Sam Allis wants to make the case that MSNBC is better than CNN for election coverage. I’m sure a case can be made for that, but Allis takes a strange turn when in giving all the credit for it to Matthews:
The mere thought of Matthews as a tonic is shocking because he is an icon of the loud – perhaps the icon of the loud on television above Bill O’Reilly on Fox. Matthews is famously cheerful, rude, irritating. He’s also an effective host of “Hardball,” his MSNBC political show, and a happy warrior whose enthusiasm for the game is infectious. It’s just that his noise joystick got stuck at Yell.
Matthews has also been roughed up recently for a perceived anti-Hillary slant, which led him to apologize on television. So, all in all, we’re not talking about a man of measured thought here.
But here’s where the article gets disingenuous. Matthews was “roughed up for a perceived anti-Hillary slant?”
The word perceived implies reasonable people could disagree about something. Let’s look at the evidence of the perceived anti-Hillary slant:
In 2001, the Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Matthews saying about HRC, “I hate her. I hate her. All that she stands for.” After New Hampshire’s primary, Matthews said, “The reason she’s a U.S. Senator, the reason she’s a candidate for President, the reason she may be a front-runner, is her husband messed around. That’s how she got to be Senator from New York. We keep forgetting it. She didn’t win it on the merits…” He’s referred to her as Nurse Ratched and She-Devil. He’s called her a fraud for saying that she supported both the Cubs and the Yankees, when he himself supports one team in the AL and one team in the NL.
There’s no way reasonable people could disagree: Chris Matthews’ spouts a negative view of Hillary Clinton.
It also doesn’t make him look good to praise Barack Obama with outright strange statements like, I felt this thrill going up my leg.” Even when trying to say something positive, Matthews is taking the discourse in a direction people would rather not explain to their kids. And kids would probably not feel comfortable asking, “Mommy, what does that man on TV mean by that?”
Think about these statements said by a man who sits behind a newsdesk on a network owned by NBC. Did Tom Brokaw ever say anything like that? Or David Brinkley? Or John Chancellor?
The political discourse in this country is broken. And Chris Matthews’ is one big reason why. The thing is, after Matthews apologized to Hillary on-air (and please note, David Schuster implied that he should not have apologized), it became accepted public knowledge that Chris Matthews was sexist and was gunning to end Hillary’s campaign. The first step to fixing the discourse is identifying the problems, and people who complained to MSNBC achieved some progress there.
But when the Globe glosses over what was wrong and the apology for it, the article only serves to whitewash just how bad Chris Matthews is.