Brad Wilmouth, NewsBusters, December 13, 2009
On the Sunday, December 13, syndicated Chris Matthews Show, as he ended the show with words of praise for Morgan Freeman’s latest film, Invictus, and its depiction of Nelson Mandela uniting blacks and whites in South Africa in the 1990s, host Matthews referred to “white tribalism” having been stirred up in America, and showed clips of anti-Obama protesters.
While one of the three clips of protesters did show someone holding a sign with an image of President Obama with the words “undocumented worker” on it–reminiscent of the fringe conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in America–another clip showed protesters displaying generic anti-liberal and anti-socialism messages, while the third clip showed a sign with the words, “You lie!” invoking South Carolina Republican Congresssman Joe Wilson’s outburst from the last State of the Union Address.
Below is a complete transcript of the closing segment of the Chris Matthews Show from Sunday, December 13:
Welcome back. A small story can carry a large truth. This weekend, the movie Invictus opens in theaters around the country. It’s about South Africa, how President Nelson Mandela cheered his country’s rugby team to the World Cup in 1995. The movie’s about race, about country, humanity, and, of course, hope. And you don’t have to ask: It was made by Americans. Directed by Clint Eastwood, it was really Morgan Freeman’s film. You’ve heard this said about other actors in great performances, but he really is Nelson Mandela in this movie. The great man once said he wanted Freeman to play him if it ever came to this. America’s greatest actor found this story and made this powerful thing happen, this majestic movie about what a leader can be.
In this world of ours today, it seems that any idiot–almost any idiot can rally the forces of tribalism, including white tribalism in this country. You can do it with a frown or a smile–easiest thing in the world to rile people back to their roots, get them thinking with all the rage of their grandparents. What takes someone historically wonderful is the ability, the will and the wile to unite people who are divided by history and past wrongs.
This is what Nelson Mandela–freed from 28 years in prison on Robin Island–did when, in his first year as President, he cheered on the white South African rugby team–treasured by the whites of his country, hated by the black majority, and in so doing showed himself a leader to all. A small story with a large soul. A South African story told by Americans who know of what we speak. That’s the show. Thanks for watching. See you here next week.