Just how far is MSNBC's Chris Matthews willing to go to shield President Obama from criticism this election year?
On Monday's Hardball, the host defended Koran burnings saying, "In Western religions when you have a religious article, the proper way of disposing it is burning it. So it's not a desecration...An American would never burn something to desecrate it. That would be a way of treating a holy object" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: But why are they running around the streets going nuts? Don’t they have places they have to be? Don’t they have something else to do? I’m serious about this. They have devoted their entire beings now to going nuts against us because of what a couple of guys did either intentionally for some reason that may have been justified or unintentionally.
By the way, in Western religions when you have a religious article, the proper way of disposing it is burning it. So it is not a desecration. So it’s their interpretation of what they see as a desecration. We don’t look it at that way. An American would never burn something to desecrate it. That would be a way of treating a holy object. That is the appropriate way to do it.
So I don’t, this whole thing looks like they just don’t like us, they don’t like the West, they think we’re still the Soviets, and we’re never going to be their friends.
First off, when America-haters burn the flag, they are not treating it as a holy object. I guess in his zeal to protect the President he adores, Matthews didn't consider this.
Taking this further, the entire premise was flawed.
From what I have found in my research, it is really only Roman Catholics that suggest the burning of old, worn out Bibles. Most other Christian denominations don't have such a requirement nor do Jews with the Torah.
But Matthews wasn't finished:
MATTHEWS: Look at these multitude of people here, raising their arms, yelling and screaming like nothing else matters to them on this planet except that we burned their holy book. Nothing’s as important to these people as this fact – not that they’re fighting the Taliban, not that al Qaeda’s waiting to come back in, not that they’re facing Sharia law.
It really was fascinating to watch Matthews get so worked up about Muslims reacting this way to Korans being burned.
After all, when Florida pastor Terry Jones has threatened this in the past, the Hardball host was beside himself with anger.
Here's Matthews on September 9, 2010:
MATTHEWS: Leading off tonight: Who'll stop the fire? What can the president do to stop the minister, the pastor down in Georgia -- or actually, Florida -- from burning Korans on worldwide television? How do you stop the wildfire that this could ignite globally?...Let's start with whether President Obama needs to get involved and stop the pastor from what he's up to down in Florida.
Matthews had interviewed Jones a few weeks earlier begging him not to burn Korans on the anniversary of 9/11:
MATTHEWS: Now to Pastor Terry Jones, who's planning to commemorate 9/11 by burning Q'urans. He joins us from Florida via Skape -- Skype, rather. Reverend Jones, Pastor Jones, is there anybody in America you respect enough that if they made a phone call to you, you`d decide not to burn the Q'`urans on 9/11? Is there anybody you respect enough that if they got on the phone with you or visited with you, sir, and spoke with you, that you would change your mind? Because I think it`s a terrible idea. But your reaction to that question?
TERRY JONES, PASTOR, DOVE WORLD OUTREACH CENTER: No, there's not.
MATTHEWS: So who do you respect in America, public life?
JONES: Well, I respect politicians who --
MATTHEWS: No, give me a name, sir. Give me a name of person in American life, public life, that you respect. Or are you completely against what`s going on in America, period? Do you have anybody that you look up to as something like a hero today, anyone in America? We have almost 300 million people. Do you like or respect anyone, sir?
JONES: I guess so. I guess our --
MATTHEWS: Enough to listen to them?
JONES: -- ex-president, President Bush.
MATTHEWS: President George W. Bush. If George W. Bush, the former president, were to call you up now or visit with you and say, I think this is going to cause trouble in the Arab and Islamic world, I will not -- I really think you shouldn't be burning Q'urans in public on that day, it`s their holy book, would you not do it?
So, in 2010 when Jones was threatening to burn Korans to commemorate 9/11, Matthews was completely against it realizing "this is going to cause trouble in the Arab and Islamic world."
He later reiterated, "Even if George W. Bush were to call you up, Pastor Jones, and urge you not to commit this action, which will be televised worldwide, and could cause trouble and even death, you would continue ahead with your plan to do this?"
But eighteen months later when members of the American military burned Korans bringing criticism to Obama, Matthews wondered, "Why are [Afghanis] running around the streets going nuts? Don’t they have places they have to be? Don’t they have something else to do?"
Not only that, the Hardball host erroneously claimed, "In Western religions when you have a religious article, the proper way of disposing it is burning it. So it is not a desecration."
And he's got TWO nationally televised programs to spew such propaganda.