Joe Klein & Matthews Link Anti-Muslim ‘Attitude’ to ‘Deranged Muslim’ Violence, Small-Town Whites Miss ‘Ethnic Purity’ of Past

On Sunday’s syndicated Chris Matthews show, during a discussion of a poll reporting that a majority of self-described Republicans expressed a negative view of Islam, as Time magazine’s Joe Klein recounted incidents of recent violence in America by Muslim extremists, host Matthews asked if "this [anti-Muslim] attitude against them" was to blame for "stirring them up," leading Klein to agree that anti-Muslim attitudes played a role:

JOE KLEIN, TIME MAGAZINE: You’ve had over the last year, two or three major incidents of deranged Muslims, the Army doctor down at Fort Hood, the Times Square bomber, who were Americans, American citizens.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: And what’s stirring them up? This attitude against them?

KLEIN: Yeah. But I also think that there’s a small minority of Muslims in the world who believe this extremist philosophy.

After Matthews questioned whether opposition to the Ground Zero mosque and "apocalyptic talk by people like Glenn Beck" exist because the President is black, Klein painted small-town white Americans as resentful that modern America no longer has the "ethnic purity" of the past, with Matthews responding, "Well said.":

KLEIN: A good part of the anxiety that’s going on in small-town white America isn’t just the plain old black and white stuff of the past. It’s the fact that South Asians are moving in and running the local motel or ... there are a lot of Latinos about who are moving into these areas, that their grandchildren are coming out as gay or intermarrying. The purity of, the "ethnic purity," to coin a phrase, that they grew up with no longer exists, and I think that that in addition to the economic – real, real, economic problems...

MATTHEWS: Well said. I think that is the change, the whole change in the world they live in is something.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Sunday, August 29, syndicated Chris Matthews Show:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let’s talk about the mosque in New York. We’ve got a poll out here, an amazing poll that came out this week: 54 percent of Republicans say they have an unfavorable view of Islam – the religion, not Arab politics, not terrorists, no subset, the billion Islamic people in the world, they don’t like. Serious business here.

KATTY KAY, BBC: I think that this has gone beyond the mosque.

MATTHEWS: These are Republicans.

KAY: That this is now, the conversation that has followed the mosque has almost become a bigger problem in and of itself, and the tone of that conversation. One of the advantages that America has always had is that you have one of the most assimilated, moderate Muslim populations in the Western world, and that has played to your advantage. The risk here is that incidents like a taxi driver, a Muslim taxi driver getting stabbed in New York-

MATTHEWS: By a probably deranged person. Let’s be fair.

KAY: It is deranged people in Holland who shoot Muslims, you know, in the streets. That is (INAUDIBLE)

JOE KLEIN, TIME MAGAZINE: Yeah, but there are, but, you know, you’ve had over the last year, two or three major incidents of deranged Muslims, the Army doctor down at Fort Hood, the Times Square bomber, who were Americans, American citizens.

MATTHEWS: And what’s stirring them up?

KLEIN: Well, I think that-

MATTHEWS: This attitude against them?

KLEIN: Yeah. But I also think that there’s a small minority of Muslims in the world who believe this extremist philosophy.

KAY: But the risk for America is if you start putting all of those extremists in with all of Muslims. And that’s what’s being blurred here.

...

MATTHEWS: Is it based on the fact that we have an African-American President? If we had a President-

KLEIN: No.

MATTHEWS: -like Hillary Clinton right now, would we have the same level of apocalyptic talk by people like Glenn Beck, the same attitude towards this mosque which is a couple blocks away from the World Trade Center on a row of buildings?

KLEIN: First of all, we have a mixed race President who has a middle name "Hussein." And a good part of the anxiety that’s going on in small-town white America isn’t just the plain old black and white stuff of the past. It’s the fact that South Asians are moving in and running the local motel or, you know, I don’t want to deal in those sorts of cliches, but there are a lot of Latinos about who are moving into these areas that their grandchildren are coming out as gay or intermarrying. The purity of, the "ethnic purity," to coin a phrase, that they grew up with no longer exists, and I think that that in addition to the economic – real, real, economic problems – (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: Well said. I think that is the change, the whole change in the world they live in is something.