Following Michelle Malkin's August 19 appearance on MSNBC's Hardball -- during which host Chris Matthews refused to accept Malkin's false accusation that a shrapnel injury Senator John Kerry (D-MA) suffered in Vietnam was a "self-inflicted wound" -- conservative radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham hosted Malkin and gave her a forum to attack Matthews. Meanwhile, ABC Radio Networks host (and FOX News Channel host) Sean Hannity -- without mentioning Hardball or Matthews by name -- denounced as "just unbelievable" the treatment of Malkin "in an interview last night." Malkin is a syndicated right-wing columnist, author, and FOX News Channel contributor.
As a guest on Hardball, Malkin claimed that Patrick Runyon and William Zaladonis -- the two veterans who were on the swift boat under Kerry's command in Vietnam the night Kerry received the injury that resulted in his first Purple Heart -- had accused Kerry of shooting himself on purpose. Both Zaladonis (who appeared with Kerry at his arrival celebration for the Democratic National Convention) and Runyon have defended Kerry and debunked that specific claim.
The day after Matthews challenged her false accusations, Malkin wrote about her Hardball interview on her personal website. She called Matthews a "caveman" and "a foaming jerk"; decried his "Neanderthal chauvinism" and his MSNBC program's "basement ratings"; and listed the phone numbers for Matthews and his producer.
Later that day, as a guest on the August 20 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, Malkin was comforted by Ingraham, who asked: "How'd you stop from reaching across and grabbing one of the chins of Chris Matthews?"
In previewing the August 20 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes on his ABC Radio Networks program, Hannity denounced Matthews's treatment of Malkin: "Michelle Malkin will be on tonight. And I promise you, she will not be treated the same was as she was in an interview last night. Just unbelievable."
On his August 20 radio show, Limbaugh told Malkin that she "should be proud" of her appearance on Hardball. Limbaugh and Malkin also falsely claimed that MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann called Malkin "an idiot" in the wake of her Hardball interview.
From the August 20 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
MALKIN: They really got to change the name of the show to Slimeball or Spitball, because that's what they threw at me.
LIMBAUGH: Why did [MSNBC anchor Keith] Olbermann call you an idiot? Nobody watches that show, either, so...
MALKIN: No, nobody does, but apparently he was just so carried away and --
LIMBAUGH: It was because your appearance on [Chris] Matthews's show [MSNBC's Hardball] earlier he called you...?
LIMBAUGH: So you had a carry-over effect.
MALKIN: I guess so. [laughing]
LIMBAUGH: Michelle, you should be proud. Careers are made over this thing.
MALKIN: Well, it doesn't make me happy that this is how it turned out, but I'm just disgusted --
LIMBAUGH: You know something, Michelle, in all candor, there would have been a time, 15 or 20 years ago, when you'd have had nowhere to go to tell the story.
MALKIN: That's true.
Olbermann did not call Malkin an idiot. From the August 19 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
OLBERMANN: And this woman, [Michelle] Malkin, who made a fool of herself on this network, about an hour ago, basically said that in this -- in what she was reading, the book that accompanied the Swift Boat ad, that Kerry, at least, somebody asked whether or not Kerry should be asked, in that sort of, "Let's step away from actually making a statement, let's just put it as a question about a question about a question."
Michelle Malkin has been making the rounds on the talk show circuit peddling her new book, In Defense of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling" in World War II and the War on Terror (Regnery Publishing, August 2004). As Media Matters for America documented on August 10, Malkin has defended internment of Japanese-Americans (and other ethnic minorities) during World War II; defended racial profiling today; and said that Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta should be removed because his views are "clouded" by his personal experience as an interned Japanese-American. UNC School of Law's George R. Ward Distinguished Professor of Law, Eric Muller, has noted several factual inaccuracies, distortions, and misstatements in Malkin's "defense of internment"; according to Muller, "Michelle is not just rewriting history; she's rewriting her book."