Guilt By Association: Chris Matthews Links Ted Cruz in Story on 'Sandy Hook Truthers'

Chris Matthews on Monday offensively connected Senator Ted Cruz with the actions of disturbed conspiracy theorists who believe the Sandy Hook massacre was a government plot. Talking to Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy, the Hardball host lectured, "While the world has viewed last December's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school as an unspeakable tragedy, some gun rights dead-enders have seen it more as an inconvenient truth."

Matthews began by asking Malloy, "What is it that springs it out of our country's culture that people won't even accept reality in fights like this?" Later in the segment, he played a clip of the "far-right" Cruz battling with Dianne Feinstein last week over gun rights. Matthews snarled, "Well, there you have it. This is the face of the new Republican right." What does the Republican senator from Texas have to do with "Sandy Hook Truthers?" Absolutely nothing. But Matthews wanted to smear Cruz with the association. Ironically, it was the cable anchor who, on February 14, mocked Cruz as the new "Joe McCarthy."

He continued, "They basically are for everyone having a gun whenever they want it. In fact, they encourage you have to a gun."

Malloy, a Democrat, complained, "They have no shame to go back to the McCarthy period and I think Senator Cruz is one of those issues."

If anyone is trying guilt by association, it was Matthews and his guest.

A 2004 Scripps Howard poll found that more than half of Democrats believed George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance, but took no action. Does Matthews think truthers are the face of the Democrat left?

A partial transcript of the March 18 segment follows:


CHRIS MATTHEWS: While the world has viewed last December's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school as an unspeakable tragedy, some gun rights dead-enders have seen it more as an inconvenient truth, an event that could and has prompted calls for new gun laws. Enter the online conspiracy theorists who claim the massacre never happened and it's a government plot to take away guns. Well, the New Yorker magazine this month describes the so-called Sandy Hook truther movement this way. "A loose coalition of online conspiracy theorists claimed that the massacre has never happened. It had been staged. Conspiracy theorists as well as journalists overwhelm the town's clerk's office with so many requests for birth certificates and burial locations that the clerk is now working with state representatives to draft a bill that will limit the public's access to vital records." Well, with me now is a man who knows all the truth up there, Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy. You were so powerful in your feelings and thoughts about this. What is it that springs it out of our country's culture that people won't even accept reality in fights like this?

...

MATTHEWS: During a Senate judiciary hearing on gun control, gun safety, things got pretty heated between freshman Republican Ted Cruz, who's far right on this gun issue. I think he's against any gun control and committee chair, Dianne Feinstein, who's very good on it. Let's watch.

SENATOR TED CRUZ: The question I would pose to the senior senator from California is would she deem it went with the bill of rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we're contemplating doing in the Second Amendment in context of the first or fourth amendment? Namely, would she consider it constitutional for Congress to specify the First Amendment shall apply only to the following books? And shall not apply to the books Congress has deemed outside the protection of the bill of rights.

DIANNE FEINSTEIN: I'm not a sixth grader. Senator, I've been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in. I saw people shot. I've looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I've seen the bullets that implode. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered. It's fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I've been here for a long time. I've passed on a number of bills. I've studied the Constitution myself. I'm reasonably well educated. And I thank you for the lecture.

MATTHEWS: Well, there you have it. This is the face of the new Republican right. They basically are for everyone having a gun whenever they want it. In fact, they encourage you have to a gun.

DANIEL MALLOY: They have no shame to go back to the McCarthy period and I think Senator Cruz is one of those issues.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org