You need to look at it from their perspective. They’d been pushed to the breaking point by having to listen to three days of hate-code, words like “Constitution” and “the.” If you were as pure of heart as an MSNBC producer, you’d be frazzled and angry too.

Besides, as Matt Sheffield reminds us, it’s a bad idea to mention the eg-lay ingles-tay around you know who.

Matthews was hosting a show at a makeshift outdoor stage near the Tampa Bay Times Forum after Mitt Romney accepted the GOP presidential nomination. During a break, two men shouted, “Hey Chris, how’s that tingle up your leg?” The comment was a reference to Matthews’ 2008 comment that a Barack Obama speech sent a “thrill up his leg.”

According to witnesses, a shoving match ensued.

“Then this short dude who works for MSNBC pushed them,” said Toby David, who came to the defense of the two hecklers. Another witness, Kim Churchman, added, “One of them was smiling and didn’t know it was coming, and the guy just shoved him.”…

The MSNBC employee identified himself to The Hollywood Reporter as a producer but did not supply his name and referred THR to press relations. An MSNBC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

We already knew from Matthews himself that right-wing rhetoric is capable of inspiring violence. We just didn’t know he meant violence by his own producers.

Exit question: Second look at the “new tone”?