Paranoia Strikes Deep

NBC's Chris Matthews once responded to an incident involving Rand Paul by saying that "it reminds me of the '30s in another country." But then, everything reminds Chris Matthews of the 1930s in another country, a mindset which recently led to wild on-air speculation, fueled by the help of  -- who else? -- the Southern "Poverty" Law Center, as Stacy McCain writes:

On March 30, Kaufman County, Texas, district attorney Mike McLelland and his wife were shot to death at their home. Five days later, Chris Matthews invited Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center onto MSNBC to promote speculation that McLelland’s murder was committed by the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang.

In other words, the important thing about this crime — the thing that made it worth eight minutes of national network air time — was that it gave Chris Matthews a chance to stoke the paranoia of MSNBC viewers with the bogeyman specter of dangerously violent racists who (as all MSNBC viewers know) are the core constituency of the Republican Party.

Fast-forward 11 days, and Chris Matthews is completely discredited by the latest headlines:

Read the whole thing, and then if you haven't read it yet, check out the Weekly Standard's recent piece on the "King of Fearmongers: Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center, scaring donors since 1971."