Fear Factor: 'Everybody Scared to Death of Clintons'

Chris Matthews was in full flight on today's Morning Joe, vividly expressing himself on everything from the historic shockwaves that an Obama Iowa victory would send, to Media Matters's role as a Hillary front, to the attitude of NewsBusters. But the Hardball host was especially animated in describing the way the Clintons use intimidation to keep people in line.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: In the world, in the universe, the biggest American political story of modern times if Obama wins the Iowa caucuses. It will be all over the world; it will sweep the headlines in every newspaper in the world: friend, foe or neutral. It will be the Third World story of the century, of the last century [Barack's Time Machine?], the biggest story of modern Third World history, really, if Obama wins the American presidential caucus in Iowa.

View video here.

A bit later . . .

WILLIE GEIST: Let's say [Hillary] does win [Iowa] though. Does she get her inevitability back?

MATTHEWS: Yeah, that's what they want. Then the intimidation and the fear factor, where everybody in Washington politics, in national politics, is scared to death of the Clintons, and they all jump in line and do what they're told because they want to be part of the winning operation.

MIKA BRZEZINKSI: And because they manipulate things that way? Or what are you saying?

MATTHEWS: They intimidate. You get little messages here [picking up Mika's Blackberry] from people in that organization.

BRZEZINKSI: And they're not all that nice at times.

MATTHEWS: And I get them from all the campaigns. And I was telling our bookers, wouldn't it be great if every night we celebrated the calls we get from the campaigns. Because if they think the press is tough and ruthless, which we're really not, they should hear the campaign flacks: "We're going to remember that as long as this campaign lasts. We heard what you said: we'll never forget that!"

And you say the most innocuous stuff. I can go on Hardball at night and knock every one of the candidates, and each candidate only hears the knock on them. And then Media Matters -- the Hillary website -- goes on every night "you know you hurt our feelings again." And NewsBusters comes on and says "you hurt our feelings again." Every day you get this . . . crap. Am I allowed to say that? Because that's what it is: c-r-a-p. That's nonsense!

Note that Matthews blithely describes Media Matters as "the Hillary website." Unsurprising, considering she has claimed credit for creating it. While Chris claims that NB also kvetches nightly, note that he does not associate us with any one campaign. We're proud to be equal-opportunity critics of the liberal media!

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.