Anyone wishing to sum up the point of the Chris Matthews MSNBC special "Rise of the New Right" should just consider the closing commentary:
Throughout our history, we have disagreed passionately over the role of the federal government and of our country`s role in the world, but we are generally a pragmatic people, not given to ideological extremes.
What`s scary today is the language being thrown about. Words have consequences. You can not call a president`s policies un- American as Sarah Palin has done, or refer to the elected government as a regime as Rush Limbaugh persists in doing, or the president as a foreign usurper as the birthers do, without giving license on some day to real trouble.
This April was the 15th anniversary of Oklahoma City. It is well to consider what happens when people act on what they hear, when the hatred of our own elected government becomes explosive. I`m Chris Matthews. Thank you for watching.
Matthews used Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center in the show as the usual sherpa when interpreting the "far right" fringes.
He also relied on the liberal Democrat media monitors:
MATTHEWS (voice-over): The death panels were a Palin caricature. The initial provision merely offered counseling upon request for such matters as the writing of a living will. Yet the rumor gained so much currency that Congress removed all end-of-life counseling from the health care bill.
ERIC BURNS, PRESIDENT, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA: That really is how powerful this misinformation can be. It actually affects legislation.
MATTHEWS (voice-over): Eric burns is the president of Media Matters for America, a liberal group that promises the national media for what it cites as conservative misinformation. Burns says that rightest media, particularly Fox News host, Glenn Beck, plays an active role the motivating and riling up the angry right. Beck, who has called President Obama a racist is a hero to the right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He can get down to the level of people. He`s not using big words. He`s using everyday words. He`s making valid comparisons with things that happen in our everyday lives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He seems to be the only one in the media right now that`s saying the things that we`ve been saying in our meetings but we haven`t been hearing from our leaders.
BURNS: He uses extremely aggressive, revolutionary, antagonistic, sometimes even violent language to define his political enemies. That`s all very intentional.
BECK: That`s like somebody sticking a screwdriver in your eye and saying stop, stop, and somebody else pulls it out and then puts a pin in your eye. I don`t want stuff in my eyes! Stop stabbing in the eyes.
BURNS: It`s done to trigger an emotional response in the audience he`s talking to and generally that emotional response that they`re trying to trigger is fear and anger.
Burns has been a regular guest on The Ed Show decrying the dangerousness of Fox News.