Over a chorus of gleeful Irish pub-goers literally singing Barack Obama's praises, NBC's Al Roker, broadcasting live from Ireland on Monday's "Today" show, explored the current president's Irish roots as he observed: "As St. Patrick's Day approaches in Moneygall the townsfolk join in the chorus, determined to keep hope alive." The "Today" show weatherman began the celebratory segment by exclaiming: "In a small pub in Ireland they're still celebrating Obama's victory. Dancing in honor of their adopted son."
The following is a complete transcript of the segment as it was aired on the March 16, "Today" show:
AL ROKER: You know, they say there's a wee bit of Irish in everyone. That include President Barack Obama. That's right it was first revealed last year that part of Obama's roots traced back to a village here in Ireland called Moneygall. Well it's been Obama territory, ever since.
BARACK OBAMA: I Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear.
ROKER: When Barack Obama was sworn in as President of the United States-
OBAMA: So help me God.
ROKER: -it was a historic day for the country for African-Americans, and as luck would have it, a great day for the Irish. In a small pub in Ireland they're still celebrating Obama's victory. Dancing in honor of their adopted son.
Barney Frank was allowed, by NBC's Meredith Vieira, to go on a tear against AIG for wasting bailout money on corporate bonuses, on Monday's "Today" show, yet Vieira never once interrupted Frank to point out his own wasteful stimulus spending on earmarks going to Frank's home district, including $1 million for scallop research. Vieira also didn't interject when Frank blamed the Bush administration for failed economic oversight, even though it was Frank who blocked reforms of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, something former Vice President Dick Cheney brought up on this Sunday's "State of the Union," on CNN.
Vieira never asked a challenging question throughout the whole interview, instead choosing to let Frank rant: "The time has come for the federal government to put some people in charge...When we were asked by the Bush administration and the Federal Reserve last fall, to do these things, they resisted some of the conditions we wanted to put on."
The following is a complete transcript of the interview with Frank as it was aired on the March 16, "Today" show:
Acting as if he's been living in alternate media reality for the past year NBC's Matt Lauer, interviewing Howard Fineman, on Thursday's "Today" show made the very odd assertion, that the "establishment," of "Washington insiders," and the "New York-based media," didn't help put Barack Obama "in the Oval Office." Lauer, made the head-scratching point, after reading a portion of Fineman's most recent column to the Newsweek editor:
MATT LAUER: Let, let me read something. You wrote a column for Newsweek.com this week, and you said, that although President Obama still enjoys that high approval rating, he's starting to lose, what you call, the establishment, Washington insiders, the New York-based media and corporate America. When it comes down to it, those people didn't put him in the Oval Office. Doesn't he in some ways benefit by not catering to those people?
HOWARD FINEMAN: Well, not only did they not put him in the Oval Office, they're largely responsible for the mess we're in now. So, I think that's one reason why he remains very, very popular with the American public. But as I said, everybody's looking to take his measure, and he's got to not only be a popular president, but a powerful one and make his will fact in Washington. He really hasn't done that in the details yet.
The following is the full transcript of the segment as it was aired on the March 12, "Today" show:
Over the weekend, Chris Matthews compared Rush Limbaugh to a James Bond villain and claimed the radio talk show host was a "human vat of vitriol. He relishes the attention and he sells anger as a weapon." Before playing a clip from "You Only Live Twice," in which a Bond nemesis drops a victim into a piranha tank, Matthews, on his syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," offered up the following description of the talk show host:
MATTHEWS: Before we break if you didn't know better this past week, you'd think Rush Limbaugh was more important than the guys in Washington and women in Washington actually elected to do things. How many U.S. senators would invite the President of the United States to come to their home turf and debate them? Well two facts are clear about this human vat of vitriol. He relishes the attention and he sells anger as a weapon.
RUSH LIMBAUGH AT CPAC: What is so strange about being honest in saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation? Why would I want that to succeed? We, we are in for a real battle.
MATTHEWS: Limbaugh's high-handed, melodramatic, off with their heads, oratory reminds me of those over-the-top movie villains. You know, the ones who issue ludicrous commands to snuff out the good guys, like James Bond's arch nemesis who wanted the supremely confident Bond - gone.
On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews used several different animal references to depict the battle between Barack Obama and Rush Limbaugh as he likened the fight to wrestling with "a walrus," and getting into "a peeing match with a skunk," and claimed Limbaugh thinks he is Charlie Brown's dog: "He's Snoopy! He thinks he's taking on the Red Baron."
Matthews devoted several segments to the Democratic strategy of attacking Limbaugh and opened the show with the following monologue/diatribe:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Leading off tonight. Pomposity on parade! Not since Snoopy challenged the Red Baron in the Peanuts cartoon have we witnessed an episode of such preposterous pomposity. Rush Limbaugh today challenged the President of the United States to come and debate him in his Palm Beach radio booth. What's the radio man thinking of? What were the Democratic wags thinking of when they invited themselves and the President into this walrus wrestle? Was it poll data that convinced them of the smart politics in matching themselves against the man with the mic, passing over such dashing conservatives of Congress like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell? However it started it's come to this to what happened today, to this ultimate jumping of the shark.
According to the Politico Democratic strategists, months ago, planned to paint Rush Limbaugh as a bad guy to hurt the GOP and on Wednesday, the "Today" show followed that blueprint as Matt Lauer pilloried RNC Chairman Michael Steele over his flap with the talk show host:
Doesn't Rush Limbaugh put people like you in a very tough position? If you agree with him publicly it sounds like you're rooting against the economic recovery and yet if you disagree with him and call him an "entertainer" and say he's provocative and sometimes what he says is "ugly," you're put in the position where you gotta run and apologize to him.
Lauer repeatedly misinterpreted Limbaugh's comment that he wants Obama's to fail, never clarifying that Limbaugh is rooting against his policies precisely because they will hurt the economy as Lauer presented the false choice of, you're for Obama or you're against the economic recovery, to Steele:
Mr. Steele, let me try it this way, there are as many Republicans out there as well as Democrats who are unemployed right now. People are hurting across this country. Republicans, as I mention, like Democrats are losing their homes, they're unable to send their kids to school. Do you think those Republicans want the policies of Barack Obama to fail right now?
On Monday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews feared Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, in her nomination fight to head HHS, would be a target of "the terrorism of the, of the anti-abortion people." Then perhaps realizing he called all pro-lifers terrorists, Matthews feebly attempted to amend the statement, as he tried to clarify, "I mean verbal terrorism."[audio excerpt available here]
The following exchange was aired during the March 2, edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let's talk about, let’s get to something really tough.
JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO: Sure.
MATTHEWS: Kathleen Sebelius, very likeable, very impressive. I think of the woman who becomes the governor in Mr. Holland’s Opus, remember the one who comes back?
LOIS ROMANO, WASHINGTON POST: Right.
MATTHEWS: Who becomes the governor, the woman governor. She looks like her, in fact. Is she gonna get through the, the terrorism of the, of the anti-abortion people?
On Thursday's "Today" show NBC's Meredith Vieira invited on former George W. Bush assistant Mary Matalin to discuss the excessive spending in Barack Obama's budget, and the interview got off to a promising start as Vieira actually asked Matalin, "Do you see it as a disaster in the making?" However the segment quickly turned sour when Vieira cited a critique of Bobby Jindal's post-Obama address response by New York Times columnist David Brooks and claimed: "Conservatives were criticizing him for stale ideas. He didn't say anything, nothing new." Matalin ably defended the Louisiana governor as seen in the following exchange:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: You know, you talk about a united Republican Party, but I want to read to you something that David Brooks said, now he's a conservative columnist. This was after governor Bobby Jindal gave the response to President Obama's speech on Tuesday. Brooks said, "To come up at this moment in history with a stale "Government is the problem. We can't trust the federal government." It's just a disaster for the Republican Party. The country is in a panic right now." And he went on to suggest that the party is out of touch with where this country is and where it is headed. So, you do not agree with what he said?
MARY MATALIN: No, I don't, and I live in Louisiana now, as you know, and Bobby Jindal is an extraordinary public servant. He's the greatest public policy innovator in the country today, and that isn't what he said. That's David Brook's rendition of it. Who, who's a friend. But his, Bobby Jindal has made more progress in Louisiana in the shortest period of time in the history of the state and probably in the country. Education reform and, and ethics reform. Everything that put Louisiana downscale is now one of the top states in the country. What people who are objecting to, about Governor Jindal's presentation was the presentation itself. And you know, demonstrably he was much stronger on "Meet the Press" and much stronger on the "Today" show than he was in front of a teleprompter. I think if you want to take the measure of a man, I'd rather see him be able go up against you than stand in front of a teleprompter.
VIEIRA: But you know Mary it wasn't just that. It was, again conservatives were criticizing him for stale ideas. He didn't say anything, nothing new.
On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews cheered how "hip," "today," and "youthful," the Obamas looked at last night's address to Congress before immediately transitioning into offering this backhanded blurb for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC): "If you like Star Trek conventions, you'll love this baby!" While it is fair to say you won't be seeing Jay-Z performing at CPAC any time soon, the comparison to a Star Trek convention crowd was definitely a dig at conservatives' expense. However Matthews did go on to out himself as a former CPAC attendee: "So if you can't catch a Star Trek convention you've got CPAC coming here. It's always fun. Because I grew up as a conservative. I liked a lot of this stuff."
The following references to CPAC occurred on the February 25, edition of "Hardball":
MATTHEWS DURING SHOW INTRO: And the Conservative Political Action Conference begins its three day meeting tomorrow in Washington. And take a look at some of the panels being offered. "Al Franken and ACORN: How Liberals Are Destroying the American Election System." "Will Congress Take Your Guns?" "The True Cost of Global Warming Hysteria." If you like Star Trek conventions, you'll love this baby.
Attempting to explain last night's off-camera "Oh God!" exclamation before Bobby Jindal's response to Barack Obama, Chris Matthews, at the top of Wednesday's "Hardball," claimed he was taken aback by "The odd, antebellum look of the scene. Some people heard my reaction at the time," which contrasted with his view of Obama's address: "He wowed us! That's the running headline from last night's presidential address to the Congress. Barack Obama gave a great speech." This naked display of bias was so transparent that it caused guest panelist, former Republican Majority Leader, Tom DeLay to point out the obvious: "Listening to your introduction somebody is gonna accuse you of being biased."
The following is Matthews' entire opening monologue and then DeLay's reaction as it was aired on the February 25, edition of "Hardball":
Confronted by Sarah Palin documentarian John Ziegler, on Monday's "Today" show, NBC's Matt Lauer was forced to admit that the media perception of the Alaska governor as an "idiot" was "a lie." However Lauer displayed some disbelief that the media heavily pushed that line during the campaign as he professed, "I don't think that everybody in the media ran out saying, 'Sarah Palin is an idiot.'" Ziegler got the confession from Lauer, while promoting his film Media Malpractice, in the following exchange as aired during the 7:30 am half hour of the February 23, "Today" show [audio excerpt here]:
JOHN ZIEGLER: Oh wait a minute I, I urged people and I urge you Matt because you've been up to Wasilla. You, you know Sarah Palin. You know that this is a lie that she's some sort of an idiot or a moron.
MATT LAUER: No, no, no. Okay but that's, but that's an extreme state-
ZIEGLER: You know it! Tell, tell America right now what you know.
LAUER: That's an extreme, that's an extreme statement. I'm just asking you-
LAUER: -when she-
ZIEGLER: Is it not a lie that she's an idiot? You know it Matt.
What's with Chris Matthews' fixation with comparing Republicans to trolls? Back in September he called a then presidential candidate John McCain "troll-like," after one of his debate performances, and then over the weekend, on the syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," he applied the monstrous term to Republicans in the following intro to his February 23 episode:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: And finally trolls under the bridge. Is that what Washington Republicans have become? Gremlins hiding along the pathway, nipping at the Democrats. And are Republican governors saying, "That's not my job."
A little later, going to break Matthews teased the upcoming segment with video of Rush Limbaugh, with an on-screen headline reading: "Trolls Under The Bridge."
MATTHEWS: Anyway when we come back Rush Limbaugh wants Barack Obama to fail. He's honest about it. Are Republicans letting Limbaugh speak for them?
Chris Matthews is so obsessed with Rush Limbaugh's influence within the Republican Party, that he repeatedly dared, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," GOP strategist Todd Harris to speak ill of the radio talk show host as he mockingly challenged: "Would you live in a country where he wrote the Constitution?...Would you live in a country where he wrote our rights?...Say something nasty about Rush Limbaugh!"
After playing a clip of a "Saturday Night Live," skit – in which two Republicans argue over who is smarter, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh -- Matthews asked his guest panelists Harris and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon, to evaluate how powerful Limbaugh was within the GOP in the following exchange, as it was aired, on the February 18, edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: That joke, which was, "That we wouldn't want to speak anything unfavorably of Rush Limbaugh, our god-
TODD HARRIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thou shall not speak ill of Rush Limbaugh.
MATTHEWS: -the oracle of thieves, you know, the great oracle of Delphi," rather. Is he that big in your world? I mean really do you look up to him as the smartest person in America?
Karl Rove was invited on Tuesday's "Today" show to discuss Obama's stimulus plan and NBC's Matt Lauer pressed the former Bush senior adviser about the one-sidedness of the vote on the bill by the GOP as he pressed Rove: "219, if you add up the House and the Senate we have what, 219 Republicans. All but three of them voted against this plan...do those 216 Republicans run the risk of being on the outside looking in, if this starts to work?" Lauer also went on to cite Obama's senior adviser David Axelrod ridiculing any member of Bush administration for offering economic advice as Lauer doubted: "Do you have credibility on this subject... would you say that the eight years of the Bush administration were lax on regulation?"
However this prompted Rove to hit back, in the following exchange, as he noted Democrats like Barack Obama were the ones who stood in the way of the Bush administration regulating some of the main culprits behind the mortgage mess - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:
NBC's "Today" show invited, on Monday, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller to promote a new book featuring photos from the campaign called, Obama: The Historic Journey, and in his interview with Keller, substitute anchor David Gregory actually asked if the book adds to the, "criticism of the news media that we're somehow cheerleaders for Barack Obama," to which Keller admitted it was "a fair question," but claimed, "as a rule, reporters don't fall in love with candidates. They fall in love with stories."
However earlier in the segment Keller called Obama "a rock star," and exposed the fact this his own children, "Had their front door of their bedroom plastered with Hillary paraphernalia...and by the end, you know I think every kid in America was asking their parents when they could go have a play date with Sasha and Malia."
The following exchange was aired during the 8:30am half hour of the February 16, edition of Monday's "Today" show:
NBC's Ann Curry traveled down to Texas to speak with former President Bill Clinton, on Monday's "Today" show to talk to him about his Global Initiative but never asked Clinton about all the troubles his Initiative, and his foreign ties, caused and could potentially still cause his wife in her role as Secretary of State. Instead Curry asked Clinton mostly softball questions about how Barack Obama and Hillary are doing in their first few weeks: "Your wife is front and center as Secretary of State at a time when this world, this country is in a world of hurt. What's your faith in her?" When Clinton gave Obama, not surprisingly, a positive review Curry called it, "A major vote of confidence."
ANN CURRY: How is President Obama doing on this greatest near-term crisis facing the United States, the economy?
BILL CLINTON: I think he's off to a good start. I think he's got a good team. Given the fact that they had to do it in a hurry and he had to deal with Congress and the inevitable compromises I think he got quite a good bill out of this. This package that he's gonna sign is our bridge over troubled waters.
When "Hardball," guest and former John McCain adviser Mark McKinnon suggested Barack Obama, in his first few days in office, is discovering what George W. Bush found out, that being President is "a hard job," Chris Matthews, on Wednesday night's show, vehemently disagreed, saying Obama "doesn't look he's having a hard time...he's Fred Astaire out there...he still moves around with incredible alacrity."
The following exchange was aired during the February 11 edition of "Hardball":
MARK MCKINNON, FORMER JOHN MCCAIN ADVISER: But I'll tell ya he's discovering one thing that President Bush did early on and that, that's this is a hard job Chris. It's a really hard job.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yeah but he's not saying that.
KAREN FINNEY, DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: He's saying, "It's the job. I know this is what I signed up for."
Matt Lauer invited on two Senate supporters and no opponents of Barack Obama's stimulus bill, on Monday's "Today" show and asked pro-stimulus bill questions to his guests, even chiding those who opposed it, when he asked Republican Senator Susan Collins about two of her GOP colleagues who are against it: "So what do you get that those two are not getting?" Lauer, also depicted a gloomy picture for the states because of "draconian cuts," made in the bill as he ominously asked: "Senator [Ben] Nelson, to get the support from even these moderate Republicans, cuts had to be made...You lose $40 billion in aid to the states, that means states are gonna have to make draconian cuts in jobs, teachers, cops, firemen. You lose the $16 billion in school construction money. So is it still a real stimulus package? Will it have clout?"
The only voices of opposition came in a Chuck Todd set-up piece, where a soundbite from John McCain saying the negotiations were not "bipartisan," was aired. A soundbite of stimulus opponent Sen. John Ensign was also aired but it only highlighted him admitting the bill will pass.
Lauer, in the interview segment, did cite concerns from Senators Richard Shelby and McCain, as he noted: "Richard Shelby the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking committee said Sunday, 'This bill could put our country on the road to financial disaster.' And John McCain said, 'It was generational theft,'" but then added the, "So what do you get that those two are not getting?" line he asked Collins.
The following is a complete transcript of Lauer's interview segment with Republican Senator Susan Collins and Democratic Senator Ben Nelson as it occurred on the February 9, "Today" show:
Former White House chief-of-staff Andrew Card's suggestion to Barack Obama that his administration should continue the Bush fashion code of wearing a jacket and tie in the Oval Office, out of respect, ignited Chris Matthews, on Thursday night's "Hardball," to unleash an angry litany against Bush's foreign and domestic policies and then condemned, "If that's dressing for success I prefer shirt-sleeves."
The following rant from Matthews occurred during the "Sideshow" segment on the February 5 edition of "Hardball":
Chris Matthews is rooting for Barack Obama to get his so-called stimulus package passed so much, he offered him advice on how to sell it, on Thursday night's "Hardball," and cautioned him if he doesn’t succeed in that sales job he'll "let us down."
Matthews, the former Jimmy Carter speechwriter, offered the following piece of advice to Obama on the February 5 edition of "Hardball":
On Thursday's "Today" show NBC reporters offered little skepticism of Barack Obama's dictations to corporate America, instead buttressing Obama soundbites with sloganeering as, Meredith Vieira declared, "President Obama lashing outat Wall Street and clamping down on corporate fat cats," and Savannah Guthrie underlined, "The President bashed Wall Street," and "took a shot across the bow." The "Today" show then brought on CNBC'ers Melissa Francis and Dylan Ratigan to discuss Obama's capping of executive pay at $500,000, to which they both agreed, "it didn't go far enough." "Today" anchor, millionaire and world traveler, Matt Lauer himself lectured: "Can the culture of Wall Street be changed? Let, let's just be clear here. Private jets, perks, lavish trips gone. Is it ever, are they ever gonna come back?" But when Ratigan tried to use the ratings performance of the "Today" show to make a point, Lauer jokingly, but quickly, cut him off as seen in the following exchange:
MATT LAUER: Just going back to the beginning. We talk about $500,000 for these corporate CEOs. Let's just be clear-
DYLAN RATIGAN: It's a ton of money.
LAUER: That's a lot of money. It's a lot of money-
MELISSA FRANCIS: Yeah.
LAUER: -for the average person waiting on tables and...
RATIGAN: Not to mention if you, if you ran your, if, if this show had, has, ratings went to zero-
On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews led a not-so-balanced panel of lefties that included Mother Jones's David Corn and Salon's Joan Walsh, in hammering Dick Cheney's concerns, relayed in an interview with Politico, about the Obama administration's softer stance in the war on terror. The "Hardball," host led the attack on Cheney as he charged the former Vice President: "Was wrong in a way that was lethal. 100,000 people dead including 4,000 Americans are dead, something like 15,000 wounded because he was wrong."
Walsh piped in: "We have a situation where it's vintage Dick Cheney. It's dark, it's dire, it's creepy, it's kooky, it's very scary, but there's absolutely no evidence. And so you're right to point to the fact that this is a man who's gotten everything wrong. There was no connection between the 9/11 hijackers and Saddam Hussein. There was, there were no weapons of mass destruction. We were not greeted by a mushroom cloud as the smoking gun. He got everything wrong, thousands are dead and now he's back."
And for his part Corn wondered: "How detached from reality is he?"
Then Matthews, parroting a line his NBC colleague Tom Brokaw made on Inauguration Day, remarked: "He does seem like a character out of 'Dr. Strangelove.'"
The following exchanges were aired on the February 4 edition of "Hardball":
NBC's Matt Lauer invited on Vanity Fair's Maureen Orth, on Monday's "Today" show, to promote her magazine's cover story on Barack Obama and the special correspondent celebrated the new President's incoming Cabinet as she cheered: "They have big plans to green the economy. The Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Interior say, 'This is our moon shot.'" The easily impressed Orth then went on to say government is back in vogue as she crowed: "If you noticed the last eight years...the conservative philosophy is that governs best which governs least. And now people feel it's more of a time for government to intervene and so they can start trying things."
The following exchange was aired during the 8am half hour of this morning's "Today" show:
MATT LAUER: You got to talk to several members of this group. Before we talk about them as individuals, as a group, what struck you?
MAUREEN ORTH: Well that they're not intimidated by the tasks ahead and they're very idealistic. They feel that they've been elected, the President was elected for change. And they have big plans to green the economy. The Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of the Interior say, "This is our moon shot." Larry Summers, who is the president of the council, President's council of economic advisors says, "This is a once in a generation chance for economic policy-makers."
In a portion of Matt Lauer's interview with Barack Obama, not aired before the Super Bowl, but aired on Monday's Today show, Lauer asked the president about the release of a Guantanamo prisoner coming back to haunt him. However, Lauer couched the question in not public safety, but political terms as he asked the president, "If one of those people that's released goes back and takes part in the planning of, or carrying out of, an attack against U.S. interests, you're gonna have a Willie Horton times 100 situation." In other words Lauer bypassed asking how upset the president would be if a released Guantanamo prisoner killed U.S. citizens, nor asked how worried Obama would be if Republicans made a Willie Horton like ad, featuring the terrorist, to hurt him politically.
The following exchange was aired in the 7am half hour of the February 2, "Today" show:
MATT LAUER: Let me go on quickly, if I can, to some other subjects. You signed an executive order in your first week, that says you'll close the military detention center at Guantanamo within a year. So the clock is ticking. And already you've heard the criticism that you don't know what you're gonna do with the 245 prisoners being held there?
BARACK OBAMA: It's the right thing to do, ultimately it will make us safer. You've already seen in the reaction around the world, a different sense of America by us taking this action.
Continuing the trend of embracing Barack Obama's bashing of Wall Street bonuses from last night's evening news, NBC's "Today" show, on Friday, described Obama as "outraged!" "agitated," and claimed he "took the tone of a scolding parent." Opening the "Today" show Matt Lauer exclaimed: "Good morning, outraged! President Obama lashes out at Wall Street for doling out nearly $20 billion in bonuses despite the financial crisis." Then a little later Lauer threw it to Savannah Guthrie, who opened her story this way:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: The President did not hold back. He gave a dressing down to Wall Street that went on uninterrupted for two-and-a-half minutes. This after he read in the newspaper about some big bonuses.
[On screen headline: "Outraged Obama Blasts Banks For Bailout Bonuses"]
BARACK OBAMA: That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful.
GUTHRIE: The President took the tone of a scolding parent, reacting to news Wall Street was still paying itself big bonuses. $18 billion last year, even as many banks' balance sheets crumbled, billions of taxpayer dollars spent to bail them out.
Chris Matthews, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," fell into the same trap many other journalists have in misunderstanding the term "Dittoheads," to describe fans of Rush Limbaugh as having no minds of their own that, as Matthews claimed, "repeat every word he speaks as gospel." Of course, as Limbaugh himself points out, fans of the radio talk show host are a varied group, that listen to him because he expresses the opinions they already share and/or just because he's entertaining and the term "Dittohead" is merely shorthand for saying you are a fan, not some "mind-numbed robot." However that fact was lost on Matthews who went on to patronize the audience saying Limbaugh acts as "a support group for guys, mainly men," who, "feel underappreciated by their families, by their bosses."
Matthews' slights against Limbaugh and his audience came in several segments devoted to Republican Congressman Phil Gingery coming on the talk show host's program to apologize to him for a criticism he made of him earlier in the week. In one of the segments Matthews threw the following question to Salon's Joan Walsh:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Okay here's a great philosophical-, Joan you have opened a can of worms here. Why do libertarians and I respect a lot of libertarian philosophy. It's, at least, in ideal terms the Ayn Rand stuff. It's-, I love the idea it's romantic. If everybody could live on themselves, and take care of themselves, if that could work, it doesn't, fine. But why do people who say they're individualists, cowboys, out there all alone, refer to themselves as "Dittoheads?"
Acting like Caroline Kennedy's PR flack NBC's Andrea Mitchell, on Monday's "Today" show, first delivered the news that the Kennedy family was "furious," at the way her Senate bid was treated by New York Governor David Paterson, but then she quickly merged her own personal opinion into the story, calling the smearing of the former First Daughter, "inexcusable." Curiously Mitchell never revealed to viewers, what specifically Paterson or those close to Paterson had said of Kennedy, only vaguely mentioning "they went after her on personal issues."
The following exchange occurred on the January 26, edition of the "Today" show:
MATT LAUER: While Caroline Kennedy's Senate bid crashed and burned some Democrats are burning at the way New York's governor handled the whole affair. NBC's Andrea Mitchell is in Washington. Andrea, good morning to you.
Appearing on Monday's "Today" show former President Jimmy Carter offered his advice to President Barack Obama on the Mideast peace process and to her credit "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira actually expressed skepticism about Carter's faith in Hamas in those negotiations. Vieira repeatedly questioned Carter about the trustworthiness of Hamas as she queried Carter, "But do you believe that Hamas can be trusted?" and pointed out to the 39th President, "Hamas has said that its goal is to destroy Israel. How can you involve them in a peace process when they've said their goal is to destroy Israel? They don't recognize Israel." To be sure this certainly was a slightly tougher treatment than Carter had grown accustomed to from Vieira's predecessor at "Today," Katie Couric.
The following is a bit of the back and forth between Vieira and Carter:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: But do you believe that Hamas can be trusted?
JIMMY CARTER: Yes, I do. I think they can. Because of their own self-interest. Not because they're benevolent or kind or that sort of thing. But yes, I do. I think they can. And they've never betrayed any commitment that they've made to me or publicly, as a matter of fact.
Chris Matthews questioned Rush Limbaugh’s patriotism on Wednesday night’s "Hardball," as the MSNBC host wondered how the radio talk show host could dare to oppose Barack Obama as he exclaimed to his viewers: "Does Rush Limbaugh hate this country?" Matthews jumped on a quote from Limbaugh saying of Obama, "I hope he fails," apparently not understanding the concept that Limbaugh opposes any and all who would promote liberal policies precisely because he believes they will be harmful to the country. To see Limbaugh's quote in full context visit his official site. Matthews slammed Limbaugh in the following tease before going to a commercial break (audio excerpt here):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Up next, does Rush Limbaugh hate this country? Wait till you hear what he said about the new president. He wants him to fail. What an amazing-, I've never heard anybody say they wanted a new president to fail. Usually you want the new president to succeed and then later on you argue the politics of what he or she does. But to want them to fail at the outset? What's that about?
Later in his "Sideshow" segment Matthews aired a sound bite from Limbaugh and then snidely remarked: "Well Rush must have a lot of acorns squirreled away not to share everyone else's hopes that the economy does come back."
The following Matthews outbursts were aired on the January 21 edition of "Hardball":
The truly historic moment of the first African-American to be sworn-in as President cannot, nor should not, go without some comment but to the degree NBC News' anchors and reporters were willing to share their personal feelings, on air, about the moment was a bit remarkable for purported objective journalists.
During NBC News' live coverage on Tuesday of Barack Obama's Inauguration, Meredith Vieira observed: "I think the hardest thing is, is not getting emotional because it is such an emotional morning, you just want to, you want to laugh, you want to cry," and later claimed she was "blissful."
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted, repeatedly, that their panel, which included Tom Brokaw and Lester Holt broke down: "Lester and I were remarking that 'No Drama Obama,' kept it together, none of the rest of us did."
The following exchanges occurred during NBC News' January 20, live coverage of the Obama Inauguration: