May 17, 2008

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On Friday's Countdown, guest host Rachel Maddow asked Chris Matthews about his refusal to allow talk show host Kevin James to blindly repeat White House talking points without having any idea what those buzzwords meant. We're quick to call out Matthews when he does something wrong, I think it's incumbent upon us to let him know when he's done well too. And to his credit, Matthews understands how fundamentally detrimental these buzzwords are to a functioning democracy (and before you retort, no one is harder on him than I am, and he rarely allows them unchallenged on his program--he's far more likely to be swayed by the perceived power--or attractiveness--of the person than the words they speak).

MADDOW: Do you think this is something new? Do you think this is something specific to our current, contemporaneous politics that we have these sort of buzzwords and bumper sticker slogans, whether it’s ‘appeasement,’ or ‘fight over there so we don’t fight them here’ or ‘they hate our freedom,’ any of these terms. Are they designed to be repeated and not to be interrogated?

MATTHEWS: Well, just look at the way people are basically exterminated or tried to be exterminated. Bill Maher makes a comment --which may not have been the right comment--but he was making a point he was trying to make, about stand back weaponry compared to people killing themselves. You can argue about the niceties of that. The Dixie Chicks say something about the war—and they shouldn’t have said it overseas, but they said it. The shutting up of opposition is critical to running a country in an undemocratic way, let’s put it that way. And so you have buzzwords like ‘appeasers’ or ‘cut and run’ and they’re used over and over again by the most mindless people. The trouble with them is they tend to work. The dittoheads can use them. Anyone can use them and they seem to have the same effect. They cause people to run from criticism.

On a related note: Media Bloodhound writes that the day after the 'appeasement' remarks, the ghost of Prescott Bush was seen hovering over the White House. Maybe because he grasps history so much better than its current occupant and his minions.

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