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Matthews Urges James Cameron to Trash 'Dangerous' Global Warming Deniers in 'Right Wing Media'

Chris Matthews spent an entire segment of Monday's Hardball sucking up to director James Cameron as the MSNBC host prodded the "Avatar" director to trash those in the "right wing media" who deny global warming, like Glenn Beck, as "very dangerous to this country." Cameron, who was on to plug the DVD version (coming soon to a landfill near you) of his pro-greenie fantasy flick, warned the Earth was being imperiled by not only the United States but also a rising middle class in places like India and China, and urged viewers to combat the "professional deniers" like Beck who are thwarting his fight against the "clear and present danger" of climate change. [audio available here]

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I'm worried about the media though. Because now we have a right wing media available. That if you feel like, if you're a business guy for example or a business woman and you want to have a good excuse, a good dodge not to do anything, well you listen to someone on the right like Beck who's willing to come in and say, "Oh you don't have to do anything. These guys are a bunch of tree huggers forget about it."

JAMES CAMERON: Right. Yeah.

MATTHEWS: What do you think of Beck's power in that direction, to give people a big excuse slip not to do anything?

CAMERON: Well guys like, like Beck and others and I think we all know-

MATTHEWS: Are they dangerous?

CAMERON: I think they're very dangerous to this country. And I think some day they're gonna have to answer to my children and to your children and their children for the world that they're helping to create right now.

The following is the full segment as it was aired on the April 26 Hardball:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Chances are if you've been to a movie in the past 20 years it was the work of James Cameron. Just to name a few: "The Terminator," "The Abyss," "True Lies," "Titanic," and now "Avatar." "Avatar is now the highest grossing movie of all-time, earning more than $2.7 billion worldwide and it's now out on DVD and Blu-Ray where it's also, just come out, and also broken all the world's records. James Cameron's concern about protecting the environment, which was such a big part of that movie, is evidenced in that film and it's also echoed in his life. Yesterday he spoke at the Earth Day rally here in Washington on the National Mall and I managed to catch up with him and hook him for the show. James Cameron.

JAMES CAMERON: Reporting for duty, sir.

MATTHEWS: No, no. I think what struck me about "Avatar" which everybody who's watched it has probably saw, was that there is a stake at some point the piggishness on this planet, the, the use of our resources just gets to the point where you gotta go out and get something else and go out and colonize some other world. Now maybe it's imagined in your movie but your feelings about that, that reality?

CAMERON: Well it's, it's a fantasy. I mean the film is a fantasy but, but it's about a very real reality which is our relationship with nature and how we have, we have this kind of attitude of entitlement that we can take what we need. Historically inn the colonial period, in North and South America, we took what we needed, you know? Or, or we took Australia or we took from what we needed from Africa. Speaking as kind of the way European community just kind of spread out. And we, we've never really backed off that model. We take the resources we needed, need. We take everything. We don't give enough back. And we're, we're crossing over a threshold where the Earth is not gonna be able to sustain us.

MATTHEWS: Why do you think business fights concerns about climate, about energy depletion, about the need to find renewables? Why do they fight it? These people from the oil patch, from Oklahoma especially-

CAMERON: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: -constantly carping and denying.

CAMERON: Sure.

MATTHEWS: People like Glenn Beck-

CAMERON: Sure.

MATTHEWS: -making a living by, by not telling the truth.

CAMERON: If you make your living in oil and the answer is a different answer, a different solution, and, and renewable energy like wind or solar or something like that, you're gonna deny that answer exists or, more probably, you're gonna deny that the problem exists and that's what these kind of professional deniers and skeptics are doing. They're swaying the public dialogue away from this major crisis that's looming.

MATTHEWS: Well the first person I ever heard, who I think has an IQ, like Glenn Beck, and he's obviously smart enough, I heard him on radio a couple years [ago] just denying-

CAMERON: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: -that there's climate. What do you make of that? Just saying it's not true.

CAMERON: Well you know look I think that people are, well people are just in denial in general. You know the public are in denial. And it's getting worse. And in, in a recession economy makes that denial worse. Two years ago according to polls, 50 percent of people believed in climate change and it being caused by, by, you know human activity. Now we're down to 34 percent. So we've gone from half to, to a third. We're going the wrong direction.

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

CAMERON: We should be raising awareness and consciousness on this and really, you know, believing that there's a clear and present danger to our nation, to our children and-

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

CAMERON: -and we're moving the wrong direction.

MATTHEWS: What do you make the decision a couple days ago to just dump it, just shelve it, by people like the Democratic leadership of the Senate. We are going towards an energy, combination energy, climate change bill? Just saying, "Oh we'll put it aside. We're gonna do something else. Immigration."

CAMERON: Well there's always going to be something. It's gonna be health care. It's gonna be immigration. It's gonna be financial reform. There's always gonna be something right in front of us that's more important. But in reality if we don't solve this problem, all of that stuff isn't gonna make any difference. Health care is not gonna help us in a fundamentally unhealthy planet. Financial reform is not gonna help us in a, in a, in a planet where we can't afford to, to live in a, in a healthy way or in even a non-chaotic way.

MATTHEWS: I gotta get to something that's fascinating. I read that Stephen Hawking-

CAMERON: Smart guy.

MATTHEWS: -obviously one of the smartest people in history. He was talking about alien life, meaning not aliens like we're fighting about with border fights here in America but-

CAMERON: Right, right.

MATTHEWS: -about real aliens over, from another planet. Quote: "We have only, we only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships having used all the resources from their home planet. If aliens ever visit us, I think it the outcome would be much, as when Christopher Columbus landed in America which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans." What about the notion that horrific notion that aliens coming here, if we ever meet them there, would be like the ones in your movie? Avaricious and frightening.

CAMERON: I didn't know Stephen Hawking did, did science fiction. But I think he's right on the money. The history of the, of the human race is that any technologically superior nation when it met a technologically inferior - you know kind of guns against bows and arrows - they always took over. They took what they needed. They would, it was either genocide or the population was displaced or it was assimilated in some kind of paternalistic manner.

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

CAMERON: They were, you know, converted to Christianity or whatever it was. And this has been our history. So why would expect aliens be any different?

MATTHEWS: Well he, he puts us with bows and arrows and the aliens with the machine guns.

CAMERON: That's right, that's right. Exactly!

MATTHEWS: But you, in your movie, in "Avatar" at least put us on the side of the advanced weaponry but we end losing the war any way.

CAMERON: We were the bad aliens in "Avatar." I was turning it around. You've seen all these movies where the super advanced aliens come to Earth and they to try to be like us...

MATTHEWS: Yeah. The Orson Welles guys, yeah.

CAMERON: ...take over. Well "Avatar" is just the story turned around. Our main character is trying to blend in and be one of the, one of the, the aliens on their planet. It's just the same story-

MATTHEWS: So, so putting it all together - you have to go - putting it all together the idea that this country is leading the world in the depletion of resources in the world. We use more, we're the most poor sign of any people on the planet. We use up more gas, more everything, compared to our numbers. If the world keeps going in this direction heating up the planet, using up our resources, are we gonna end up on those space ships?

CAMERON: Yeah it's not just us. It's China, it's India, it's in places where the, where the middle class is, is exploding. Everybody is sucking up more power. Populations continuing to grow. You know we're gonna have to do something about it. The, the planet just can't sustain-

MATTHEWS: Do you have your faith, do you have faith in any - I'm gonna let you leave on this. Do you have faith in any political leader who will take the, the, the noise and the heat and perhaps the political defeat that will come from a person who really stands up and defends this planet?

CAMERON: Lisa Jackson at the EPA is standing up. You know she's using the Clean Air Act to go after polluters. But the reality is that, that the leadership in the House and Senate, it doesn't have a strong public mandate right now because the public isn't aware enough of the problem. They gotta, they gotta start critically thinking, denying the deniers, doing their own research, not, not, not going with the rhetoric, not going with the talk radio. Actually learning the issues. And believing what the science community is trying to warn us about and then there will be a public mandate for our leaders to do something. You know, you know on the Hill they don't do anything unless we tell them to do it.

MATTHEWS: I know. I'm worried about the media though. Because now we have a right wing media available. That if you feel like, if you're a business guy for example or a business woman and you want to have a good excuse, a good dodge not to do anything, well you listen to someone on the right like Beck who's willing to come in and say, "Oh you don't have to do anything. These guys are a bunch of tree huggers forget about it."

CAMERON: Right. Yeah.

MATTHEWS: What do you think of Beck's power in that direction, to give people a big excuse slip not to do anything?

CAMERON: Well guys like, like Beck and others and I think we all know-

MATTHEWS: Are they dangerous?

CAMERON: I think they're very dangerous to this country. And I think some day they're gonna have to answer to my children and to your children and their children for the world that they're helping to create right now.

MATTHEWS: Okay. Thank you very much, James Cameron. Congratulations. I've ever seen anything like this in the movies. I've never seen anything like it. You are winning all the awards and you're getting everything. Thank you for coming on.

CAMERON: Alright thanks Chris. A pleasure.

MATTHEWS: James Cameron, the maker of "Avatar" which has just broken all the records again on DVD.

-Geoffrey Dickens is the senior news analyst at the Media Research Center.