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Rolling Stone - February 8, 2020

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews’ fear of socialism sparked an unbelievable post-debate rant about a possible Bernie Sanders presidency where he suggested the candidate might have cheered socialist-led executions in Central Park during the Cold War.

Matthews began by praising Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s Friday debate performance but then veered off by warning viewers and a live studio audience about his personal views on socialism. The host suggested that Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders might have supported the violence of past socialist leaders.

Matthews said he’d keep his opinions on socialism to himself, but quickly reversed himself.

“I have my own views of the word ‘socialist’ and I’d be glad to share them with you in private. They go back to the early 1950s. I have an attitude about them. I remember the Cold War,” he said.

Matthews continued, “I have an attitude towards [Fidel] Castro. I believe if Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War there would have been executions in Central Park and I might have been one of the ones getting executed. And certain other people would be there cheering, okay?”

Then Matthews made the connection to Sanders, claiming ignorance about whether or not the candidate did, in fact, support violence and public executions.

“So, I have a problem with people who take the other side. I don’t know who Bernie supports over these years,” Matthews said. “I don’t know what he means by socialist.”

When MSNBC’s Chris Hayes interrupted saying that Sanders is “pretty clearly” in favor of the type of socialism found in countries like Denmark, which Matthews had said was harmless, Matthews again suggested Sanders might have supported violent regimes, asking, “Is he? How do you know? Did he tell you that?”

Matthews nearly losing his mind on national television in addition to some of the debate questions about Sanders — including whether his opponents were afraid of having a democratic socialist on the ticket — shows just how terrified corporate media is of a Sanders win.