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Less than a day after Glenn Beck's massive 5pm audience catapulted the term "Caliphate" into the Top 3 Google search terms, MSNBC's Chris Matthews dedicated the entire opening block of his Tuesday program as well as his closing "Let Me Finish" segment to attacking Beck for what he calls "fear mongering."

Matthews' 5pm ratings are generally 40% of Beck's, and in the prime 25-54 demo he typically garners 1/4 of Beck's audience.  In a business where size does matter, you have to speculate on the motivation behind this rant.

Also not lost on this reporter is the fact that within the past 24 hours, Media Matters dedicated no fewer than four stories about Mr. Beck and the Caliphate topic. Coincidence?  I think not.

Dedicating his opening segment to Beck, Mr. Hardball came back again and again to this topic, enlisting Salon.com's Joan Walsh and David Corn from Mother Jones to join him in the name calling.  Ms. Walsh speculated on Beck's sanity while claiming that he had lost "about a third of his ratings."  (see above, Joan)

In less than fifteen minutes, Chris Matthews and his guests referred to Glenn Beck as:

Looney Tunes, Completely Crazy, Captain Queeg, and a Full Mooner.

Matthews did take a short break from Beck, but only to attack Mitt Romney's performance on Late Night With David Letterman before speculating on why no member of the GOP had stepped up and announced their intentions to run for President in 2012.

If you missed this sideshow, we have clips below.

Matthews' closing segment called "Let Me Finish" is here.

One last thing…
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