Matthews Falsely Accuses Sen. Coburn of Making Racist Remark About Obama

As NewsBusters previously reported, Chris Matthews on Tuesday likened Texas governor Rick Perry to segregationist Bull Connor.

Two days later, the "Hardball" host falsely accused Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.) of making a racist remark about President Obama (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS MATTHEWS: But the crazy talk continues. Another personal attack on President Obama's background, this one coming from Republican Sen. Tom Coburn. At an event in his home state of Oklahoma yesterday afternoon, an audience member asked the senator whether he felt that President Obama wanted to destroy America.

Well Coburn used the opportunity to criticize the President's political philosophy as quote "goofy and wrong," and said that quote, "[His] intent is not to destroy, his intent is to create dependency because it worked so well for him."

The screen cap aired showed that this quote came from Tulsa World which depicted this incident far differently:

Earlier, in Langley, Coburn partially deflected criticism of President Barack Obama - and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke - by blaming the country's financial woes on Congress. [...]

Responding to a man in Langley who asked if Obama "wants to destroy America," Coburn said the president is "very bright" and loves his country but has a political philosophy that is "goofy and wrong."

Here's how Bloomberg reported this same encounter:

Coburn offered a defense of the president when a voter asked the lawmaker whether Obama wants to destroy the country. Obama and Coburn have publicly called each other friends from their days as Senate colleagues.

So, Coburn "deflected criticism of President Barack Obama," "said the president is 'very bright' and loves his country," and "offered a defense of the president."

That's a far cry from Matthews' assertion, "Coburn used the opportunity to criticize the President's political philosophy." And he wasn't done:

MATTHEWS: And what does that mean? Well, Coburn went on to say that President Obama pushes government run programs because quote, "As an African American male, [Obama] received tremendous advantage from a lot of these programs."

Well, Sen. Coburn, you now join the ranks of other Republicans who have sunk to the level of condoning ethnic jibes at the President. Nothing to be proud of here, and I am surprised at you, Senator. I thought you're better than this one.

Aside from Tulsa World and Bloomberg, the perilously liberal Greg Sargent at the Washington Post also saw this differently:

Senator Tom Coburn is getting widely pilloried this morning over a report in the Tulsa World claiming that Coburn said Obama wants to “create dependency” because it “worked so well for him” as an “African American male.”

Unlike Matthews, Sargent contacted Tulsa World to get the full transcript of this encounter. As you can see, it was not nearly as inflammatory as the "Hardball" host made out:

Asked if he thinks Obama’s policies show he wants to destroy the country, Coburn said:

“No, I don’t... He’s a very bright man. But think about his life. And think about what he was exposed to and what he saw in America. He’s only relating what his experience in life was...

“His intent isn’t to destroy. It’s to create dependency because it worked so well for him. I don’t say that critically. Look at people for what they are. Don’t assume ulterior motives. I don’t think he doesn’t love our country. I think he does.

“As an African American male, coming through the progress of everything he experienced, he got tremendous benefit through a lot of these programs. So he believes in them. I just don’t believe they work overall and in the long run they don’t help our country. But he doesn’t know that because his life experience is something different. So it’s very important not to get mad at the man. And I understand, his philosophy — there’s nothing wrong with his philosophy other than it’s goofy and wrong [laughter] — but that doesn’t make him a bad person.”

From this, Sargent concluded:

I think what Coburn means here is that African Americans are more likely to need such programs than whites are, and by his own lights, Coburn actually thinks he’s being charitable to Obama here. He’s essentially saying that Obama’s life experience quite naturally dictated that he would view the safety net as a good thing, because it helped poor African Americans.

By no means the "ethnic jibe" Matthews claimed.

Sadly, this was just one of many false charges of racism leveled against Republicans by MSNBC commentators this week.

Apart from the previously referenced "Bull Connor" remark by Matthews, his colleague Ed Schultz was caught deceptively editing a Rick Perry speech in order to falsely accuse the Texas governor of making a racist comment about Obama.

This nonsense was repeated by other MSNBC personalities including Al Sharpton.

As NewsBusters has been reporting, this is now standard operating procedure at this disgrace of a so-called "news network".

It's quite frightening to imagine how much lower these folks will go once we get into the heart of the upcoming presidential campaign next year and their raison d'etre is to get Obama reelected at all costs.

I can't wait.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.