Chris Matthews Calls Africa a 'Country'

What's gotten into the NBC/MSNBC water?  Chris Matthews's verbal miscue on this evening's Hardball makes a triple-header of gaffes on the family of networks today.  As we've noted, Joe Scarborough kicked off the slip parade, unintentionally dropping an f-bomb on Morning Joe.  About an hour later on Today, Meredith Vieira stumbled into asking Matt Lauer a question that invoked the uncomfortable subject of his rocky marital history.  And now, discussing Sarah Palin's political future, Matthews committed the same stumble that an unscrupulous staffer claims the vice-presidential candidate made: calling Africa a country. [H/t anonymous reader.]

Matthews made his mistake in the course of posing a question to Larry Persily, a former member of Palin's gubernatorial staff.

 

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I've got to go to Larry first. You've got to answer this question, sir.  Is this person unaware of basic grade-school information, like, Africa is a country of 57-or-so countries, it is not a country, it's a continent? South Africa is a country, not a region. 

Clearly, this was no more than a slip of the Matthews tongue [we wouldn't want to unfairly undermine Chris's incipient Senate run].  After calling Africa a country, he went on to call it a continent.  But it ironically illustrates how the alleged Palin knowledge gap might well have been nothing more than a similar slip. 

Before the camera cuts away, Persily can be seen smiling wryly at Chris's miscue.  For the record, Persily answered that he didn't think it was plausible that Gov. Palin is unaware of the kind of information Matthews described.

Speaking of mistakes . . . note Matthews's reference to Africa's 57 countries.  Could that be what Barack Obama had in mind when he spoke of  having visited 57 states in the USA?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.