Chris Matthews on Thursday actually showed a graphic image of the Capitol building with a red target on it and crosshairs in the foreground.
This hypocritically occurred moments before a lengthy segment on "Hardball" about violent rhetoric wherein he complained about "over-the-top references to guns all the time by people like Sarah Palin" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Leading off tonight: Words and actions. Are people affected by what they hear? If not, why do people speak? If the messages people get day after day have no effect on their behavior, why do big corporations spend millions on advertising? Why do politicians? Does the daily climate of attack, the constant torrent of angry attack and questioning of loyalty, of legitimacy, of Americanness, stir people up? Does it trigger the zealots, the unstable, those who are a bit of both?
The politically correct judgment is that we can`t blame anyone for what we`ve seen recently, that words don`t matter in this discussion of people`s violent actions. But do we really believe words don`t matter, that they don`t incite, that they don`t cause trouble? Do we really believe you can say anything you want about someone and not expose them to the actions of a zealot or a nut?
Michael Hirsh has written in a cover article in "The National Journal" that no assassin is an island. The history of this country has proven that turbulent political times have often given way to political violence. And it doesn`t just happen once. Look at the 1960s -- JFK, Dr. King, RFK, Malcolm X. So is it time for politicians to rethink how they talk about their opponents in public? Is it time to do away with the killing metaphors and gun talk? That`s our top story tonight.
As Matthews said this, the following image was displayed on the screen:
Less than two minutes later, Matthews began a segment on how violent rhetoric can lead to criminal acts against our leaders:
MATTHEWS: Let`s start with the connection between political rhetoric and violence. And with us is Michael Hirsh of "The National Journal." He wrote this week`s cover story, "Why political violence erupts in times of political division." And former mayor Willie Brown, of course, of San Francisco, the former Speaker of the California Assembly.
Let`s start with Michael Hirsh and your view. Give me your sense here of the connection here between this wild talk from the birthers about the president not being one of us, not being American, the very, I would argue, over-the-top references to guns all the time by people like Sarah Palin. What`s the connection between talk of guns, talk of hatred of government, and action with guns against government?
Are Matthews and his producers oblivious to the hypocrisy here?
For approaching two weeks since the shootings in Tucson, the "Hardball" host and the rest of his colleagues at MSNBC have been pointing fingers at the Right claiming their use of violent rhetoric and imagery are hazardous to the health of members of the government and therefore should be immediately stopped.
Yet here was Matthews presenting an image of a target on the Capitol building, with crosshairs in the foreground, just twelve days after a Congresswoman was shot.
Either Matthews and Company are staggeringly stupid, or it is clear that all this hand-wringing about rhetoric and imagery has nothing to do with preventing violence against elected officials.
Instead, it is most obviously another attempt by media to demonize and silence conservatives.
Are there any other possible answers to this graphic being shown twelve days after the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords?
(Very grateful hat-tip to the good folks at Hot Air Pundit)