Matthews: Unlike MSNBC and CNN 'There's Absolutely No Debate' on Fox News

Last night it was the Republican Party that was caught in the crosshairs of Chris Matthews, which he accused of being too "narrow." Well on Tuesday's Hardball, the MSNBC host turned his sights on Fox News and charged that on their airwaves "there's absolutely no debate." During a segment in which Matthews invited on NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd to break down the latest poll numbers on Obamacare Matthews offered up the following explanation as to why it remains so unpopular: [audio available here]

CHRIS MATTHEWS: You know, you know on this network, on this network if you listen to this network, there's a lot of debate on MSNBC about this health care bill. Left versus center-left, whatever.

CHUCK TODD: Sure.

MATTHEWS: For it or against it, on all points. Same with CNN. But there's another network, Fox out there, where there's absolutely no debate. It's just trashed every single...has there ever been a bill in history before the Congress, where an entire network on television has blasted it every day for more than a year? That's kind of negative, negative - I just wonder whether we've ever seen anything like this?

The following is the full exchange as it was aired on the March 16 Hardball:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball. We have a brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out tonight with good news and some bad news for President Obama on health care. Thirty-six percent now say his plan is a good idea. That's five points better than January. But 48 percent still say it's a bad idea. So not that good, the news, and the President's approval rating in the same category it's up a bit at 41 percent. That's three points better than January. But still, it's on the down side, 57 percent still disapprove of his performance. NBC News political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd joins us right now, it's on the health care issue, joins us now with more.

...

MATTHEWS: And I want to talk about because we just got these numbers in now. If you're sitting in the White House and you're David Axelrod or one of the smart guys there, are you happy with these numbers?

CHUCK TODD: You're not. But they-

MATTHEWS: Have they begun to move in your direction or not?

TODD: But they do feel as if these are improved numbers. They know that they've done a poor job of selling this thing. Whether you want to talk about Congress getting involved in process stories. You know this whole, the latest being how they're doing, how they're going, the House is gonna pass the Senate bill. Or the fact that it seems as if the President himself was stuck figuring out how to sell health care and now of course it's all about health insurance. And ever since he's kicked it into campaign mode you have seen evidence, little up-ticks in at least Democrats rallying around their President and that's perhaps the most important part of this movement.

MATTHEWS: You know, you know on this network, on this network if you listen to this network, there's a lot of debate on MSNBC about this health care bill. Left versus center-left, whatever.

TODD: Sure.

MATTHEWS: For it or against it, on all points. Same with CNN. But there's another network, Fox out there, where there's absolutely no debate. It's just trashed every single...has there ever been a bill in history before the Congress, where an entire network on television has blasted it every day for more than a year? That's kind of negative, negative - I just wonder whether we've ever seen anything like this?

TODD: Well I say this, you know-

MATTHEWS: Forget if it's Fox...

TODD: No, no. I mean I think what's been different about this bill and I think that the lessons learned here for Congress is gonna be there is a greater engagement on the process of how bills become a law.

MATTHEWS: But isn't a lot of it just negative?

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.