Hardball's Chris Matthews has finally started paying attention to the fact that Glenn Beck's show is nothing but fear mongering and incoherent rants and touting nonsensical conspiracy theories. Media Matter's Eric Boehlert and The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson discuss some of Beck's latest wingnuttery with the uprisings in the Middle East.
They also spent a little time discussing neocon Frank Gaffney who's been spreading panic about the Muslim Brotherhood taking over our government that John wrote about yesterday. Maybe Matthews will finally quit having him on as a guest on Hardball after this.
Best line in the segment by Eugene Robinson after Matthews asks him if Beck has any sense of history:
ROBINSON: This is the stuff normally you would prescribe medication.
Ain't that the truth?
Full transcript via Lexis Nexis.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. As the crisis continues in Egypt and may continue on for quite a while, if you listen to Dr. Brzezinski, the right wing, led by Glenn Beck, continues to traffic in conspiracy theories. Why not? They have more to do with scaring this country than getting the truth out of what`s happening over there.
So what are they up to this time? Well, Eric Boehlert is a senior fellow with Media Matters, and Eugene Robinson`s a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington Post."
Gentlemen, thank you both for being with us. And I sometimes -- I`m not surprised by right or left-wing argument in this country. Sometimes the rhetoric is rather wholesome. Now, catch Glenn Beckon Tuesday night, this diatribe about the Caliphate. He starts talking about ancient Babylon. See if you can follow this. I did. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, HOST, FOX NEWS "GLENN BECK": Iraq is really important, especially to the Shi`ites, especially to the 12ers who are in charge of this country right now because what is in Iraq? There`s one place that we told our bombers not to bomb. Does anybody know what it was? Two wars in Iraq, we said, No bombing there. Ancient Babylon. Ancient Babylon. Why? Because the Bible tells us that that is the seat right here of power of a global evil empire. Well, that`s also where the 12th imam from Iran is supposedly going to show up! Everybody on this side wants ancient Babylon for their caliphate!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, before we go any further, I have rarely heard anything like this on television in my life, but the -- well, let me just ask our guests. Eric, the -- what is he saying about the decision by our bombing fleet, our bombers, those who are directed and their civilians who control our military under both Bushes, President Bush, Herbert Walker, and then, of course, George W. Bush -- that they somehow decided, as part of some global caliphate they`re envisioning and hoping to move along -- they told our bombing people when they put these sorties together, Don`t hit ancient Babylon because that`s going to be the center of evil --
ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIAMATTERS.ORG: Right.
MATTHEWS: -- the power -- it`s going to be the seat right there of power of a global evil empire. He (INAUDIBLE) are the Bushes involved -- what in hell is this man talking about?
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts. Wide-open question.
BOEHLERT: Well, that seems to be one of the hurdles. He`s now rewriting history backwards, and now he`s sort of dragging the Bushes into it, with previous wars in the territory. Look, I mean, Glenn Beck has for years now at Fox, he`s dug himself this sort of conspiratorial hole and he`s just going to keep digging, I mean, regardless. And so now --
MATTHEWS: You`re so smart. (INAUDIBLE) because people who believe in these grand conspiracies --
MATTHEWS: -- they`ll end up saying, It wasn`t just the Dallas police and it wasn`t just the CIA and it wasn`t just the FBI, it wasn`t just Nixon and Johnson, it was the Irish mafia around Kennedy. Everybody was involved! The Secret Service -- because once you start going into this --
BOEHLERT: Right. Right. Right.
MATTHEWS: -- conspiratorial mind, you have to make -- you have to come up with an explanation why somebody didn`t catch somebody.
BOEHLERT: And, so, now every --
MATTHEWS: And the reason they didn`t catch him is because they`re in on it.
BOEHLERT: And so now, miraculously, every piece of breaking news fits perfectly into his grand plan.
I mean, he wasn`t talking about Egypt two months ago. But if you listen to him now, of course, it makes perfect sense --
BOEHLERT: -- because he was warning about this -- this leftist Islamist revolution. It`s not just going to happen in America now. It`s apparently going to spread worldwide. So --
Gene, I want to give you another piece of cake from this -- strange cake, in fact.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Now, here`s the story, just as a setup to this, so we all remember, so we don`t forget piece by piece what Beck is building here.
Beck has, for a while now, said the president is a socialist and a communist. That`s very important to understand who he`s -- because there`s no more common term in the world right now.
MATTHEWS: And socialists had a lot to do -- they were part of the -- the modern Israel --
MATTHEWS: -- Labor Party, of course, all the heroes were -- were socialists.
But he has this strange new theory now. Socialists, who he identifies with the president, communists, who he identifies with our president, are the ones behind all this.
Here he is. They`re behind the trouble in Egypt. Here he is on the radio today talking about the caliphate and the socialists and communists, who are of course the Obama people, working together with extreme Islam. Let`s listen to this latest.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, "THE GLENN BECK PROGRAM")
GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, "THE GLENN BECK PROGRAM": I want the left to know I plant my flag in this soil. Groups from the hard-core socialist and communist left and extreme Islam will work together, because they are both a common enemy of Israel and the Jew.
Islam wants a caliphate. Communists wants a communist new world order. They will work together and they will destabilize, because they both want chaos.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Gene Robinson.
ROBINSON: It -- this makes absolutely no sense on any level. It makes no sense on any level.
MATTHEWS: Where this Community Party meeting these days?
ROBINSON: Well, don`t you know how --
ROBINSON: -- the communists and the Islamists have always worked together? Except the fact that they`re always trying to kill each other.
MATTHEWS: And the socialists, too.
MATTHEWS: You know who hates -- you know who hates -- who hates the socialists the most? The communists.
MATTHEWS: Doesn`t this guy have any sense of history?
MATTHEWS: And socialists were a big part of building the modern Israel. What is he talking about?
ROBINSON: This is the stuff normally you would prescribe medication.
ROBINSON: He -- he -- no, I`m serious. And -- and, normally, it does nobody any good. Glenn Beck says this. He says that. He says this crazy --
MATTHEWS: Yes, but why is he saying it now?
ROBINSON: Well --
MATTHEWS: Is this to get Obama`s --
MATTHEWS: -- way?
ROBINSON: Well, here`s what bothers me. I think frankly it is a case that he`s dug the conspiracy hole so deep that he just has to keep digging.
But here`s what upsets me about it is, watch those pictures from Cairo, and it -- it makes you anxious. It causes anxiety among a lot of people because -- and why not? These are anxious times.
And so here`s this guy who is just compounding people`s anxiety with these loopy conspiratorial theories.
ROBINSON: And I just think it`s -- if you have that sort of platform, you have that sort of -- sort of megaphone that he has, that you have --
ROBINSON: -- that I have with a column, there`s a certain responsibility that comes with that. And if you don`t recognize that, you`re just a jerk, you know?
MATTHEWS: Well, Eric --
ROBINSON: And he`s just a jerk.
MATTHEWS: -- you guys have been studying this guy for a long time.
MATTHEWS: Before we move on to Frank Gaffney, another guy who is getting into the full moon category, what -- what is he trying to -- is there a logic here? Or is it just as Gene suggests? He has just gotten deeper and deeper?
MATTHEWS: You`ve said this. Is it just you get so far into these conspiracy theories in blaming everything center -- anything left-of-center that`s evil in the world, you blame everything on them and you tie it all together with Barack Obama is a socialist, he`s a communist, that he`s -- he`s in with the Muslim Brotherhood? They are all working together against you. That`s paranoid talk.
MATTHEWS: That is paranoid talk, definitionally.
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts.
BOEHLERT: And, so, as Gene was saying, the underlying fear is, what you see in Cairo is coming to the States, where that --
BOEHLERT: Beck has been talking about the coming insurrection. And it`s coming from the left. And now we`re being told that it`s going to look like Cairo.
And so this is part of -- this is just part of the conspiracy. And, frankly, I think it`s basically a programming -- it`s a rating shtick for Beck. I mean, Beck is at heart a radio guy. He came up in radio. They are haunted by the idea of falling ratings.
January was his worst ratings month ever at FOX News. He -- he -- he always needs a shtick. And so Egypt is the new one. The caliphate is the new one. And if you look at the numbers, the people are saying -- even some of his viewers are saying, OK, wait. Can you explain this again? Where are we going with all of this stuff?
BOEHLERT: Where is this going?
MATTHEWS: Well, it goes to the unitary theory, which really most crazy people go. They want one simple theory of everything that scares them.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go to Frank Gaffney. I don`t know what he`s up to.
Frank Gaffney believes we`re about to go into Sharia law in this country. He`s convinced we`re all going to be getting our hands cut off, our heads cut off, whatever else. Here he is speaking out this week on FOX, this week, of course, to warm -- to warn us that the Muslim Brotherhood is taking over this administration. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FOX NEWS CHANNEL)
FRANK GAFFNEY, FOUNDER & PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY: What is going on here in part is that the Obama administration`s policies are being viewed through and actually articulated and now implemented through influence operations that the Muslim Brotherhood itself is running in our own country.
You cannot possibly get your strategy right, you cannot execute it effectively if you don`t know that the enemy is actually giving you advice on how to proceed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What`s he talking about, Gene?
ROBINSON: I have no -- again, I have no idea. This, it -- it just makes no sense.
MATTHEWS: He says that Napolitano, the secretary of homeland defense, is getting advice from these people, from the Muslim Brotherhood?
ROBINSON: Well, it would -- it would be not just the secretary of homeland defense. It would be also you, I guess, and --
ROBINSON: -- and -- and the media in general getting advice from the Muslim Brotherhood? I just -- it -- it -- you know, Sharia -- let me just state for the record Sharia law is not coming to the United States.
MATTHEWS: You know, when I was a kid --
ROBINSON: I would bet a lot of money on that.
MATTHEWS: I`m about your age, Gene and -- and Eric.
When I was kid, we saw "The Invisible Man," because after you have seen "The Invisible Man" at a drive-in theater with your dad, the first thing you would do when you would go home, when mom was away, you would reach under the bed and make sure he`s not there, right?
MATTHEWS: I mean, that`s what this is about, isn`t it? The invisible man is coming to get you. You`ve got to check under the bed. You`ve got to make sure there`s no possible space in your bedroom he could be.
MATTHEWS: Isn`t this what it`s about, pure, utter fear-mongering?
MATTHEWS: Eric, last thought.
And Frank Gaffney is -- it`s not just in the Obama administration. He`s been claiming the conservative movement, CPAC, one of the controversies they`re having this year is they have been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood. So --
MATTHEWS: Oh, those red -- those red SOBs over there at CPAC.
BOEHLERT: Apparently, the Muslim Brotherhood has the -- the entire Beltway wired.
MATTHEWS: We have got trouble in River City.
Thank you, Eric Boehlert. Thanks very much. You`re doing great -- great work over there.
Eugene Robinson, as always.