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Chris Matthews and America's "Inability" to Connect with the Muslim World

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Submitted by gary fouse (United States), Aug 16, 2007 at 23:30

Chris Matthews and America's Inability to Connect with the Muslim World

As a political talk-show junkie, I have to admit that, even though I am a conservative, I used to like Chris Matthews, the host of Hardball on MSNBC. I knew he was a Massachusetts Democrat who had gotten his start in politics working for "Tipp" O"Neill. Yet, on the (relatively few) occasions I watched him on TV, he seemed unafraid to criticize the Democrats when criticism was due. He also seemed to be able to ask hard questions to Democrats as well as Republicans. That earned him my grudging respect.

Recently, however, on the (few) occasions I have observed him, Matthews seems to take a more partison line. Maybe it was the moment in the 2006 mid-term election night coverage, when he was caught on mike openly cheering the announcement of yet another Democratic candidate unseating a Republican incumbant. Maybe it was his comment this week reporting the resignation of Karl Rove by referring to him as "this bum". Then, this morning, while I was driving to work and listening to my usual "hate radio" shows (as liberals call them), I caught Dennis Prager's anaysis of Matthews' interview with a biographer of Barack Obama. During this interview, Matthews (in a segment played by Prager) rhetorically asked the writer if Obama's experience of having lived in a Muslim country (Indonesia) between the ages of 6-10 might have provided him with an insight into the Muslim world that other presidential candidates might lack. (In his question, Matthews explicitly stated that this was his own viewpoint.) Matthews went on to refer to the inability of the US, in his mind, to connect to the Islamic World (I am paraphrasing.)

Aside from the fact that Matthews has allowed his personal opinions to get in the way of his reporting, Prager raised a poignant point. Prager's question was why the US was perceived, in Matthews' mind, to be unable to connect to the Islamic World. Prager first raised the question of what had the US done to Muslims to bring about 9-11 (nothing).

Next, and more importantly, Prager reminded his audience of all the conflicts around the world between Muslims and other groups and religions. In the Middle East for example, Muslims are in conflict against Jews. In the West, they are in conflict against Christianity. In Asia, in southern Thailand, for example, they are in conflict against Buddists, or in the Philippines against Catholics. In India, Muslims are in conflict against Hindus. It seems that everywhere one finds large Muslim populations, there is conflict against non-Muslims. This begs the question: Who are the troublemakers here?

Of course, there are many in the West who would argue that it is we who have done something wrong to anger the Muslim world. However, when one looks at the track record all over the world, how do you make the case that the whole world is picking on Islam? Are Filopino Catholics conducting an insurgency in that nation? Are Thai Buddists conducting an insurgency there? No.

To be fair, Matthews and his Democrat allies are not the only offenders. One of the Republican candidates for president, Ron Paul, blames our own nation for making Muslims hate us. There seems to be a large contingent of Westerners who are ready to prostrate themselves and grant any and all concessions to radical Muslims, if only they will stop trying to kill us.

In my view, Americans and the West need to stop being apologetic about who we are and the kind of civilization we have created. The same goes for the Far East. We owe nothing to our minority Muslim populations other than the opportunity to live among us free of discrimination and free to practice their own religion. That we have done a pretty good job of doing. We do not owe them any form of surrender.

As for Matthews, I think he needs to do a little self-examination as to his objective reporting (or lack thereof). If he wants to advance his personal agenda, he should declare himself the liberal answer to Rush Limbaugh and join Air America (if they are still around.) Then again, he could just stay at MSNBC. It's the same thing.

gary fouse

fousesquawk

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