MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Tuesday called the Koch brothers "pigs."
In a Hardball segment about the connection between global warming and Hurricane Sandy, Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) for some reason took the conversation in a decidely disgusting direction (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: OK. We don’t have any high ground to go to in this where we have 6 billion people living on this planet. There’s no other planet to go to if the atmosphere begins to be destructive of our living here. But politics is about every two years, every four years.
How do you run a political argument that has to be paid off within the next couple years? You have to win the argument. Who is willing to vote for somebody who is willing to do something about climate change?
CONGRESSMAN ED MARKEY (D-MASSACHUSETTS): Well, this frames the election for next Tuesday very well. It’s Mother Nature versus the Koch brothers.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Who are the Koch brothers? Explain.
MARKEY: The Koch brothers are the single largest funders of this -- of Republican --
MATTHEWS: Oil and gas.
MARKEY: The oil and gas industry, the coal industry. They are funding Mitt Romney and the Republicans across this country. They want Romney in because here’s what Romney is promising: one, he’s going to do away with the tax breaks for wind energy but keep it for oil. He is going to do away with the fuel economy standards that increase the efficiency of the vehicles we drive up to 55 miles --
MARKEY: -- per gallon backing out 6 billion metric tons of CO2. That’s what Obama wants to do, back out 3 million barrels of oil per day from the Persian Gulf, all the oil we import.
MARKEY: The Koch brothers want Romney, and Romney has promised, to roll back those fuel economy incentives. It endangers the planet. And it’s going to endanger young men and women who have to go to the Middle East to import the oil from there rather than backing it (ph).
MATTHEWS: Well, Professor Oppenheimer, back in the ‘60s, we called such people pigs. Pigs. No, really, they don’t care about the planet, they don’t care about the destruction of war. All they want is what they got, their stuff. And they want more of it.
Is that what we’re facing here, just greed? I’m not talking about the guy working in the coalmine. That’s hard work. I’m talking about people who won’t listen to you, won’t listen to science because they want more stuff.
MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Listen, Chris, I’m not into name-calling here.
MATTHEWS: Well, I am.
OPPENHEIMER: Fine, that’s your job, not mine.
Mark Holden, Senior VP and General Counsel, Koch Industries, Inc., has informed me that Koch raised concerns about this segment with MSNBC Wednesday.
"Representative Markey’s comments about Koch’s views on corporate subsidies were false – we are on the record as opposing all subsidies, including subsidies to oil companies. Likewise, Rep. Markey, who opposes expanded oil and gas exploration and production in the US, falsely claims that Koch is somehow increasing dependence on oil from foreign countries, " said Holden via email.
"The bottom line is that while Rep. Markey supports First Amendment protection for US flag burners and habeas corpus rights for suspected foreign terrorists, he attacks Koch, Charles Koch, and David Koch because, like many in his party, he opposes our exercise of First Amendment rights of free speech on issues of public policy," continued Holden.
As for the Hardball host, Holden said, "Mr. Matthews has a reputation for making emotional and ill-advised comments, and this appears to have happened again last night with his irresponsible and false comments about Charles Koch and David Koch."
Something else to consider is that a global warming study financed by the Kochs actually concluded that carbon dioxide was responsible for rising temperatures.
The lead scientist involved in the study, UC-Berkeley professor Richard Muller, told CNN's Fareed Zakaria in August:
"I actually find it amusing how many people think they know what the Koch brothers are thinking. It’s a caricature of these people who I did speak with them, and they made it clear to me from the very beginning that they recognize that there were serious issues raised about prior estimates of global warming: everything from urban heat islands to data selection bias to other things. And they knew that I wanted to look into that, and our team would do a good unbiased job, and all they were asking for was scientific objectivity. So, I was very pleased with their fundings. I really sense they wanted to have this problem solved, and they never gave me any suggestion, any hint of a suggestion about which side they were hoping we’d come out on.
Neither Markey nor Matthews mentioned this as they were disparaging the Kochs.
Also absent in this discussion as an MSNBC anchor called American citizens that employ over 50,000 people pigs was how much they give to charity.
The Chronicle on Philanthropy listed David Koch as America's 45th largest charitable contributor in 2010.
According to Koch Family Foundations, "Since 2000, he and the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation have pledged or contributed nearly $1 billion to further cancer research, enhance medical centers, support educational institutions, sustain arts and cultural institutions, and conduct public policy studies."
Politics Daily listed the following donations in a 2010 piece about the Kochs:
New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell: $15 million
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: $25 million
The Hospital for Special Surgery: $26 million
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: $30 million
Prostate Cancer Foundation: $41 million
Deerfield Academy: $68 million
Lincoln Center's NY State Theater: $100 million
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $139 million
Maybe Matthews should consider this the next time he wants to refer to these men as "pigs."