Matthews Confuses Cummings With Clyburn

What is it with MSNBC hosts and their inability to keep prominent African-Americans straight?  As NewsBuster Kyle Drennen noted, last year Contessa Brewer confused Jesse Jackson with Al Sharpton.

Tonight it was Chris Matthews' turn.  Introducing Dem congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the Hardball host called him "Congressman Clyburn," a reference to James Clyburn of South Carolina, currently engaged in a Dem leadership fight with Steny Hoyer. View video after the jump.



Watch an embarassed Matthews try to recover from his flub, but only manage to make things worse . . .

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Congressman Clyburn, your view—I mean Congressman Cummings. I'm sorry.

Cummings couldn't have been more gracious.

ELIJAH CUMMINGS: That's quite a compliment, by the way.

MATTHEWS: I know. It ought to be. He's running for whip.

Oddly, a bit later Matthews managed to insult Cummings again.  Here's how he introduced a video clip of Clyburn.

MATTHEWS: We're going to have the real James Clyburn coming up in this shot.  We don't have him on the show tonight.  We got to settle for you, Mr. Cummings.

NOTE: Cummings wasn't Matthews' only mistaken identity of the evening.  From the show intro: "“The fight for number two leader is between the party moderate Steny Hoyer and the party’s highest-ranking African-American James Clyburn.”

Steny Hoyer: "moderate"?  Steny Hoyer.  Lifetime American Conservative Union rating, 7%.  2009 rating from leftist Americans for Democratic Action: 100%. In fact, Hoyer's American Conservative Rating is slightly lower than even Clyburn's. Guess that makes Clyburn an "ultra-conservative" in Chris' book ;-)

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.