Matthews Compares Gun Rights Advocates to North Vietnamese; Panel Smears NRA

Leading off Tuesday’s Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews seemed to insinuate a comparison between pro-gun advocates and the communist North Vietnam in a segment about gun control in the wake of Sunday night’s Las Vegas shooting. 

All the while, Matthews’s two assembled guests/so-called journalists mocked certain gun owners and bewailed the “gun culture” in America that they wished was the opposite.

Matthews made the Vietnamese claim while speaking to The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson and USA Today senior political correspondent Heidi Przybyla about how he “love[s] parallels” in politics.

With that in mind, he let loose:

You know, we couldn’t win in Vietnam because we were going the stay — they were going to stay there, and we’re going to come home...The people who are for gun control get interested in something for a while, but the gun owners stay with it. They never leave it. They’re the home team, and they’re never going to let people touch their guns.

Both guests saw no problem with that insulting assertion as Robinson noted how both gun owners and “they” (aka the Vietnamese) “always have the edge on intensity on that image” before pivoting back to Second Amendment supporters.  

“And that has been the case for years and years and years, and is certainly the case now. And looking at the national level, the federal level, this Congress and this President, it’s — I wish I could work myself up into thinking that something would happen, but I can’t. I can’t,” he fretted.

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Going to Przybyla, Matthews complained that “once you get west of New York state, in fact, better stay down in the city part of New York, the suburban part, you run into gun country” plus from Allentown, Pennsylvania “all the way out to Goddamn Wyoming.”

“Anywhere you are, it’s all gun country, except maybe Chicago and there they’ve got their own gun problem with the gangs. But you can’t be a senator from one of those states, Democrat or Republican, and get serious about gun control. It doesn’t work,” Matthews added.

Showing no difference between herself and gun control activist Shannon Watts, Przybyla lashed out:

But what’s happened to gun culture over the past 10 to 30 years. We’ve gone from just your traditional bolt action pistols that people use for hunting, but that wasn’t going to last forever. And the NRA knew that. They knew that hunting culture is decreasing. So they start pushing these semi-automatic weapons and pump out the fear and the paranoia, as well, that — first of all, convincing people that they need the semi-automatics to defend themselves, that these pistols are not going to do the trick. You need these — these street weapons, these war weapons to defend yourself.

Next, Matthews and Robinson conveniently ignored the fact that machine guns are illegal in order for the former to quip: “[I]f somebody’s knocking on your window and trying to get in your house, you go find the machine gun.”

Meanwhile, Przybyla kept pushing rhetoric akin to Democratic talking points:

They say there’s nothing that you can do because if — these people are evil. And they want to get the guns, they’re going to get them. But they completely dismiss when confronted with any of the facts that this is a unique problem in our country. So either there’s something wrong with our laws, or we have a unique high number of evil people in our country.

What’s truly outrageous was how the trio employed Jimmy Kimmel’s false mindset that the NRA has somehow been paying off members of Congress and rules Washington with an iron fist. In reality, it’s the NRA’s millions of members that actually make the difference at the ballot box.

“NRA takes an absolutist position and the NRA is still one of the powerful lobbies in the town,” Robinson argued.

The pair ended the segment by using Pat Robertson as a strawman for the right after Robertson told his 700 Club viewers that the Las Vegas shooting was punishment for our collective disrespect of President Trump. 

“When you don’t have the facts on your side, you make it about culture of the other side,” Przybyla argued, which is interesting seeing as how she didn’t seem to have a grasp of the facts either.

This anti-gun tirade was bought and paid for by Hardball advertisers Capital One and Oprah’s O, That’s Good soup.

Here’s the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on October 3:

MSNBC’s Hardball
October 3, 2017
7:07 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Gene, you know — and I love parallels. I know you write about parallels. You’re given to that, like all great columnists. You know, we couldn’t win in Vietnam because we were going the stay — they were going to stay there, and we’re going to come home.

EUGENE ROBINSON: Yes. Right. They —

MATTHEWS: The people who are for gun control get interested in something for a while, but the gun owners stay with it. They never leave it. They’re the home team, and they’re never going to let people touch their guns.

ROBINSON: Exactly. And they always have the edge on intensity on that image. And that has been the case for years and years and years, and is certainly the case now. And looking at the national level, the federal level, this Congress and this President, it’s — I wish I could work myself up into thinking that something would happen, but I can’t. I can’t.

MATTHEWS: Heidi, once you get west of New York state, in fact, better stay down in the city part of New York, the suburban part, you run into gun country. I grew up in it from — all the way from Allentown all the way out to Goddamn Wyoming. Anywhere you are, it’s all gun country, except maybe Chicago and there they’ve got their own gun problem with the gangs. But you can’t be a senator from one of those states, Democrat or Republican, and get serious about gun control. It doesn’t work.

HEIDI PRZYBYLA: And here’s what has happened —

MATTHEWS: You get defeated.

PRZYBYLA: — in that gun culture that has been such a bloody and devastating shift in our gun culture —

MATTHEWS: I shouldn’t say “damned Wyoming.” I actually like that state, but it’s all part of that whole swath of people that are very pro-gun.

PRZYBYLA: — okay, Chris. But what’s happened to gun culture over the past 10 to 30 years. We’ve gone from just your traditional bolt action pistols that people use for hunting, but that wasn’t going to last forever. And the NRA knew that. They knew that hunting culture is decreasing. So they start pushing these semi-automatic weapons and pump out the fear and the paranoia, as well, that — first of all, convincing people that they need the semi-automatics to defend themselves, that these pistols are not going to do the trick. You need these — these street weapons, these war weapons to defend yourself.

MATTHEWS: And how do you use one of those? You go — if somebody’s knocking on your window and trying to get in your house, you go find the machine gun.

ROBINSON: Right. You go find your machine gun. I mean, it’s just — it’s ridiculous as a defensive weapon. It’s ridiculous as a weapon to use to shoot a deer or a rabbit or anything. I mean, but -- but there are 300 million guns in this country, and an awful lot of them are assault weapons.

MATTHEWS: Well, what do you think? We’re going to get these people on as the days go on, but to the real gun person, what’s their reaction to this horror? What do they say? Oh, I know what it is — evil.

PRZYBYLA: They say there’s nothing that you can do because if — these people are evil. And they want to get the guns, they’re going to get them. But they completely dismiss when confronted with any of the facts that this is a unique problem in our country. So either there’s something wrong with our laws, or we have a unique high number of evil people in our country.

ROBINSON: There has been polling of gun owners and of NRA members, and in both cases, they’ve shown majorities, for example, in favor of universal background checks.

MATTHEWS: Ninety-some percent.

ROBINSON: Exactly. And to say nothing of the opinion of the whole country, which is even more in favor of universal background checks. Just as a first step. And we could not even get that after Newtown, after — after —

PRZYBYLA: Because it comes back to intensity. Who killed Newtown? It was the red state Democrats. A number of Republicans, like John McCain and Susan Collins, found it within themselves to vote for that modest measure. It was the red state Democrats who feared, had this outsized fear of the NRA, which in the end, was not there for them. Folks like Mark Begich? Kicked to the curb.

ROBINSON: NRA takes an absolutist position and the NRA is still

MATTHEWS: There’s some — guys, there’s some loony out there.

ROBINSON: — powerful lobbies in town.

MATTHEWS: Let me give you one of the latest examples of loony. Last night on his show, The 700 Club, Pat Robertson blamed the shooting in Las Vegas and other acts of violence on a lack of respect for authority, including for President Trump.

(....)

MATTHEWS: So those on the progressive side of issues are responsible for gun —

ROBINSON: Exactly. Exactly.

MATTHEWS: — gun killings like this.

ROBINSON: Well, that’s just ridiculous and offensive, borderline insane.

MATTHEWS: He’s a Yale Law graduate, did you know that?

ROBINSON: Obscene. But I mean, I — I — you know, I think —

MATTHEWS: This biblical — these prophets of our time —

PRZYBYLA: When you don’t have the facts on your side, you make it about culture of the other side.


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