Maybe we need to offer a course for the 24 hour News Channel talking heads in remedial journalism. Certainly, some refresher classes in very basic skills like oh....listening...are needed. My first candidate is Mr. "Hardball" himself, Chris Matthews. Matthews admits that he is so busy doing whatever it is he does to actually listen to his guests. It took a friend watching the show to tell Matthews after the fact that Frank Gaffney derailed his segment right into Neocon Crazytown without Matthews even noticing.
MATTHEWS: I—some time—as you know, sitting in this desk, this side of the desk, Joe and Pat—you have tried to do this—we have all tried to do this—we try to catch everything that goes past us, so we can act in real time.
Sometimes, people say things on this show so fast, that they come out of left field or right field, and I don‘t even hear them. But a friend of mine called me up and said, pay attention to what Frank Gaffney said on your show on Thursday, and we went back and looked at the tape.
You know, if this was an isolated incident with Matthews, that would be one thing, but the irony was that Gaffney was asked on to discuss another Neocon lie by Ari Fleischer that Matthews missed the day before. Excusing his own culpability in not being bothered to listen to what's being said on his program and how that misinforms the public, Matthews is just shocked...shocked, I tell you...that Gaffney would offer up such an egregious lie:
MATTHEWS: These people, they use anthrax. They will use—“The Weekly Standard” has reams of arguments why we should go to war. They won‘t quit, Pat. It is funny, but it‘s horrible. [..]
They would use any case to get us into a war with Iraq, and they did. And they won. They got us in. [..] What about the charge [..] that Saddam Hussein should have been fought, we had to go to war in Iraq because he bombed Oklahoma City? That is so close to fringe argument, Laurie Mylroie stuff, nutcase stuff, I should say.[..]
Gaffney was—was reaching... Because he is a good guy, but he was reaching for the crazy stuff.
TRIPPI: They have been reaching since the beginning. That‘s the whole...(CROSSTALK)
MATTHEWS: Oh, OK. I don‘t know where they—where they drink this stuff.
If you don't know, Chris, it's because you really haven't been listening these last eight years. Wake up, dude. The whole meme of "Saddam is a threat to us" originated from fringe cases like Laurie Mylroie, Ahmad Chalabi, and "Curveball" from the beginning. Here's the problem, Chris: YOU LET THEM. You--and all these other derelict talking heads (because I will not call any of you a journalist)--let them come on your program and lie. And because you weren't listening, they knew they could do it with impunity, because there would be no follow up questions, no context, no verification and no obstacles. You want to know why so many people still believe that Saddam had something to do with 9/11? Look in the mirror.
Oh, and one more thing: Your comment that Gaffney is a good guy? No, he's not. He may be perfectly pleasant at your Beltway cocktail parties, but Chris, he is a LIAR. No, even more, he is an lying, treasonous, unapologetic warmonger with the blood on his hands of an unbelievable number of people--who posed no threat to us. That is not a good guy. For once in your life, play hardball and call someone out for their lies instead of laughing about them with others. Maybe Gaffney will refuse to come on Hardball again for such treatment, but you know what? That would be a benefit to America.
Full transcripts here