MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Wednesday questioned the patriotism of Rupert Murdoch, wondering of the media mogul is a "true American."
Talking to Judd Legum of the liberal Center for American Progress, the Hardball anchor, derided, "Did [Murdoch] become a citizen just like somebody marries somebody to get into the country because they want a job or because he discovered some love of America? Is he a true American or is he an Australian?"
Viewers will remember a furious Matthews denouncing Michele Bachmann in 2008 for her questions about people who have "pro" or "anti-American views."
[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Matthews was speculating on the details of how Murdoch became an American citizen, something that occurred in 1985 as he looked to acquire several TV stations.
But, this is the same host who, for nearly three years, has been excoriating Representative Bachmann after an October 17, 2008 appearance in which she called for an investigation to find out which members of Congress "are pro-America or anti-America."
The liberal anchor has endlessly replayed that clip and compared Bachmann to Joe McCarthy. He isn't calling for such an investigation into Murdoch, is he?
On the same show, Matthews assumed guilt over innocence, suggesting that the phone hacking allegations for Murdoch's British newspapers may have also happened here.
Questioning Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine, he hyped, "If it can be determined that Murdoch's people did here what they did there, gone in and hacked into people's e-mail, into people's telephone lines to find out information about the victims, victims of 9/11, how hot is that?"
After Sherman cautioned there was no such evidence, Matthews added, "Why would it not happen over here? It happened in Britain."
A transcript of the two July 13 exchanges can be found below:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: The investigation that's going on right now, Peter King is a red-hot, going-after kind of guy, especially New York stuff involving the victims of 9/11. If it can be determined that Murdoch's people did here what they did there, gone in and hacked into people's e-mail, into people's telephone lines to find out information about the victims, victims of 9/11, how hot is that?
GABRIEL SHERMAN (New York Magazine): Well, Gosh, Chris, I mean, that is the, you know, that is the big elephant in the room. But I think it's important to point out that there's no evidence, thus far, that any of that hacking activity has occurred stateside.
MATTHEWS: Why would it not happen over here? It happened in Britain.
SHERMAN: Well, that's a great question and obviously the folks in Washington are going to try to find out, but it's just important to point out that we have no evidence that it happened here. But the fact that it took place in Britain raises a lot of questions. It's a relevant question to be asking.
MATTHEWS: I was always fascinated by the speed, you might call it the fast tracking of this guy's American citizenship. We argue about immigration all the time in this country. I know people have become Americans. It's a wonderful thing when you do it. This guy did it in about 15 minutes. Who helped him? How's this happen? How does he get these licenses that you can only get if you're an American citizen? Who's helping him here?
JUDD LEGUM (Center for American Progress): Well, it was very unusual circumstances, because it was in 1985, when he wanted to buy a whole host of television stations and you needed to be an American citizen to get it.
MATTHEWS: So, presto.
LEGUM: That's what he announced it. And he actually got the regulatory approval from the FCC prior to even getting ahead a citizenship.
MATTHEWS: Did he become a citizen just like somebody marries somebody to get into the country because they want a job or because he discovered some love of America? Is he a true American or is he an Australian?
LEGUM: Well, he had been living here for many years happy to still be an Australian citizen then he wanted to buy these television stations. The only way he was going to do it was to become a citizen.
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