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Rachel Maddow Calls Out Newt Gingrich And Co. For Exploiting 9-11

Rachel Maddow did a great job of taking on the likes of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and especially Newt Gingrich and his new fear mongering movie he's coming out with for exploiting 9-11 and mainstreaming the idea that America is war with Islam.

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Rachel Maddow did a great job of taking on the likes of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and especially Newt Gingrich and the new fearmongering movie he's coming out with, for exploiting 9-11 and mainstreaming the idea that America is at war with Islam. Gingrich has got a long history of doing this sort of thing, but I think he's hit a new low for even him with this garbage. The whole lot of them are nothing but a bunch of hucksters happy to line their own pockets while drumming up racial and religious resentment. If the story of the Quran-burning nutjob is going to be covered, it needs to be put into the larger context of the hatred being stoked by the right, as Rachel demonstrated here.

I'm frankly sick to death of the media covering this wingnut Terry Jones and I'm glad they are at least pulling back today and not putting him on the air for interviews any more but if I see much more of their navel gazing about whether they gave him too much attention or not I think I'm going to throw something through my television set. These ambulance chasers who think tabloid television passes for news are suddenly sitting around wondering if they gave this guy too much attention, like this is any different than the rest of the crap they commonly put on the air to distract from talking about the things that matter.

And what John Cole said..."The only thing the media enjoys talking about more than lunatics is themselves"... go read the whole thing but warning, it's not safe for work.

And one last note on Gingrich's movie. I'm not sure what's creepier, that promo or his Stepford-like third wife.

Here's Rachel's transcript:

MADDOW: But we begin with the extremist Christian pastor in Florida who was planning to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 by burning copies of the Koran. He has now changed his plans twice.

The pastor claimed in a press conference this afternoon that he was canceling his Koran-burning because the imam behind the planned Islamic cultural center in downtown Manhattan agreed to move the building away from the hallowed grounds of the old Burlington coat factory building -- blocks away from the World Trade Center site. That`s what the pastor said. He said he is ditching the Koran-burning because the so-called Ground Zero mosque is moving.

But the imam and developer behind the planned cultural center in Lower Manhattan quickly came out with a statement saying they did not agree to move the center at all.

So, now, the pastor says he is merely suspending his Koran-burning plans, not canceling them. That`s what happened on that insane front today.

If you are looking for other ways to celebrate -- and I do mean to celebrate -- the 9/11 anniversary this year, don`t worry. One event that has not canceled or suspended is the planned Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin 9/11 beer bust up in Alaska. Tickets range in price from a low of $73.75 to a high of $225 for a spot in the arena and participation in a "meet and greet."

As "The Hill" newspaper reports, there was no indication to whom or what the proceeds will go.

But organizers are also making clear that if you are 21 years old or over, you can get tickets in the section in which they will be selling booze at this event.

Sarah Palin is advertising the event on her Facebook page. Quote, "I hope my fellow Alaskans and anyone visiting from outside will join me this Saturday, September 11th, 2010, at Anchorage`s Dena`ina Center at 8:00 p.m. Glenn Beck will be there. You won`t want to miss it. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com," end quote.

And unless anyone believe it is somehow a coincidence that this event is being held on 9/11, here again from Ms. Palin`s Facebook page. Quote, "I can think of no better way to commemorate 9/11 than to gather with patriots who will never forget."

OK. How is this for never forgetting? How about us patriots who are dedicated to never forgetting 9/11, we all get together as Americans and agree to get health care for the heroes of 9/11 -- the first responders who are sick because of the dust and debris they were exposed to at Ground Zero at the real 9/11?

Now, I understand that this is an unstoppable train. We like to commercialize and exploit everything. And apparently, there are people shameless enough about this American tragedy to turn it into a $200 a ticket "meet and greet" commercial commemorative beer party.

But here`s the thing, in July of this year, 155 Republicans voted "no" to providing 9/11 first responders with health care. Only 12 Republicans voted for that bill.

It is about to come up for a vote again and I can think of two voices that could be incredibly influential with Republicans who, so far, are refusing to support the heroes of 9/11 to get health care. Two potentially influential conservative figures who will be entertaining their fans at a 4,500-seat convention center in Anchorage on the anniversary of 9/11 because it`s 9/11 -- and yes, there will be beer and $200 "meet Glenn Beck in person" tickets.

With money to be made and beer to be drunk, I`m sure talk of ailing 9/11 responders would be a real downer, so let`s not get too hopeful that this might be turned into a constructive cause. But, you know, maybe.

Do you want to know who else has realized the merchandising potential of the 9/11 anniversary this year?

In partnership with Citizens United -- yes, the same Citizens United that won the Supreme Court case that says corporations can pour limitless cash into American elections -- former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has put together a very scary new movie. It`s called "America at Risk." And they have decided to give "America at Risk" its national launch date on 9/11, whereupon it can be yours for the low, low price of $19.95 plus $4 shipping and handling. Act now. Operators are standing by.

Trailer for the new launched on 9/11 movie is already up online. Here`s an excerpt. And I actually should tell you up front that I admit to modifying this excerpt to be able to put it on this TV show in a way that allows me to live with myself.

For the first few seconds of this video, I`m not actually going to show you the video part of what Newt Gingrich decided to put on screen while making the argument you will hear him making here, because the video in the original? The video that he shows while making this argument, the images he chooses to use to sell this stuff, what he is showing is graphic video -- graphic video from the real 9/11. And I am not going to help him market that.

So, I will show you this clip so you know what this is. You will hear what he says, but I`m not going to show the 9/11 exploitation video that he shows while he says it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Our enemies are clear in their desire to defeat America. They told us so repeatedly. We have many of our elites who are afraid to identify our adversaries by name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we used to call the "war on terror," we are clearly losing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Despite our successes and sacrifices, lives lost and billions spent, the war on terror and the ideology behind it have only just begun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This war will go on until the whole of the world embraces Islam or submits to Islamic law. That is the ideology of jihad. (INAUDIBLE) show of destruction is not a deterrent. It`s an inducement because that is what they`re hoping for. This is the end of time. This is the final struggle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: This is the final struggle.

You know, lots of people have been wondering why everybody has been paying so much attention to this one lunatic in Florida who decided to burn Korans on Saturday instead of -- I don`t know, braiding his mustache or screaming at house plants or whatever it is he normally does to occupy his time. There are in this country wingnuts country and they do wingnutty things all of the time.

The "Kansas City Star" today ran a quote from the crazy Fred Phelps funeral protester cult people in Kansas complaining that they`re jealous of the mustache-braider, Koran burner, in Florida, because two years ago, they, too, set fire to a Koran in plain view on a Washington, D.C. street and nobody seemed to care and they`re lamenting that.

And, of course, nobody seemed to care about that. Fred Phelps and his crew are crazy people.

In the news media, as a general rule, tries, whenever possible, to not treat crazy people doing crazy things as a legitimate news event. Crazy person does crazy thing in public is something that goes in a medical record or a police report or a poem about existential angst. It`s not news.

What`s different now? The reason nobody paid attention to crazy Fred Phelps` Koran-burning antics and almost literally everyone in the country is paying attention to the Koran-burning antics of this equally crazy Florida guy is because today, the sentiment behind "I`m a crazy guy who is going to burn me some Korans on 9/11" is being carried into the mainstream by a current of extreme anti-Muslim "We`re at war with Islam" rhetoric.

Do you really want to know why we`re all suddenly paying attention to one lunatic in Florida who`s been threatening to burn copies of the Koran? This is why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: Many of our elites are afraid to even identify our adversaries by name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we used to call the "war on terror," we are clearly losing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Despite our successes and sacrifices, lives lost and billions spent, the war on terror and the ideology behind it have only just begun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This war will go on until the whole of the world embraces Islam or submits to Islamic law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Not just crazy guys who scream at house plants, like the Florida pastor, but supposedly serious political figures like Newt Gingrich have been banging this drum on the right that we in America are at war with Islam -- not with terrorists, with Islam, with an entire religion with anybody who is a Muslim. And that`s why we`re all talking about the Koran- burning kook in Florida. Because thanks to the Newt Gingriches of the world and the other supposedly mainstream politicos who have been pushing and flirting with this "we`re at war with all Muslims" nonsense, there is a growing sense in this country that simply being Muslim means being at war with the United States.

There`s nothing new going on in the news that is driving this. There have always been mosques. There has always been new mosque. There have always been nutball pastors doing nutball things to dramatize their nutball ideas about holy war and how important that makes them feel.

For the most part, the story of the crazy Florida pastor has been talked about in terms of religious freedom and First Amendment rights. That`s the way that the national, responsible mainstream media dealt with this story.

But that`s actually the wrong frame for this story. He is a kook doing as kooks do. That is not why he is relevant. He`s no more relevant than Fred Phelps and the people who protest that funerals in order to try to get attention.

The guy in Florida is relevant, because suddenly the belief that is driving his particular brand of wingnuttery, suddenly, it`s shared with lots of other Americans. Lots of other Americans who are listening to what supposedly serious figures on the right are telling them. And that is a much more -- that is a much more ominous sign about where this country is headed and the fact that some crazy guy in Florida decided for a minute that he was going to try to burn some Korans.

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