Obama Losing Chris Matthews? Host Rails Against 'Profiling' By IRS: It's Like Targeting Innocent Arabs

 

If Barack Obama is losing Chris Matthews, he might be in serious trouble. The MSNBC host on Wednesday declared that the Tea Party is the victim of "profiling" by the Internal Revenue Service that is on the level of targeting innocent Muslims as terrorists. On the subject of former IRS official Lois Lerner pleading the Fifth, Matthews wondered, "Why, if you have nothing to hide and you're a truth teller and you're of sound mind, and she seems to be, why doesn't she sit in that witness stand and answer truthfully?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

The bewildered host continued, "Why wouldn't she want to clear her reputation today?" Matthews even went so far as to compare the attack on conservatives to racial profiling: "I go to the airport and I'm running TSA. Instead of deciding based upon people's movements around the world that might be suspicious, going to countries that cause us trouble, I just look for everybody that looks Arab and I put them in one line. The American people would say that's outrageous."

Earlier, he declared, "[The IRS scandal is] like profiling."

A partial transcript of the May 22 segment is below:


5:19

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I'm just going to play average citizen here and you can be the sophisticate from the government– the former government. Why, if you have nothing to hide and you're a truth teller and you're of sound mind, and she seems to be, why doesn't she sit in that witness stand and answer truthfully? What's she got to be afraid of?

MARCUS OWENS (Fmr. IRS director): Well, what she has to be afraid of is people distorting words and the process of an investigation. There undoubtedly will be a criminal investigation. Department of Justice has said they're going to be going in. So everyone has to be careful about what they say publicly.

MATTHEWS: Why wouldn't she want to clear her reputation today?

OWENS: I'm certain she does. But today, in the circus-like atmosphere of a congressional hearing, is not the place you clear your name and not the place that you can take a position that could keep you in jail or keep you out of jail.

...

MATTHEWS: Now, what would cause a member of the IRS to say, you know what? I've got to figure out– I've got thousands of applications for tax exempt status by these groups that claim to be public welfare, whatever, social welfare organizations. A lot of them have political sounding names. Why don't I just go through the list that says, well, Tea Party, that's a shorter way to do it. It's like profiling.

....

MATTHEWS: So is this like-- I go to the airport and I'm running TSA. Instead of deciding based upon people's movements around the world that might be suspicious, going to countries that cause us trouble, I just look for everybody that looks Arab and I put them in one line. The American people would say that's outrageous.

OWENS: That's a problem.

MATTHEWS: And that's what this is like.

OWENS: Well, in a sense. What the criteria should have been are things like whether the organization was formed within, say, a year of an election. These things spring up like mushrooms in anticipation of election.

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