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I know I’m supposed to be mocking Chris Matthews and denouncing Jeneane Garofalo’s many vicious and heinous crimes against humanity in order restore the much coveted “fair and balanced” label to LGM, but for the moment I have to once again marvel at the madness that CNN has unleashed onto its national audience. The blogosphere occasionally and rightly notes and flags the appalling bigotry and racism of Beck, but what’s missed is sheer level of looniness he delivers.

I was at the gym yesterday afternoon, and after the Indians spit out the bit, I started flipping channels, and found myself sucked into the vortex. He evidently found some street-corner lunatic, slapped on a suit, and proceeded to interview him for the entire hour of his show. I came in during an extensive discussion of how the Bible clearly predicted that Vladimir Putin will unite the Muslim world and lead an attack on Israel. He strongly hinted (but didn’t commit to the notion) that Putin may well be the antichrist. Strong stuff, but it couldn’t prepare me for the exchange that followed:

Beck (I’m working from memory here, but this is damn close to the transcript): Now, the last time you were on, you said the Bible didn’t say that America would have a big role in end times. We got lots of email about that, can you explain your comments?

Wingnut preacher: Well, Glenn, one thing we have to remember is that America is a pretty new country….

This is the Beck method; invite the biggest lunatics you can find onto national television, then make them look sane by comparison.

Update: commenters and atrios track this down; it’s Joe Lieberman’s buddy John Hagee, and if anything it’s more bizarre and stupid than I remembered.

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