So last night I watched the Chris Matthews show because my mother called me and told me to. The first guest was conservative blowhard and discredited historical revisionist Michelle Malkin, who was paired up with former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown. Malkin says she was ambushed by Chris Matthews, and if she were, it wouldn’t surprise me, but things didn’t get out of hand until she walked out on a precipice by trotting out the “Kerry’s wounds were self-inflicted” lie. There is speculation that Kerry’s shrapnel wounds in two cases were caused by shrapnel from grenades thrown by Americans — but for the purpose of the Purple Heart, that’s irrelevant. That charge is a non-sequitur. Furthermore, “self-inflicted” is a loaded term. Note that these slimeballs are not saying, “wounded by friendly fire.” The only time you usually read about self-inflicted wounds in the media is when people kill themselves — the connotation of the term is that the person intentionally inflicted the wounds upon themselves. The use of that term is not accidental. So, Chris Matthews, knowing as well as you and I what people understand self-inflicted to mean, starts pressing Malkin on the issue. He wants to know whether she’s accusing Kerry of having shot himself on purpose.
To the transcript:
MATTHEWS: What do you mean by self-inflicted? Are you saying he shot himself on purpose? Is that what you‘re saying?
MALKIN: Did you read the book…
MATTHEWS: I‘m asking a simple question. Are you saying that he shot himself on purpose.
MALKIN: I‘m saying some of these soldiers…
It goes on like that for awhile, mainly because Malkin simply keeps referring back to the book because she’d prefer to beg the question rather than answer it. In the end, he kicks her off the show because she refuses to answer the question, and ends her ignoble time in the dubious limelight of MSNBC by asking Matthews whether he’s ever asked John Kerry whether he’d shot himself on purpose, which in my opinion is deserving of a one way ticket off the set. Malkin’s goal is clearly to leave viewers with the impression that Kerry did shoot himself on purpose (hence the use of the term “self-inflicted” and her unwillingness to take a stand herself), and furthermore that it’s up to Kerry to address and deny these allegations.
Needless to say, Malkin’s appearance on the show induced a lot of really foul language on my part, but that’s not the reason I’m talking about this. What I find interesting is this revelation of how the slime machine works. You just throw as much crap out there as you can, and then you pretend like it’s the victim’s job to rebut the unsubstantiated allegations. Use doublespeak wherever possible so that you can’t be pinned down taking an actual stand. If you repeat the same lies enough, people will believe they’re the truth. I’m not a fan of Chris Matthews, but I’m glad that he didn’t let Malkin (who could have just as easily been any other professional liar for the right wing) go unchallenged, and I’m glad she never got a chance to plug her execrable book.
On some days, I try to convince myself that all politicians are the same, that they all run negative campaigns, and that they all try to smear their opponents. The awful truth, though, is that the Bush campaign and the Kerry campaign are not the same, and the Bush supporters and Kerry supporters are not the same. What this campaign is really teaching us is that if you want to be President, it is better to do nothing in life than to attempt to distinguish yourself in any way before aspiring to higher office. Kerry’s service in the Vietnam war and tenure in the Senate are being used to bludgeon him in ways that I honestly wouldn’t have imagined before the campaign. George W Bush accomplished nothing before he became governor of Texas, and he’s better off for it.
Update: Oliver Willis has video of the “Gulf of Malkin” incident.