MSNBC's Hayes Frets 'McCarthyism' of FNC's Hannity, Shocked by NYT's Maureen Dowd on Weiner's Wife

On Tuesday's All In show, MSNBC's Chris Hayes recalled that "my mouth opened" and declared that "I could not believe this was in the paper," as he recounted that liberal New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd raised questions about whether former Rep. Anthony Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, has been tolerant of her husband's behavior because of her Muslim upbringing.

Hayes recalled his bafflement during a segment devoted largely to attacking FNC's Sean Hannity and his guests for raising similar questions on his weekend special, Saving America. Notably, Rush Limbaugh was attacked on Monday's PoliticsNation by host Al Sharpton for similarly raising the topic.

On Tuesday's All In, Hayes fretted:

I was not that surprised to hear that on Fox. I was surprised to read this in the New York Times. This is Maureen Dowd this weekend. I'm not exaggerating that my mouth opened. I'm serious. I could not believe this was in the paper.

"When you puzzle over why the elegant Huma Abedin is propping up the eel-like Anthony Weiner, you must remember one thing, Huma was raised in Saudi Arabia where women are treated worse by men than anywhere else on the planet." Strong argument? Weak argument? Linda?

The MSNBC host had introduced the segment with a clip from FNC's Saving America, with host Hannity and panel members expressing concerns about Amedin's family connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. Hayes griped:

That was a clip from Sean Hannity's weekend special, subtly titled, Saving America, by putting as many people on the stage as they can and which his guests repeated baseless claims that Anthony Weiner's wife has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

He saw "McCarthyism" as he added:

That slur against Huma Abedin is of a fairly long vintage, actually. This is the, as far as I can tell, the source of this was a Michele Bachmann rumor that she started. Take a listen to her as she kicks this off. "The Deputy Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin, has three family members, her late father, her mother and her brother, connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. Her position provides her with routine access to [the] secretary and to policy-making." This was just shear, base McCarthyism.

On the Monday's July 29, PoliticsNation, MSNBC's Sharpton had accused Limbaugh of making "vicious attacks" on Weiner's wife after the conservative talk radio host made a similar observation about Amedin's Muslim background:

AL SHARPTON: And then you have Anthony Weiner, who's running for mayor in New York. He's been in the news lately for another twitter scandal. But Limbaugh takes vicious attacks at his wife. Listen to this.

RUSH LIMBAUGH CLIP #1: Huma is a Muslim. In that regard, Weiner ought to be able to get away with anything.

LIMBAUGH CLIP #2: Women, Muslim women don't have any power, right? Muslim women are beheaded, stoned, whatever if they drive, have affairs. In certain countries, Muslim women, if they're raped, are killed. It's their fault.

SHARPTON: So it's not just attack a politician, attack his wife and attack a religion.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, July 30, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

CHRIS HAYES, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK: There is a disturbing new chapter to the Anthony Weiner scandal that does not involve photos or text messages. When we come back, we'll talk about the sudden barrage of attacks on Weiner's wife and the cultural fear behind them.

(..)

BROOKE GOLDSTEIN, DIRECTOR OF THE LAWFARE PROJECT, ON FNC: What is amazing to me is that we are spending time debating Schmeckle-gate, okay, when Huma Abedin, who has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, who was connected to the chief financier of al-Qaeda, is his wife and has top security clearance.

SEAN HANNITY, FNC: That's a great point.

GOLDSTEIN: Why are debating this when this elephant is staring at you.

MONICA CROWLEY, FNC: Yes, actually, what Brooke points to, that is the real Huma Abedin story. It's not about Weiner's wiener. It is about Huma Abedin and her link to Islamic (INAUDIBLE) ...

HAYES: That was a clip from Sean Hannity's weekend special, subtly titled, Saving America, by putting as many people on the stage as they can and which his guests repeated baseless claims that Anthony Weiner's wife has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

(...)

That slur against Huma Abedin is of a fairly long vintage, actually. This is the, as far as I can tell, the source of this was a Michele Bachmann rumor that she started. Take a listen to her as she kicks this off. "The Deputy Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin, has three family members, her late father, her mother and her brother, connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. Her position provides her with routine access to [the] secretary and to policy-making." This was just shear, base McCarthyism.

(...)

HAYES: I was not that surprised to hear that on Fox. I was surprised to read this in the New York Times. This is Maureen Dowd this weekend. I'm not exaggerating that my mouth opened. I'm serious. I could not believe this was in the paper. "When you puzzle over why the elegant Huma Abedin is propping up the eel-like Anthony Weiner, you must remember one thing, Huma was raised in Saudi Arabia where women are treated worse by men than anywhere else on the planet." Strong argument? Weak argument? Linda?

LINDA SARSOUR, ARAB-AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK: Stupid argument. I would say. It's interesting that this is not just, you know, Fox News and it's not just Michele Bachmann. This is an industry in this country that's Islam-o-phobic. I don't know what they want me to think about Huma Abedin. Do you want me to think she's a crazy monster Muslim brotherhood enemy? Or do you want me to think she's a poor, unfortunate oppressed woman.

I mean the Islamaphobes got to get in a room together and get their talking point straight. And I think if you want to talk about the oppressed side, I mean Huma Abedin has one of the most senior positions in the administration with secretary in the state department. She is a woman who made her choice in who she wanted to marry. She married a person not of her faith.

And she is a very elegant woman, and it's not our business why she's staying. And, this is a larger conversation about how we talk about adultery in this country. This is not about Huma Abedin. Let's talk about why Weiner is showing his-