Liberal TV show host? Want to guarantee that the post-Stack finger will be pointed at conservatives? Choose as your sole guest on the subject someone from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center. That's precisely what Chris Matthews did this evening, with utterly predictable results.
Right on script, SPLC director Mark Potok twice associated Austin plane-bomber Andrew Stack with "the radical right."
How consciously did Matthews stack the deck? He described the SPLC as a group "which monitors extremists"—as if the SPLC looks for wackos on the left as well as the right.
MARK POTOK: We know nothing of this man. We did not have him in our files. We found absolutely nothing in the way of real background on the movement or association with any group. But, yeah, as a general matter his ideas seem connected to at least some of the core ideas of the radical right . . . In 1995, not long after the Oklahoma City bombing, a man attempted to blow up what I think is the very same building in Austin, the IRS building in Austin back in '95. In addition there were attempts to blow up IRS buildings by people on the radical right in Michigan and in Las Vegas as well. So this is kind of a traditional target of the radical right.
In his suicide note, Stack took shots at diverse segments of the political spectrum. Among other things, he condemned capitalism, extolled communism and criticized George W. Bush. For Matthews to have chosen—of all people—a hyper-partisan leftist like Potok as his sole guest on the subject this evening reveals that the Hardball host was seeking only to make cheap political hay.