MSNBC host Chris Matthews has joined the voices on the left seeking to blame conservative talk radio and the right for Jared Loughner’s deadly rampage in Arizona, linking radio talkers Michael Savage and Mark Levin to the tragedy.
In a discussion with two liberal talk radio hosts on “Hardball” Tuesday night, Matthews essentially blamed Savage and Levin for creating a climate of hate that led to the Tucson shootings that killed six and injured 14, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Savage told Newsmax that Matthews’ remarks constituted “malicious libel.”
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Matthews said: “What's been the role of talk radio in fueling the heated language?
“I’ll mention a couple of names. People like Mark Levin, Michael Savage, for example, who every time you listen to them, they are furious. Furious at the left. With anger that just builds and builds in their voice and by the time they go to commercial they are just in some rage every night with ugly talk. Ugly sounding talk, and it never changes, it never modulates.
“They must have an audience. I looked at the numbers today. They have big audiences.
“And I guess that’s the question. Why and is it ever going to stop if it keeps working?”
Savage’s program is the nation’s third most-listened to radio talk show, behind only Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Mark Levin’s nationally syndicated show is fourth.
An angry Savage told Newsmax: “This is a blood libel by Matthews. His remarks may cause me serious economic damage. I only hope his inconsiderate, malicious libel against me does not bring harm to myself or my family. I pray that an imbalanced left-wing fanatic does not take Matthews' libel against me to heart and seek to inflict bodily harm on myself or my family.”
Shortly after Matthews made his comments, Levin fired back on his show, calling Matthews a “Democrat hack.”
He said: “I was attacked by Chris Matthews, along with Michael Savage. I’ve had my problems with Michael Savage but Michael Savage hasn’t created any violence either. So in this I will defend him as well as defend myself.
"Defending ourselves against what? Some a-hole on MSLSD with no numbers, no ratings, no audience, no substance, no common sense, making an allegation.
“We know without question that [Loughner] was mentally ill, a liberal pothead and all the rest of it. We know this for a fact.
“Did he have a TV in his house? Has anybody in his house ever watched MSNBC? Did they ever watch Chris Matthews?
“Maybe Chris Matthews’ tone and rhetoric is very upsetting to people.”
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