Godwin’s Law is alive, well, and as illiterate as ever. Chris Matthews may be the Right’s new favy-fave on MSNBC as part of the network freaks out over Bernie Sanders’ rise — and not for no reason, either — but his ridiculous hyperbole over the weekend has its audience seeing red in an entirely different manner. Matthews, in trying to describe the inevitability of Sanders’ march to the nomination, reached into his bag of analogies and came up with … the Nazi invasion of France in 1940?
“I’m reading last night,” Matthews tells Brian Williams, “about the fall of France in the summer of 1940, and the general Renault calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over!'”
Some in the audience now want it to be over for Matthews — and some on MSNBC’s air, too:
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews likens Sanders victory in Nevada to Nazi Germany overrunning France in 1940: “It’s too late to stop him … it’s over” pic.twitter.com/6GJetLoDkq
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 22, 2020
Ah yes, I recall reading William Shirer’s chilling account in Berlin Diary of Nazi voters storming the Maginot Line to cast ballots. The election challenge at Compiègne, where Hitler himself showed up to witness the ballot recounts, was a dark day indeed for the world. Who can forget when the Nazis strolled in Paris to take up their duly elected offices?
Argument by analogy is always a tricky choice for pundits, but there’s one general rule — don’t use the Nazis for anything that isn’t actually like the Nazis. Matthews isn’t intending to imply that Sanders and his followers are Nazis, but then again, it’s not really clear what this analogy was supposed to say. Why not just use an American electoral analogy, such as from the last major socialist-movement win? Oh, wait …
MSNBC viewers, and especially Sanders supporters, are decidedly unamused. They have kicked off a #FireChrisMatthews project on social media platforms to force the longtime liberal off the air:
“Never thought part of my job would be pleading with a national news network to stop likening the campaign of a jewish presidential candidate whose family was wiped out by the nazis to the third reich. but here we are,” said Mike Casca, communications director for the Sanders campaign.
Alex Kotch, a reporter for the Center for Media and Democracy, demanded that MSNBC fire Matthews, repeatedly using the hashtag #FireChrisMatthews.
“For once, I’m not being sarcastic here. I’m dead serious. I’m really, really insulted by a major pundit on an allegedly liberal news network comparing a Jewish candidate’s overwhelming caucus victory to the French losing a battle with the Nazis. Get this lunatic off the air,” said Kotch.
Former Obama videographer Arun Chaudhary added his voice to the calls:
Chris Mathews has been generous to me on a number of occasions, even blurbing my book. However, his constant references to political violence and today Nazism to describe Bernie Sanders campaign is beyond the pale. @HardballChris must resign or be fired from @MSNBC.
— Arun Chaudhary (@ArunChaud) February 22, 2020
The calls are also, in the parlance of the old horror film, coming from inside the house. Anand Ghiridhadaras tells Joy Reid that the older generation needs to step aside and allow the Glorious Revolution deliver True Democracy to The People, and calls out Matthews by name. However, Ghiridharadas has almost as bad a problem with analogies as Matthews does:
“Gulag thinking”? Er, which person in this subject matter spent decades as a Soviet apologist and enthusiast? In the context of Ghiridharadas’ remarks, it’s tough to tell whether he’s accusing Matthews of having a “gulag mentality” presently, or whether he’s noting that Matthews’ mentality will qualify him for the gulag Come The Bernie Revolution.
Will MSNBC fire Chris Matthews? Doubtful, although network honcho Phil Griffin might have a few words with him over his analogies. Nor would Bernie Sanders himself benefit from such a move, especially as he’s using MSNBC effectively as a media foil to gin up victimization outrage among his followers. (That’s one lesson Bernie learned from Trump.) Having Matthews on air spewing nonsensical Nazi analogies in fits of hysteria suits Sanders’ longer-range purposes. He might have a bigger problem with his on-air supporters like Ghiridharadas, who’s making it clear just how much revolution the US will get with Bernie.