After playing some of the extreme rhetoric coming from the likes of Newt Gingrich and Glenn Beck, Chris Matthews asks what’s driving the hysteria over the so called “ground zero mosque” and the apocalyptic language coming from the likes of Glenn Beck. The National Review's Reihan Salam apparently doesn't think that Rupert Murdoch has any control over Glenn Beck which I'll get to shortly.
Joe Klein says Newt Gingrich is smart enough to know better, which he is, but dismisses Glenn Beck as “something different” and a “paranoid lunatic who is a great entertainer” who is exploiting what always happens when we have a combination of a bad economic situation in the United States coupled with being at war. I agree with Klein that Beck is exploiting a lot of the real fear that is out there with the economy being so terrible right now. I disagree that he’s just some “paranoid lunatic”. Beck knows exactly what he’s doing and he’s happy to be using his fear mongering to enrich himself. He just doesn’t care what type of damage he’s doing in the interim. And I also agree with Klein that Beck is doing this with the full approval of his “puppet master” Rupert Murdoch.
The part of this segment I found really irritating was the National Review’s Reihan Salam and his dismissiveness of Rupert Murdoch’s control over Glenn Beck. Glenn Beck doesn’t do anything on the air without the full approval of his station’s ownership and to pretend he doesn’t is just nonsense.
Matthews: Reihan Salam, this whole thing, I think it gets ethnic, I think it is tribal. I listened to Rush Limbaugh this week saying, you know, we’re not Islamaphobic, we elected Barack Obama. That proves we’re not Islamaphobic. That’s saying he’s Islamic again when the guy’s a Christian.
Salam: I don’t think that’s quite what it’s saying. I think what it’s saying is that Barack Obama is someone who comes from a very different kind of background and Americans have embraced him in large numbers. I also think the idea respectfully that Glenn Beck is… ah… you know… is being controlled by Rupert Murdoch as his puppet master gets things wrong. (crosstalk)
When you look at Glenn Beck you see someone for example, remember Louis Farrakhan and the Million Man March. What was the Million Man March about? A lot of people were terrified by that. It caused a lot of consternation among liberals and conservatives. But ultimately what you saw was an event where tons of African American men got together and it was really about identity and pride.
And I think that when you are looking at our politics right now, it’s true that in an economic downturn you see a lot of confusion, you see a lot of uncertainty and there is a decent number of people who feel like now “have nots”, but they feel like “are nots”. They feel like they’re not being respected in our public life and they want to assert themselves….
Matthews: Who are the Glenn Beck constituency?
Salam: I think that it’s a lot of folks. It’s a lot of people from smaller cities, rural areas, small towns, tend to be white, tend to be ah…
Matthews: Okay, who is their villain?
Salam: I don’t know if they necessarily have a villain…
Klein: Oh, come on!
Salam: …so much as there’s a lot of confusion and anger and resentment.
As Joe Klein who I don’t often agree with much on pointed out, sooner or later you’ve got to ask just what are you so damn angry about. Salam tried to pretend that a lot of these Beckerheads defected when Bush was president as well. I call bulls**t on that one. Katy Kay is right here, they were not speaking out against Washington, and they sure as hell were not having huge protests sponsored by corporate funded astroturf teabagger organizations and ClusterFox when Bush was still in office. This is all about getting the racist elements of the right wing drummed up enough to go out and vote for Republicans in the midterms, period, the long term consequences of your actions be damned no matter how bad they might be for your party in the long term.
Salam tries to excuse what’s going on now as “fitting a media narrative”. Well, who’s “media narrative” is that? He lays part of that blame on those “around this round table”. On that point he’s right since MSNBC and the rest of the corporate media do follow what Fox and right wing hate radio put out there even if they aren’t the ones originating it. That doesn’t mean that Fox and Beck should be excused for their hate mongering and driving the narrative in the first place.
We had a conversation with the Crooks and Liars team about what it means to be a conservative or a liberal these days and during that discussion I was unfortunate enough to come across some of Salam's world view. He apparently thinks that if you're rich and doing well, you deserve it, unlike those lazy people who have don't have the luxury of moving away from the area where you're skills aren't fully appreciated. He's just another one of these hacks trying to put a happy face on the views of today's modern Republican Party who's platform is basically to hell with anyone that works for a living and give our corporations anything they want and if you whiners don't like that race to the bottom, too bad. And in the mean time we'll paint that race as "freedom" for corporations to abuse anyone they want.
And shame on him for defending Beck. You lose your right to pretend you're some sort of moderate conservative when you try to put a happy face on Beck's madness as if his other views weren't bad enough. I'm sick to death of the extreme right being painted as middle of the road by our media.