Chris Matthews, once again, abandoned any notion he was serious about establishing a new tone of political civility in the wake of the Tucson shooting, as on Wednesday's Hardball he compared former Speaker of the House and possible GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich to a terrorist as he screeched "He looks like a car bomber" and even described him in demonic terms, adding: "He's got that crazy Mephistophelian grin of his. He looks like he loves torturing."
The following Matthews rants came during a discussion about possible GOP presidential contenders with the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page and The Huffington Post's Sam Stein on the March 2 Hardball:
Chris Matthews has yet to condemn Democratic Wisconsin State Representative Gordon Hintz for yelling "You're f–ing dead!" at Republican State Representative Michelle Litjens during a legislative session on Friday, but the Hardball host did find the time, on Tuesday's show, to slam Speaker of the House John Boehner for engaging in "Glenn Beck talk" about guns.
Matthews, initially teasing a guest for using the word "lethal" in a discussion about recent poll numbers on the Wisconsin budget battle, chided: "In the media world, I think we all agreed...after the horror in Arizona that we weren't gonna...use ballistic terms." The MSNBC host then segued into a clip of Boehner making a gun reference, after which he railed: "What is this Glenn Beck talk?...That's how Glenn talks. 'I'm gonna put a gun to your head' and all this!" This led Huffington Post's Howard Fineman to tag in: "Well when John Boehner back slides, he really back slides."
To review, a Democrat man cursing at a Republican woman "You're f--ing dead" isn't worth mentioning in Matthews' mind, but if you dare make a political metaphor referring to weapons (something Matthews himself has done) that's objectionable.
Actress Meredith Baxter, best known for her role as Elyse Keaton on the '80s NBC hit Family Ties, returned to the Today show set where, back in 2009, she announced she was gay and told Matt Lauer, on Tuesday morning, that her self-revelation could've been something, in her view, much more shocking - she may have realized she was "a Republican."
On to promote Untied, Baxter was asked by Lauer if she had "come to terms with everything" after having written the book, to which she responded: "I realized I was so un-self-examined I could have been a Republican, but you know, thank goodness I'm just gay. So that's much better, don't you think?"
NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, on Tuesday's Today show, had no problem labeling Republican governors like Scott Walker, "conservative," but for some reason just couldn't get his lips to utter the word "liberal" when referring to the President.
In a piece about Barack Obama meeting with the nation's governors, Todd observed that in his first two years in office "when the President was desperate for bipartisan support" he turned "to some Republican governors but a lot of the moderates are gone among that group" adding that now there was "a conservative force in the states." Todd then went on to note that moderate Republicans like Charlie Crist and Arnold Schwarzenegger were being replaced by "conservative warriors like Wisconsin's Scott Walker" but he never attached a single liberal label to the President or any of his policies.
NBC's Mike Taibbi, on Saturday's Today show, portrayed the pro-labor union protestors in Wisconsin in almost heroic terms as he hailed "The crowds of overnight campers and protestors keep up their vigils. A weary resolve still evident" and depicted them as victims that were "taking the hits." On the other hand the GOP was painted as the bad guys with Taibbi detailing "Republicans used an obscure rule allowing them to end all debate" and "have tried other means of persuasion, suspending direct deposit of the Democrats' paychecks, even sending state police to several of their local homes."
Taibbi's piece was also peppered with pro-union soundbites including a Democratic state senator calling the budget bill "backwards" and a protestor cheering, "we are getting worn out but we are stronger than ever." Taibbi also aired various clips of protestors chanting "Shame! Shame!" "Scott Walker has got to go!" and "Yes we can" but allowed only one voice of dissent from the other side, with the aforementioned Governor Walker getting a brief clip to announce: "Enough time has passed. It's time to come back and have a vote on this measure."
Chris Matthews went off the deep end on Wednesday's Hardball as he accused conservative talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck of demonstrating "ethnic disdain" for the First Family and even charged former Arkansas Governor and current Fox News host Mike Huckabee of wanting to ethnically cleanse Arabs from the West Bank.
Right after a discussion about Republican contenders like John Thune and Chris Christie not entering the presidential race, Matthews told his GOP strategist guest Todd Harris "You are being left with the crazies now" like Huckabee who Matthews charged wants to "clear out all the Arabs in the West Bank, just get rid of them all!...Talk about ethnic cleansing? He says he's gonna do it."
Then Matthews immediately turned to a clip of Rush Limbaugh critiquing Michelle Obama's health push and claimed the talk show host wasn't merely making fun of nanny state politics, but that there was something more sinister involved as he went on to accuse Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and their listeners of being racist, as seen in the following rant:
New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie stopped by the Today show, on Wednesday morning, to educate viewers and NBC's Ann Curry about the problems of public employee unions and explained that when it comes to getting government costs under control sometimes you just have to say no. Curry mostly questioned Christie from the left, as she asked if there was "a coordinated" GOP agenda to make unions "scapegoats" for a problem "created by Wall Street" and the "banks" and suggested that "in some ways it doesn't sort of make sense...that the unions really are to blame."
For his part, Christie responded: "It's an issue of wanting to say yes all the time as a public official. You know you never want to say no to anybody because 'Oh you're much more popular if you say yes.' Well you know what? It's time we have to start saying no to certain things to be able to say yes to the things that will help to grow our economy and create a more prosperous future."
A confounded Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's Hardball, couldn't get his head around the concept of Texas allowing 21-year-olds on college campuses to carry concealed weapons to defend themselves, as he repeatedly threw out scenarios, seemingly from TV, movies and his own imagination, of crazed students with guns.
Fortunately Texas State Senator Jeff Wentworth was on hand to repeatedly and ably clarify and correct Matthews of his misconceptions. In fact Matthews was so bewildered by Wentworth's command of the facts that by the end of the interview he admitted his own anti-gun bias as he blurted: "I don't know. It's a strange world you're getting us into Senator. Maybe it's cultural, maybe it's cowboys and Indians. I live in a city, I think it's strange."
First up Matthews, drawing from his expertise in old TV and movie Westerns, questioned Wentworth if he thought it was okay for college students to bring guns "into saloons" to which the state senator had to notify Matthews that bars weren't even allowed on Texas campuses.
NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, on Monday's Today show, lumped the Wisconsin and federal budget fights together and depicted the Republicans, in both cases, as being on the defensive. Starting in Wisconsin O'Donnell reported that over the weekend "Protesters backing union workers vented anger" but didn't mention the Tea Party had a counter-protest. Then O'Donnell, moving to the budget struggle on Capitol Hill, passed along Democratic talking points as she reported: "Democrats claim Republicans are too stubborn and their budget cuts too severe" and advanced: "The '90s government shutdown, with empty offices and closed national parks, left the Republican majority then with real political damage. A cautionary tale today."
O'Donnell aired sound bites from Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer on the offensive, warning against a government shutdown with Schumer charging Speaker John Boehner with being "reckless." However when it came to the GOP side O'Donnell aired a clip of Senator Tom Coburn defensively admitting: "It's good for political rhetoric to talk about a government shutdown, but I don't know anybody that wants that to happen."
A buoyant Chris Matthews popped into the Today show studio, on Monday morning, to hype his MSNBC documentary on Bill Clinton's post-presidency and he didn't spare a platitude as he claimed that Clinton is "bigger than the host country president" wherever he goes, is as active as the "Energizer Bunny" and unapologetically offered: "It's right to do a good story about a good guy."
To her credit substitute host Savannah Guthrie, who conducted the interview, actually did poke Matthews a bit when she pressed: "So a lot of people are asking has Chris Matthews gone soft on President Clinton?" To which Matthews sheepishly responded: "That's very nice of you to bring that up. I love film criticism from a colleague," but then lamely rationalized it's "been 10 years" and revealed his personal reason for producing the documentary: "About four years ago my son got out of Brown and he went to work in Africa making sure that the drugs, the AIDS drugs, the cocktails got to the actual people from the donors. And somebody has to make sure that happens. That's the Clinton Global Initiative."
Matthews did theorize the reason for Clinton's post-presidential advocacy was that "it may be to make up for things that went wrong...Obviously Monica and all that stuff," but then quickly returned to singing his praises this way:
Chris Matthews, in the wake of the Tucson shootings, went on a tear against the likes of Sarah Palin who used what he called "gun play" language, yet on Wednesday's Hardball, Matthews uttered phrases against public figures that he, himself, would've considered incendiary had a conservative said them.
In his "Let Me Finish" segment Matthews issued a "call to arms" against George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and others who were responsible for the "unpatriotic way this country was marched to war." Matthews then proceeded to give out the Capitol Switchboard phone number, urged his viewers to call their senator and instructed them on what to say, before concluding his rant with a demand for "nationally televised hearings" to find out why the Bush administration started "a war for a reason they knew wasn't true."
A defensive Joe Scarborough showed up on Tuesday's Hardball, to tell off all his Republican doubters as he defiantly declared: "I'm more ideologically conservative" than most on Capitol Hill "but because I don't hate the President...that makes me a liberal." The MSNBC host of Morning Joe was pressed to place himself on the ideological spectrum as even Chris Matthews wasn't sure where he stood, which gave Scarborough the opportunity to write-off those who question his conservative credentials as "sad and pathetic" Obama haters.
On Monday's Hardball Chris Matthews, who devoted much of last week's shows to Egypt, got caught up on some conservative bashing as he mocked those who attended CPAC as "zany" and likened the conference to a "carnival act." The MSNBC host, joined by fellow liberals David Corn of Mother Jones magazine and Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, led the show by describing the event as a "right wing jamboree that puts the zany in the same room as the zanier."
Pivoting off the Chris Lee resignation story NBC's Meredith Vieira, on Friday's Today show, declared it was a "rough week for the Republicans" noting that "they've seen several of their bills defeated in the House." Vieira, who was joined by David Gregory, also questioned "How big of a setback is this for the party?" Gregory, for his part, did at least acknowledge the reason some of the bills were defeated was because freshmen Republicans were actually keeping to their campaign promises but then went on to note the GOP had "a lot more cohesion" when they were in the minority.
The following segment was aired on the February 11 Today show:
NBC's Meredith Vieira, on Thursday's Today show, challenged former Minnesota Republican Governor and potential presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty for daring to call Barack Obama a fiscal "chicken" as she (citing his Democratic successor Mark Dayton) accused him of not being a fiscal conservative. After Vieira initially questioned if Pawlenty had the requisite "star quality" to run for President, she then threw the words of the current Democratic governor of Minnesota in his face, as seen in the following question:
VIEIRA: Let's talk about, you know you're a self-proclaimed fiscal conservative and you criticized the President after his State of the Union Address. You basically called him a chicken, that's the word you used, for failing to address real fiscal issues in this country. But your successor in Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton, has criticized you for leaving a $6.2 billion deficit. Last night in his State of the State Address, he said that he was left with a horrendous fiscal mess and state agencies poorly managed. So what makes you better-equipped to run the nation's economy, if you left your own house in such disarray?
For his part, Pawlenty responded that the Cato Institute had just given him a grade of "A" for his financial stewardship of Minnesota, to which Vieira followed up by asking if the GOP was in need of reconciliation because of the Tea Party's demands for "even more severe budget cuts."
Chris Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, really laid it on thick in his tease for his upcoming special on Bill Clinton's post presidency as he exalted :"Other American presidents have done things before, after leaving office, but nothing on this level or planetary scope" and glorified: "We've never had a world leader like this before!" The MSNBC ad for the documentary, entitled Bill Clinton: President of the World, already treats the former president as a superhero and Matthews, in this end of show pitch, continued that motif when he promised viewers: "When you see it all put together, you'll believe what a phenomenon, what a story that's here that hasn't been covered in its real dimension, power and positive force."
Of course speaking about the 42nd president in such reverent tones isn't anything new for Matthews as the MSNBC commentator once compared Clinton to Jesus Christ.
NBC's Matt Lauer seemed shocked that Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, during his Super Bowl interview, actually asked Barack Obama about his opponents hating him, as the Today co-anchor, on Wednesday, in an exclusive interview with the First Lady questioned: "Do you think people hate your husband, even on the far right?" Michelle Obama initially deflected the question as she simply responded: "I'm sure that there are some people who don't like my husband" because "You're not gonna please everybody all the time." Lauer, however continued to press the issue as he asked: "There is obviously extreme criticism" and went on to wonder if it had changed the President as he questioned is he "the same guy today as he was two years ago?"
In an interview that touched on a wide range of topics from Egypt to the President's smoking habits and to the First Lady's anti-obesity campaign, Lauer did ask a tough question on the economy, even reading from a viewer's e-mail who asked Mrs. Obama for her advice for job seekers, as he pressed: "If there is someone out there...who is unemployed...do you expect that person to support your husband in 2012?"
CNBC's Jim Cramer appeared with Matt Lauer, on Tuesday's Today show to pronounce that big business is warming to President Obama as he cheered: "This is a new president. The market is up 12 percent since he changed his ways. He doesn't say he's changed his ways, but boy business sure feels he has." Cramer even went on to predict the economy would be recovered by the 2012 election as Obama was: "Making people feel more comfortable spending, he's making companies feel more comfortable spending." However, at no point did Cramer or Lauer suggest a GOP controlled House, that will be a block against business-stifling legislation like cap and trade and Obamacare, as a reason businesses may be feeling more "comfortable."
Lauer began the segment saying America initially hailed Obama's anti-business stance as he offered: "A year ago the President was bashing Wall Street, talking about the fat cats and their bonuses. And you know what? People all across this country agreed with him," but then questioned the host of Mad Money, "now we're hearing a very different tone. Is this all about the fact that jobs have not come back as quickly as people want?"
Those who admired Ronald Reagan may want to steer clear of tonight's HBO documentary on the former president if that film's director's comments, on Monday's Hardball, are an indication of how slanted the project will be, as he denied many of Reagan's historic accomplishments. From reinvigorating the economy to defeating the Soviet Union, Eugene Jarecki, who also wrote the film, was egged on by MSNBC host Chris Matthews to disallow the 40th president much of his legacy as he charged Reagan's economic policies "hurt the very people he sought...to most help" and claimed the idea he ended the Cold War was "a myth."
Matthews, wasted no time in getting Jarecki to slam Reagan's policies, as seen in the following exchange:
It's rare when Chris Matthews is outdone in his praise of Barack Obama but Time's Mark Halperin, on Thursday's Hardball, managed to top the MSNBC host as he delivered a rave review of Barack Obama's performance at the National Prayer Breakfast. After playing a clip of the speech, Matthews merely offered a "That's pretty good" but the Game Change co-author did him one better, going as far to warn any GOP candidate considering a presidential run in 2012 to study the address because it had"a level of sophistication and skill that not one Republican on the field right now can duplicate."
Andrea Mitchell, for a second day in a row, pushed for more gun control on her MSNBC show as she encouraged Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, "You and Mike Bloomberg...have all been yelling and screaming," about more restrictive anti-gun measures, "Somebody's got to listen in Washington." Initially invited on Thursday's Andrea Mitchell Reports to discuss the Obama administration's push for more green jobs, Nutter wasn't allowed to finish the segment without Mitchell pressing him: "As a big city mayor, what are you saying to the White House about waiting for this gun control speech we keep hearing about?"
On yesterday's show Mitchell expressed disappointment, to the aformentioned New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, that Barack Obama had "absolutely nothing, not one word....not even a sentence" in his State of the Union speech about gun control.
With a script and a dramatic voice over befitting a trailer for the latest superhero movie out of Hollywood, one of the first promos for Chris Matthews' documentary on Bill Clinton has begun airing on MSNBC. The ad begins with an announcer teasing viewers, "His presidency was over, his mission just beginning" and then goes on to tell the story of a post-presidential Clinton achieving universal adulation complete with shots of adoring crowds and accolades from the likes of Tony Blair and of course Matthews, who shrieks like a fan boy: "You're like a one man Peace Corps!"
Even the Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey shows up, narrating a scene he was once witness to: "And they were yelling 'Peacemaker! Peacemaker!'"
In just one segment, on Tuesday's Hardball, host Chris Matthews managed to hypocritically use violent "gun play" language, attack Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin and even likened the Tea Party to the Muslim Brotherhood. Matthews, who made many absurd pronouncements on tonight's show, saved his zaniest comment for the Tea Party as he actually compared their potential primary challenges of Republicans to the Muslim Brotherhood going after Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, as he asked GOP strategist John Feehery: "So the Muslim Brotherhood has a parallel role here with the Tea Party, they're the ones who keep you honest and decide whether you've stayed too long?"
Before that charge, Matthews, who has frequently condemned Sarah Palin for her use of "gun play" language, used his own violent imagery to depict a struggle between the GOP and the Tea Party. In a teaser, Matthews claimed "the Tea Party is out for scalps" and then in the ensuing segment questioned if, by joining with the Tea Party, the GOP was "dancing while they shoot at their feet here?"
Matthews also went after some of his favorite targets, Bachmann and Palin, as he accused the Minnesota Congresswoman of "strange behavior" and applauded his Republican guest for thinking the former Alaska governor wasn't "worth anything."
Andrea Mitchell invited on DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, on Tuesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports, to announce the Democrats have picked Charlotte, North Carolina to host their 2012 convention but the MSNBC host couldn't resist hitting Kaine from the left as she scolded Democrats for selecting a right-to-work state. Mitchell, taking up for Big Labor, even challenged Kaine: "I defy you to find a labor hotel for these delegates, for all the AFL-CIO folks coming to Charlotte."
The following exchange was aired on the February 1 edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports:
Time magazine's Bryan Walsh couldn't write up a story on the need for more electricity in developing countries without shoe-horning in a dire warning about climate change.
In a January 31st story entitled "Building a Country by Switching on the Lights," Walsh initially warned readers that in addition to the problems of fighting malaria and improving infrastructure that there was "a blind spot that does more than almost anything to keep the poor poor: they don't have electric power" but he then gravely added: "At the same time, the reality of climate change means that even the developing world needs to look for cleaner sources of energy because Western-style growth driven by fossil fuels could lead to catastrophe."
NBC's Today show never covered Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen comparing Republicans to Nazis, but on Friday co-anchor Meredith Vieira determined Sarah Palin's mocking of Barack Obama's Winning the Future slogan as the precise moment when the new era of "civility" in Washington, came to an end. After Vieira opened this morning's show announcing: "End of civility? Sarah Palin takes a shot at President Obama's call for winning the future...is the new tone of togetherness in Washington already over?" she brought on MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell to chastise Palin and Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann:
"[Palin] really struggles with that sounding presidential thing. It's a real challenge for her. And you know, look it's, it's as weird as it gets. But really if you are looking for a lack of civility or the argumentative stuff...this week you really have to go to Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. No one else is doing it."
In a segment entitled "Remember Civility? Why Are Palin & GOP Stepping Up Criticism?" O'Donnell and Vieira took turns bashing the former Alaska Governor and Minnesota Congresswoman as seen in the follow January 28 exchange:
In what was perhaps a move to make Barack Obama appear more moderate than he is, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, on Thursday's Today show, played up a "rift" between him and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid over government spending. In her piece, O'Donnell hyped that Reid was "calling out the White House" on his State of the Union claim that he would veto any bill with earmarks in it.
The NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent featured an interview she had with Reid in which the Nevada senator claimed Obama was merely going for "an applause line" when he criticized pork barrel spending and charged that the President "should just back off. He's got enough to do without messing in what we do."
NBC's Today show, on Wednesday, used the occasion of two responses to Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, by Republicans Paul Ryan and Michele Bachmann, as an opportunity to portray the GOP as a party divided. Despite a historic victory by Republicans in last year's midterm elections NBC anchors, past and present, on this morning's Today show, took pains to portray the Republican Party in dire trouble with co-anchor Matt Lauer questioning if the party was "split" and "heading in different directions" and Meredith Vieira wondering if there was "a divide." Even former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw got into the act as he claimed the GOP was locked in a "two front war" against Democrats and the Tea Party.
NBC's White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie kicked off the GOP "divide" theme when she declared "Republicans had what amounted to dueling responses" in her set-up piece to a Lauer interview with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In that segment Lauer pressed Giuliani "Do you worry...that as we approach the next election in 2012...that the Republican Party is split and heading in different directions," as seen in the following exchange:
It appears NBC's Matt Lauer is not happy about Barack Obama's failure to exploit the Tucson shooting to push for more gun control as on Wednesday's Today show, he seemingly expressed disappointment to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani that the President "missed" an "opportunity" to address it in his State of the Union speech.
Lauer's anti-gun question to Giuliani came on the heels of his pushing White House senior advisor, on yesterday's show, to reveal if Obama would join current NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg in making a push for more gun control. On this morning's Today show, Lauer went even further, as he, in addition to throwing Bloomberg's words in Giuliani's face, also read directly from a Brady Center press release, as seen in the following January 26 exchange:
In previewing the President's State of the Union Address, on Tuesday's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer pushed White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, mostly from the left, as he pressed her to reveal if Obama would "directly address gun control" and asked if Obama's appointment of business leaders to his team, risked "alienating some more liberal voters...who don't like big business."
Appearing in the 7am half hour of this morning's show, Jarrett was questioned by the Today co-anchor if the President was moved, in the wake of the Tuscon shootings, to join New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's effort to push for "tougher gun laws," as seen in the following exchange: