Making his connection clear, the Hardball host (see file photo at right) opined, "Is this what's come to the wars in the Islamic world? We've begun to talk like the zealots from the Middle East." MSNBC graphics also made the point. First, a picture of a militaristic Muslims appeared with the words "zealots abroad."
Then, a shot of Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump was shown above the message: "zealots at home." After his opening commentary, Matthews interviewed New York University professor Irshad Manji and Abderrahim Foukara of Al Jazeera.
Later, Matthews reiterated his A-to-B-to-C connection. Referencing Terry Jones, the Florida pastor in Florida who burned Korans in 2010, the anchor alleged, "But they keep spreading this rumor on the right, people like Newt Gingrich and the rest of them. They are building the case for this Billy Bob character to burn Korans and then he's giving a case to [Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai to save his butt over there."
He continued, "This is a dynamic, dangerous kind of thing that does lead to wars. This is what happens in wars. Rumors lead to rumors lead to rumors and then only in the end, 'I only responded to what I heard. It's not my fault.' That's what you hear. The killers."
A partial transcript of the April 4 segment, which aired at 5pm EDT, follows: