April 10, 2010

While discussing President Obama's upcoming Supreme Court nomination, Chris Matthews asks Sen. Amy Klobuchar to respond to this hateful nonsense out of rodeo clown and wingnut Glenn Beck: Beck says Obama will find a "gay, handicapped, black woman, who's an immigrant" who's a "radical" justice like Sotomayor.

I have to ask, am I the only one that's tired of one of these wingnuts saying some hateful, racist, over the top nonsense and our pundits in the media asking politicians to respond to them? What does Matthews expect Klobuchar to say in response? If she responds as normal person would which would be to call Beck out for what he is which is nothing more than a right wing flame throwing propagandist, then Matthews gets his sound byte and they can start panning her as some kind of flame thrower as they do to Alan Grayson who doesn't pull any punches when asked these types of questions.

Or she can act like most politicians who know everything they say might turn up in some campaign ad and give a measured and inadequate response and the Glenn Becks of the world get elevated to a position that they do not deserve and don't get called out for how hateful and dangerous their rhetoric is. It's a game the media plays over and over again whether it's Beck or Limbaugh or any of the rest of the flame throwers on the right and I am frankly finding it quite tiresome. It's turning politics into a game or a sport instead of something that has a real affect on people's lives.

And as is usually the case, the cable news talking head -- and you can insert about any name here, pick one... Matthews, Blitzer, King, Crowley, Schieffer, Gregory, etc.-- doesn't represent the hateful rhetoric for what is when asking the question. While Matthews does show some scorn Beck's commentary and to be honest, there are a lot more worse examples out there of this sort of thing that I could have chosen, but the fact is instead calling Beck out himself for how dangerous this sort of talk is, which gets worse from Beck day after day, Matthews is asking the Senator what she thinks of it and asking her to respond to bat-shit crazy rhetoric. That looks to me more like caring about a sound byte than actually informing your audience of how dangerous Glenn Beck is and doing nothing but helping to mainstream his hate talk.

Steve Benen brought up some similar points in regard to President Obama's interview with George Stephanopoulos and his being asked to respond to Sarah Palin attacking him for signing the arms treaty with Russia.

WRONG QUESTION, RIGHT ANSWER.... President Obama sat down with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos for an exclusive interview in Prague yesterday, on the heels of the president signing in a new arms treaty with Russia. The interview, portions of which were aired this morning on "Good Morning America," covered quite a bit of ground, and the transcript is well worth reading for thoughts on Iran, among other things.

There was, however, one exchange that stood out for me. [...]

Why on earth would anyone give a damn what the clownish Sarah Palin thinks about arms control?

Which leads to the larger point: why is George Stephanopoulos using an idiotic quote from a dimwitted former half-term governor of a small state as the basis for a question to the president?

In effect, the "GMA" host was saying, "Some conspicuously unintelligent right-wing media personality said something stupid about a subject she knows nothing about. Mr. President, how do you respond?"

Here's a thought: why should he be expected to respond? When doing an interview after a key development on international affairs, why not stick to the perspectives of grown-ups?

Steve later updated his post and noted this in regard to Palin.

Greg Sargent found this persuasive, arguing that Palin's "views do, in fact, matter." Glenn Greenwald agreed.

It's a fair point. Palin is a national embarrassment, but she's been a candidate for national office and, regardless of merit, she's likely to be a presidential contender in the next election.

For what it's worth, though, I continue to think the question was a mistake. Whatever one thinks of Palin, the quote Stephanopoulos read to the president was, at best, inane. No matter how big Palin's right-wing following, or how serious her ambitions, there's simply no honest or intellectually serious way to suggest she knows anything about this subject.

You cannot say the same for rodeo clown Glenn Beck or hate monger Rush Limbaugh. I'd love to see some of the other cable news pundits asked to respond in the same manner Stephanopoulos was on the Palin interview about their elevation of Beck and Limbaugh and any of these other right wing hate mongers. Somehow, I doubt we'll ever see as timely a response as Sam Stein got from Stephanopoulos if any. They're all about ratings even if it means destroying our democracy in the process.

Transcript of the Matthews interview via Lexis Nexis.

MATTHEWS: Let`s go now to Amy Klobuchar. She`s a member of the United States Senate, of course, and a member of the Judiciary Committee, and she`s represents the state of Minnesota.

It`s so great to have you on, and I have to start with this question. Do you believe that, given the politics right now, the president has a free hand? He`s named a woman who comes from an Hispanic background, a poor person`s background, and in many ways, that meets a lot of the standards Democrats like to meet in terms of representative people. But here`s a -- I think it`s a fairly rotten comment here by Glenn Beck about that kind of, if you want to call it ticket balancing or constituency mending -- here he is talking about in a very nasty way. Let`s listen.


GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I mean, if he`s smart, he will find a gay, handicapped, black woman who`s an immigrant. That`s what -- because that way, he can just say when -- I mean, she could be the devil. She could say, I hate America, I want to destroy America. And that way, they`ll only be able to say, Well, why do you hate gay, immigrant, black handicapped women?


MATTHEWS: You know, Senator, isn`t it amazing how you can make a good living talking like a guy on the commuter train after three drinks?

MATTHEWS: No, seriously. That`s not exactly -- that`s the kind of stuff I heard growing up. You know -- you know, that kind of stuff is so uninspiring...


MATTHEWS: ... and yet I guess it has an audience. Your thoughts.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, it wasn`t just what you heard growing up. This is what Glenn Beck said during Sotomayor. I mean, he was saying the same kind of stuff, attacking her, attacking her qualifications, when she was number one in her class, when she had done so well throughout her career, you know, calling her emotional, all of these things, and it got out there. But in the end, you heard people like Lindsey Graham voting for her, saying, you know, maybe he wouldn`t have picked her, but she was clearly qualified and he was proud to vote for her. So in the end, she got confirmed.

I think the hearings, while they were difficult at times, they were fair, and that`s what we want to see again. And all this garbage and all of these kinds of comments -- what really matters is that the president puts someone on there that`s qualified, someone who has, as he has said, a record of excellence, someone who is an independent thinker. That`s what`s going to matter.

MATTHEWS: You have to wonder, by the way, before we get off that commentary, what`s to be laughed at, to be mocked about a person who`s handicapped in any way, a person who`s black, a person who is an immigrant. What is chuckle -- what`s the chuckle-able part of that, the laughable part that he finds so much fun? Except he`s playing to people that who problem don`t like any of these people. Just a guess.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think Rush Limbaugh learned what happened when he did that with Michael J. Fox. So you know...


KLOBUCHAR: ... people can laugh at people. They can do whatever they want on these shows, but in the end, the American people know you want someone that`s qualified, no matter what their background is. And I think that`s what the president said. He stands for that, and people know that he`ll pick someone that`s qualified.

MATTHEWS: Senator, the good news about that is it helped Claire McCaskill raise some money from out of state. That was one good...

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, I remember that, over a million dollars, I think.

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