Monday, August 17, 2009

MSNBC Wants You... To Be Scared Shitless

John Acton once famously remarked that "power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

As one apprises the state of the American left-leaning media, the former part of this maxim becomes almost immediately apparent.

Once upon a time, the American left-wing derided the excesses of FOX News and other right-leaning media outlets. They were (often quite rightly) accused of being toadies for the governing Republican party, fear mongering, and otherwise helping to steamroll political dissent.

A recent segment from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow show serves as a perfect example, wherein Maddow seeks to stir up fear of anti-health care reform protesters by comparing them to anti-abortion terrorists.

In an interview with Dr George Hearn -- who himself has had many threats made against his life -- Maddow attempts to conflate as closely as possible those who are protesting health care reform with violent anti-abortion zealots.

Appearing on the show, Hearn offers a very illustrative account of how he sees the abortion debate and how it turned to violent. It's clearly his view -- for example, he insists the anti-abortion movement of becoming more and more "harsh and aggressive in their rhetoric" (they have), but declines to note that the pro-abortion movement has become more and more harsh and aggressive in its rhetoric, to the extent that applaud and celebrate acts of violence against anti-abortion activists.

Hearn and Maddow insist that violence perpetrated against anti-abortion extremists sets a trend toward political violence that will spill over into the health care debate. Yet neither of them provide any substantive examples of the health care debate moving in this direction.

Not that there hasn't been any cause for concern. The presence of two gun-toting individuals at Barack Obama's health care town hall meeting in New Hampshire last week is clearly an eye-opener.

But on his own show, Hardball, Chris Matthews clearly put on his Bill O'Reilly hat before hosting William Kostric, interrupting him numerous times, and bombarding him with numerous irrelevant questions.

"Who did you vote for last November?"

"What do you think of President Obama?"

"Do you have any problems with his legitimacy as President?"

"You're not part of the birther movement or anything like that?"

"Where are you on the issue of whether he's a legitimate President of the United States?"

"You're not making any claim that he's not a citizen?"

Kostric clearly is not the sharpest individual, as only an idiot would bring a gun to meeting where any international leader. But for Matthews to work as hard as he did attempting to portray Kostric as an erstwhile assassin just shows how far left-leaning media outlets like MSNBC are willing to in order to use fear tactics to marginalize the opponents of health care reform.

Certainly, there has been a lot of inflammatory nonsense peddled under the guise of legitimate dissent on this issue. Sarah Palin's recent self-humiliation is a perfect example of this.

But setting up a universal health care system is a costly proposition, regardless of what model the United States elects to follow. Individuals like Kostric have every reason to be concerned. The efforts of individuals like Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow splendidly illustrate precisely how far they're willing to go in order to terrify people from their bully pulpit.

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