Monday, July 31, 2006

Open Letter to Chris Matthews

Trying to figure out what Chris Matthews really believes can be a full-time job.

On MSNBC's Hardball, he tacks to the right. More often than not, the far right. On Leno, he's almost a liberal. And on his 30-minute Sunday morning show on NBC, he's moderately-Republican, Hardball-lite. Lite-rightwing and lite-mind. But no matter where he's speaking, Matthews is always working one angle, and it's not maintaining journalistic integrity by giving the public the best news and information. Matthews is committed only to keeping his job, no matter how much he has to whore himself.

On Sunday, July 30, 2006, Chris Matthews ended his Sunday morning program [on video] with this commentary:
MATTHEWS: Two years ago, King Abdullah of Jordan warned me of what was coming in the mideast. His prediction was dead on. He spoke of his fears and what the United States was doing in iraq, toppling one government, electing another, was creating what he called a shi’ia crescent, from Tehran through Baghdad to Beirut that threatened to dominate the Arab world, challenging modern Sunni governments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and others with an axis of Shia power based in Iran.

When I look at the map today, that Shia crescent the King foretold has come to light.

It is hard for us westerners to understand the internal politics of another region when we can’t predict whether the Democrats will take congress from the Republicans three months from now, how could we see the Shi’ia grabbing the high ground from the Sunni in the mideast three years ago? That’s what happened. We converted Iraq from a country which has fought revolutionary Iran for eight years to a bloody stand still to a Shia dominated ally of Iran and created a boulevard of common religion and common regional politics.

Did you hear the new Iraqi leader take sides with Hezbollah in a struggle with Israel? This is the emerging threat, not just to the moderate Sunni countries including Egypt and Jordan who formed and honored treaties to Israel and us. Our brave soldiers have fought, died and been dismembered in Iraq only to connect the disparate pieces of Shi’ia radicalism into a frankenstein monster that has come to life right there on our TV screens and worse yet in the vicarious mideast where young arabs found a hero named Hezbollah.

In the days leading up to the war in Iraq, Chris Matthews was cautiously vociferous against Bush taking the U.S. to war. Just one month before the war began, MSNBC fired Phil Donahue (who had the best ratings out of all of MSNBC's line-up) because of his outspoken opposition to the looming carnage.

The only anti-war opinion we heard out of Matthews after Donahue was fired was in softball interviews that he conducted with pro-war advocates where Matthews would cite someone else's anti-war quotes and ask for a comment. Like in this interview with John McCain on March 12, 2003, just days before Bush began the attack on Iraq:
MATTHEWS: In the "New York Times" this Sunday, former President Jimmy Carter questioned the moral justification for a war in Iraq. Here's what the president wrote.

Quote -- "As a Christian and as a president who was severely provoked by international crises, I became thoroughly familiar with the principles of a just war and it is clear that a substantially unilateral attack on Iraq does not meet these standards."

In today's "New York Times", Senator John McCain of Arizona issued a sharp rebuttal. He wrote - quote - "Our armed forces will fight for peace in Iraq, a peace built on more secure foundations than are found today in the Middle East. Even more important, they will fight for two human conditions of even greater value than peace: liberty and justice."

Senator McCain joins us now. Tell us a little bit more for the people that don't read "The New York Times" either Jimmy Carter's or your -- what's the bottom line difference between you and him on this war on the moral question?

Before Matthews ventured any opinions again on the war, he spent months dancing with GOP spokesmen on his show about people being able to criticize a President's policies without being labeled "a traitor" and "unpatriotic."

So when Chris Matthews says, "It is hard for us westerners to understand the internal politics of another region when we can’t predict whether the Democrats will take congress from the Republicans three months from now, how could we see the Shi’ia grabbing the high ground from the Sunni in the mideast three years ago?", I, in astonishment, have two things to say:

1.) The outcome of the November elections can't be predicted because it will depend on whether Democrats will allow Republicans to steal another one. There is no question at all that more voters will cast legal, but uncounted ballots for Democratic candidates. The X-factor is whether Democrats will allow its' voters to be disenfranchised, provisional ballots to go uncounted, too few voting machines (and bad ones, hacked) to be placed in Democratic strongholds, etc., as has happened the last two election cycles, at least.

2.) If Matthews had spoken with anyone other than GOP stooges intent upon going to war, or if he had done the barest of journalistic research, he would know that if the people in Iraq could vote, like in a democracy, they would most likely elect a Shi'ia government. Because more of them are Shi'a - population of Iraq is 2/3's Shi'a to 1/3 Sunni. [In Iran, it's 89% Shi'a and 9% Sunni. The population in Lebanon is 95% Arab and the religious mix is Muslim 59.7% (Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri), Christian 39% (Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Chaldean, Assyrian, Copt, Protestant). The U.S./Israel siege on Lebanon is succeeding in driving the Lebanese people to the side of Hezbollah.]

Or was Matthews counting on the CIA doing what they do best (fixing the elections in other countries) in Iraq?

The best that can be said of Chris Matthews is that he's an excellent representative of today's mainstream American journalism. All that is wrong with it.

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