In case someone would actually buy the Chris Matthews fairy tale that America was a land of silence against those thuggish neoconservatives after 9-11, see the 2002 Best of Notable Quotables. The General Phil "Cheap Shot" Donahue Award chronicles media people suggesting George Bush knew and allowed 9-11. The Fourth Reich Award for Portraying John Ashcroft As A Fascist is rather self-explanatory. And so it continues, through the Give Appeasement A Chance Award and the Begala and Carville War Room Award for Bush Bashing, the Blame America First Award and the Bill Moyers (Subsidized) Sanctimony Award. You can't miss Helen Thomas.
On the other hand, Chris Matthews does not acknowledge how wonderful Iraq looked to the media then. The Good Morning Morons Award winner, for example: “Iraqi citizens are preparing to go to the polls to decide whether Hussein stays in office.” – Preview of an October 14 segment on CNN’s American Morning with Paula Zahn posted on CNN’s Web site. And ABC's David Wright won for silliest analysis for his evening echo the next night: “Seven years ago, when the last referendum took place, Saddam Hussein won 99.96 percent of the vote. Of course, it is impossible to say whether that’s a true measure of the Iraqi people’s feelings.” As for Matthews himself, see his conversation with liberal Newsweek reporters on February 11, 2002, just five months after the so-called Big Shutup began:
Matthews: "Well what about the latest use of the language over the weekend during the rally of ‘Death to America!’ and ‘Bush is Dracula!’ It sounds like the old idiom of 1979."
Christopher Dickey, Newsweek: "Well it absolutely is, which is just what the hardliners wanted. Once you start declaring Iran part of the ‘Axis of Evil,’ and you start lumping it with Iraq, one of its worst enemies and you start saying that it’s a major threat to the United States and who knows when the United States might attack it. All of that does play right into the hands of the hardliners and Khatami just as an Iranian patriot isn’t going to stand up there and say, ‘Oh no, we kind of like the Americans now.’"
Matthews: "Has the President’s use of the phrase, ‘Axis of Evil,’ with regard to Iran driven both sides, the moderate, secular people into the arms of each other and has it not been bad for U.S. policy?"
Dickey: "Well I think it’s been very bad for U.S. policy toward Iran, in fact. There’s a line of thinking that says well this will somehow support the reformists. It’ll terrify them into taking more actions that are pro-American. I think that’s very unlikely. I think the other thing that we got to worry about is if the Bush administration is really serious about going after Iraq it’s gonna have to have some understanding with Iran, which is the neighbor of Iraq and which ought to be helping to overthrow Saddam, just as it helped to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan."
Howard Fineman: "This is the opposite of you know, ‘Walk softly and carry a big stick.’ This is: ‘Talk really loud and don’t necessarily do anything.’"
Matthews: "But could that loud talking cause trouble for us? Could it drag us into a war?"
Fineman: "Yes it can, it can, it can. It might not drag us into a war but it’s needlessly costing us some discipline diplomatically around the world as your guests have said."