

MATTHEWS:  Fair enough.  So you—lets get your position here on the program, since you are on the program.  Your position it‘s OK, for the veteran groups to attack John Kerry on this issue?

MALKIN:  They are exercising their free speech, absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  And the president is totally innocent in this campaign.  He has nothing to do with it.

MALKIN:  Well, I don‘t think so.  Yes.  Yes, there were Bush supporters who helped fund the ads.  But this was not directed from the White House. 

MATTHEWS:  When the president says publicly that he has no problem with John Kerry‘s war record, in fact he finds it noble, is that hypocritical or is that honest? 

MALKIN:  I think it is absolutely honest. 

MATTHEWS:  Because what?  What makes it honest? 

Because how they are attacking Kerry?

MALKIN:  He can‘t—he did not control these—there was no—can you show me directive that said, Swift Boat Veterans do this. 

MATTHEWS:  I‘m waiting for the phone call that said stop doing it, buddies. 

But why should they stop?  Because Matthews and Kerry said they should?  The Swiftboats have every right to voice their opinion about John Kerry.  As Malkin stated, show the directive that said, Swiftboat Veterans do this.  But Matthews completely dismisses that point and tries to create a strawman, distracting the fact that Matthews has NO EVIDENCE (remember that word, Chris?  It was what you were trying to get out of Thurlow) that the White House is in charge of this operation.

It's also funny how Democrats didn't seem to mind when it was their organizations that were doing the muckraking, but now that an organization steps up to do it to John Kerry, now they have problems with it.  That's not going to work, boys.

Here's the most controversial part of the segment:

(Former San Francisco Mayor Jerry) BROWN:  He volunteered twice.  He volunteered twice in Vietnam.  He literally got shot.  There‘s no question about any of those things.  So what else is there to discuss?  How much he got shot, how deep, how much shrapnel? 

MALKIN:  Well, yes.  Why don‘t people ask him more specific questions about the shrapnel in his leg.  They are legitimate questions about whether or not it was a self-inflicted wound. 


MATTHEWS:  What do you mean by self-inflicted?  Are you saying he shot himself on purpose?  Is that what you‘re saying? 

MALKIN:  Did you read the book...

MATTHEWS:  I‘m asking a simple question.  Are you saying that he shot himself on purpose.

MALKIN:  I‘m saying some of these soldiers... 

MATTHEWS:  And I‘m asking question. 

MALKIN:  And I‘m answering it. 

MATTHEWS:  Did he shoot himself on purpose.

MALKIN:  Some of the soldiers have made allegations that these were self-inflicted wounds. 

MATTHEWS:  No one has ever accused him of shooting himself on purpose. 

MALKIN:  That these were self-inflicted wounds. 

MATTHEWS:  Your saying there are—he shot himself on purpose, that‘s a criminal act? 

MALKIN:  I‘m saying that I‘ve read the book and some of the... 


MATTHEWS:  I want an answer yes or no, Michelle. 

MALKIN:  Some of the veterans say...

MATTHEWS:  No.  No one has every accused him of shooting himself on purpose.

MALKIN:  Yes.  Some of them say that. 

MATTHEWS:  Tell me where that... 

MALKIN:  Self-inflicted wounds—in February, 1969. 

MATTHEWS:  This is not a show for this kind of talk.  Are you accusing him of shooting himself on purpose to avoid combat or to get credit?

MALKIN:  I‘m saying that‘s what some of these...

MATTHEWS:  Give me a name. 

MALKIN:  Patrick Runyan (ph) and William Zeldonaz (ph). 

MATTHEWS:  They said—Patrick Runyan...

MALKIN:  These people have...

MATTHEWS:  And they said he shot himself on purpose to avoid combat or take credit for a wound? 

MALKIN:  These people have cast a lot of doubt on whether or not...

MATTHEWS:  That‘s cast a lot of doubt.  That‘s complete nonsense. 

MALKIN:  Did you read the section in the book...

MATTHEWS:  I want a statement from you on this program, say to me right, that you believe he shot himself to get credit for a purpose of heart. 

MALKIN:  I‘m not sure.  I‘m saying...

MATTHEWS:  Why did you say? 

MALKIN:  I‘m talking about what‘s in the book. 

MATTHEWS:  What is in the book.  Is there—is there a direct accusation in any book you‘ve ever read in your life that says John Kerry ever shot himself on purpose to get credit for a purple heart?   On purpose?


MATTHEWS:  On purpose?  Yes or no, Michelle. 

MALKIN:  In the February 1969 -- in the February 1969 event. 

MATTHEWS:  Did he say on it purpose. 

MALKIN:  There are doubts about whether or not it was intense rifle fire or not.  And I wish you would ask these questions of John Kerry instead of me. 

MATTHEWS:  I have never heard anyone say he shot himself on purpose. 

I haven‘t heard you say it.

MALKIN:  Have you tried to ask—have you tried ask John Kerry these questions? 

MATTHEWS:  If he shot himself on purpose.  No.  I have not asked him that. 

MALKIN:  Don‘t you wonder? 

MATTHEWS:  No, I don‘t.  It‘s never occurred to me. 

A few things here:  Malkin should have been more forceful in getting her point across.  She states on her blog that she never said he shot himself on purpose, and that's technically true.  A self-inflicted wound does not mean you tried to shoot yourself on purpose.  You could have shot yourself by accident, which is what the Swiftboat Vets actually stated.

But Malkin didn't do a good job clarifying her argument.  In fact, at the end of this segment, Malkin asked Matthews, "have you tried to ask John Kerry these questions?"  And Matthews stated, "If he shot himself on purpose.  No.", in which Malkin replies, "Don't you wonder?"

There are two things we have to remember:  1.  This is a constant interchange.  Therefore it's possible that the transcript missed statements that Malkin and Matthews said through the crosstalk.  2.  Malkin could have been shaken by the sudden aggression displayed by Matthews, and fumbled her argument.  Either way, only watching the show itself could accurately depict what was being said.  But it doesn't look good for Malkin so far.

After the show, Keith Olberman gets on the so-called "Hardblogger" and starts cheerleading.  It's quite sad when you start brownnosing your own co-workers.  He should have took the mugshot down and showed a picture of himself in some pompoms.

Here's how retarded this guy sounds:

When I raised this prospect with John Harwood of 'The Wall Street Journal,' several viewers e-mailed to chastise us for not recognizing the difference between wounds that are “self-inflicted” and those that are deliberate attempts to injure one’s self. Throw a grenade, wipe out an enemy enclave, and get a piece of shrapnel in your head in the blow-back, and you’ve received a self-inflicted wound. It isn’t intentional and it isn’t dishonorable.

But of course that’s not what Thurlow said. He spoke of some vast Swift Boat Conspiracy in which Kerry steered not a crew of soldiers through hell, but rather, steered history. “A plan,” Thurlow said. “Included not only being a war hero,” Thurlow said. “But (also) getting an ‘early out’,” Thurlow said.

He’s not talking about an inadvertent blow-back wound. It was all a plan. And if the wounds weren’t deliberately self-inflicted (again, kudos Chris— he immediately told Malkin that such an act constituted a criminal offense), they must have occurred thanks to the timely cooperation of the Viet Cong, who were good enough to shoot Kerry on cue so he could go back home with all those medals and ribbons. You know, the ribbons he threw away in protest.

The problem with this is that he threw a grenade at a time when there was no enemy fire, at least according to Thurlow.  Military regulations specifically states that you receive a Purple Heart by being injured during actual combat.  THAT'S the problem.  Hence, all it takes is a little common sense to realize that you can accidentally injure yourself without actually being in combat.  As a national political analyst, it shouldn't be that hard to figure out.

And people wonder why MSNBC is constantly rumored to be cancelled?

Also, please note that Malkin was not initially supposed to be there to discuss the Swiftboat Vets.  She was there to promote her book.  She was supposedly told that she was going to have two segments: one for the Swiftboats, which she agreed to, and one for the book.  However, after the interchange Matthews and his producers pulled the plug. 

Malkin is one of my favorite pundits, and I love her work.  If there is anything that both her and I can learn from this is that YOU have to control the atmosphere.  Guys like Matthews are hard-up on making themselves look good.  I hope she fairs better on Washington Journal, as she is supposed to be on it this morning around 9:00.

Posted at 07:47 am by Expertise



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