MSNBC host Chris Matthews says he is sure his new special, "Rise of the New Right" — which airs tonight at 7PM — will stir people up, no matter where they fall on the political spectrum.
"I think that the left will say this scares the heck out of me, people in the middle will say this is amazing, and people on the right will be cheering for all I know," he said in an interview with HuffPost Tuesday.
The documentary examines the rise of the Tea Party movement and various right-wing militias that have formed in the wake of the 2008 election of President Obama. Matthews said the disparate people and groups profiled in the special share a fear of the power of the American government.
"There's a similar message," he said. "This government's a tyranny and it has to be, if not overthrown, then something like it. They treat the American government like a foreign occupying force."
He pointed to the right's use of the "Don't Tread On Me" flag — originally flown to protest the British during the American Revolution — as an example of the way it views the current administration as an occupying power.
"They've taken the flag of nationalism and turned it into a flag of revolution," he said.
The hour-long special includes interviews with a host of prominent figures on the right, including Dick Armey, the former House Majority Leader whose organization, FreedomWorks, is a major player in the Tea Party movement; "birther" advocate Orly Taitz; Senate candidate Rand Paul and Internet radio host Alex Jones.
In one eye-opening clip, Jones discusses his view that a "global guild of psychopaths" is in control of the planet to carry out an "orderly extermination" of between 80 and 99 percent of the world population.
"I don't know what motivates them," Matthews said, "whether it's a piece of showbiz or true ideology."
Matthews said he thinks the most extraordinary thing in the special is the disfigured images of Obama that some Tea Party protesters have held up in ralles.
"It's sort of the kind of thing you'd see against American leaders in foreign countries," he said. "The contempt with which they view their government...this is really personal."
Matthews said he has a deal with MSNBC to produce several one-off specials a year. "I really like doing them," he said. "What we're trying to do is get a big audience, to be honest with you. The bigger audience I get, the more I can do."
He also praised the recent addition of Lawrence O'Donnell to MSNBC's primetime lineup.
"I think it's a good call," he said. "I think he's great. I've always liked him."
"Rise of the New Right" premieres Wednesday June 16 at 7PM on MSNBC.
WATCH clips of the documentary below:
Right-wing figures express their fear of a new world order
Tea Party activist Anna Puig