An unhinged Chris Matthews on Tuesday berated a representative of Americans for Prosperity with the same question 13 times. Talking to Scott Hagerstrom, the Hardball anchor didn't seem to hear the answer, despite Hagerstrom repeating it over and over. Matthews fumed, "Well, who's paying your salary?" [MP3 audio here. ]
A calm Hagerstrom appeared on the show to discuss the just-passed right-to-work law in Mighican. He explained, "I work for Americans for Prosperity...This is about freedom for everybody." Matthews repeated over and over: "Who's paying your salary?...No, but who's paying your salary to do it? Who's paying your salary to do what you're doing right now?...Who's paying your– to do this today?
At the end of the segment, Matthews whined, "Again, for the fifth time, who pays your salary?...Who pays your salary?" It was actually the 13th time he had asked the question.
According to the Americans for Prosperity website, the organization describes itself :
The heart and soul of AFP is our citizen activists. They organize events, write letters to the editor, and petition their lawmakers to uphold freedom and prosperity. Americans for Prosperity has more than 2.3 million activists in all 50 states and 34 state chapters and affiliates. More than 90,000 Americans in all 50 states have made a financial contribution to AFP or our sister organization, AFP Foundation.
A partial transcript of the December 11 segment:
5:20 PM EST:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Why are Republicans and your organization against unions? Because this is pretty much a union gutting operation. You would like to see-- you work for the Koch Brothers-- they don't like unions. Why are you working for them?
SCOTT HAGERSTROM (Americans for Prosperity) You know, I work for Americans for Prosperity. This is not about the Koch Brothers. This is about freedom for everybody.
MATTHEWS: Well, who's paying your salary?
HAGERSTROM: I work for Americans for Prosperity. We're a non-profit.
MATTHEWS: Who's paying your salary?
HAGERSTROM: Unions are– Americans for Prosperity. I came here to talk about the policy and this is about freedom. This is about economic liberty.
MATTHEWS: No, but who's paying your salary to do it? Who's paying your salary to do what you're doing right now?
HAGERSTROM: I just told you. Americans for Prosperity. We're a 501C4.
MATTHEWS [Incredulous]: What's that?
HAGERSTROM: And we've been advocating– I'm sorry?
MATTHEWS: Who's paying your– to do this today?
HAGERSTROM: We– I just told you. Americans for Prosperity.
MATTHEWS: You're not answering my question.
HAGERSTROM: We're a non-profit. I
MATTHEWS: We're not getting anywhere.
HAGERSTROM: I just told you what the answer is!
-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here  to follow him on Twitter.