MSNBC Savaged Thatcher When She Died, But Now Matthews Insists It’s ‘Not Nice’ to Attack Dead Leaders

An indignant Chris Matthews on Monday took internet attacks on the late Nelson Mandela, allegedly from conservative commenters, and slammed the right for a lack of respect towards the South African leader: “Don’t they know that it’s not nice to make fun of a person so recently deceased, much less the world’s most honored champion of human freedom?”

Yet, how did the journalists at MSNBC and NBC respond to the death of Margaret Thatcher, someone who championed freedom in the struggle against communism? On the day she died, Richard Wolffe, a regular on Matthews’s show and network, seethed, “She had an attitude to her domestic enemies that frankly was the antithesis of freedom.”  Another Matthews colleague, Brian Williams offered up an even more vicious attack.

In the days leading up to Thatcher’s funeral, Williams lectured that it was “sad but necessary” to report that those who hated the former leader were celebrating her death by playing “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead.”

To quote Matthews, don’t NBC and MSNBC journalist know “it’s not nice to make fun of a person so recently deceased, much less the world’s most honored champion of human freedom"?

The Hardball host on Monday introduced the segment by trying to connect conservatives to internet postings:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: And Ted Cruz received similar fair after paying respects to Mandela on his Facebook page. Cruz said, quote, "Nelson Mandela will live in history as an inspiration for defenders of liberty around the globe. He stood firm for decades on the principle that until all South Africans enjoyed equal liberties, he would not leave prison himself. Well, because of his epic fight against injustice, an entire nation is now free." Well, one comment to Cruz read, quote, "Ted, long before you were born his reputation was the complete opposite. He was, in fact, a terrorist and a criminal. He persecuted and killed Zulus. All that apartheid B.S. you hear in today’s media is all lies."

By this standard, Matthews and Democrats are responsible for every extreme utterance on Daily Kos?

A partial transcript of the December 9 segment is below:


CHRIS MATTHEWS:  And Ted Cruz received similar fair after paying respects to Mandela on his Facebook page. Cruz said, quote, "Nelson Mandela will live in history as an inspiration for defenders of liberty around the globe. He stood firm for decades on the principle that until all South Africans enjoyed equal liberties, he would not leave prison himself. Well, because of his epic fight against injustice, an entire nation is now free." Well, one comment to Cruz read, quote, "Ted, long before you were born his reputation was the complete opposite. He was, in fact, a terrorist and a criminal. He persecuted and killed Zulus. All that apartheid B.S. you hear in today’s media is all lies."

MATTHEWS: "Let Me Finish" tonight with this. Don’t you love it? The past few days have shown once again the true nature of some of those on the country’s right. Listen to them out there attacking people like Ted Cruz and Newt Gingrich for daring to say nice things about Nelson Mandela. Don’t these people know that you’re not supposed to sound like a racist? Don’t they know that it’s not nice to make fun of a person so recently deceased, much less the world’s most honored champion of human freedom? Glorified terrorists, commie murderer, Marxist -- I wonder how many of these unnamed people preferred the white, racist government that preceded Mandela’s election. Does one of them really believe that apartheid is a lie cooked up by the media? Well, the weird product of this moment is to see the wild right is so wild that not even Ted Cruz can keep the dirt ball under control.

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