Chris Matthews Demonstrates Television's Version of the JournoList
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Wednesday demonstrated how the dissemination of Democrat talking points and marching orders via the JournoList can be far more effectively employed on television.
In a "Hardball" segment about a new Democratic National Committee ad that looks to connect the GOP with the "more extreme elements" of the Tea Party, Matthews chatted with Republican strategist Todd Harris and the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress's Jennifer Palmieri about whether the strategy will work.
What was most interesting was how Matthews, almost like a JournoLister, seemed to be drawing from a discussion he had with his panelists on last weekend's syndicated program bearing his name.
Before we get there, here's the relevant discussion with Harris and Palmieri (videos follow with transcripts and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Do you think it would be smarter to say that the Tea Party people are somewhat deranged? I mean, these are different ideologically.
TODD HARRIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, just say it.
MATTHEWS: People disagree about it. But I don`t think going after the opposing Wall Street reform is credible.
Here`s a question. You got people, like Sharron Angle, who say they want to have Second Amendment remedies, if you don`t like Congress, like pull a gun out and shoot the Congress. You got people, like Bachmann, who want McCarthy -- Joe McCarthy tactics.
JENNIFER PALMIERI, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Right.
MATTHEWS: You got a lot of crazy screw balls out. They`re not screw balls necessarily, it`s people.
PALMIERI: No. Right.
MATTHEWS: But their ideas are. Why don`t you -- why didn`t your party go after the screw balls and say the Republicans are in bed with these nuts?
PALMIERI: Well, I think that was the point --
MATTHEWS: But this doesn`t do that.
PALMIERI: Apparently you think they could have executed that better.
PALMIERI: But they -- I don`t think you get more unpopular with privatizing Social Security and Medicare. But they have --
MATTHEWS: You can`t defend your screw ball wing, can you?
HARRIS: Look, both parties have ample supplies of screw balls, both sides.
PALMIERI: Not so much on our side these days.
HARRIS: Oh, please. Please. The fact is the only people this cycle talking about repealing the 17th Amendment --
HARRIS: -- is the Democratic National Committee.
MATTHEWS: They want to give right to life to senators.
PALMIERI: Mike Pence is the chairman of the Republican Caucus and he`s part of the Tea Party Caucus. This is where the Republican leadership, Michele Bachmann, is likely to be a committee chair.
MATTHEWS: All the birthers joined -- all the birthers are joining. (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: How can you -- that you`re laughing. You`re laughing at the nuts (ph). You got these crazy ladies and men in the attic, and you say, don`t go up in the attic. That`s your solution.
HARRIS: Look, Marco Rubio who probably -- who was on the cover of the --
MATTHEWS: Who`s his consultant?
HARRIS: Right. Exactly. Marco Rubio was on the cover of "The New York Times" magazine with the headline "The First Senator from the Tea Party Movement." I`ve never heard Marco talked about repealing the 17th Amendment. He doesn`t talk about it. Marco doesn`t talk about ending Medicare. He says we need entitlement reform.
PALMIERI: But Sharron Angle does, and Rand Paul does, and you have like House Republican leadership --
MATTHEWS: You want Tea Party support four candidate?
HARRIS: Of course.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s the point. You got to defend them.
PALMIERI: Yes, that`s the problem.
HARRIS: Look, the average person who shows -- "The New York Times" did a huge survey of the Tea Party Movement.
MATTHEWS: Can you get nine votes without defending nuts?
HARRIS: Hold on. Hold on.
MATTHEWS: I mean, I`m asking a philosophical question.
HARRIS: The overwhelming majority -- I`m not going to defend, you know, if someone is racist and shows up at a Tea Party rally, I`m not going to defend that. But the overwhelming majority of people who are involved in the Tea Party Movement are upset about spending, they`re upset about the health care takeover, and they`re frustrated because they feel like their government is not listening to them. That`s what is driving people out to these rallies and if the Democrats want to piss a little of those people --
MATTHEWS: -- your side here. Does it offend you as a Republican, a sane Republican, that your candidate to defeat Harry Reid, the head of the Democratic Party in the Senate, believes in people using gunplay if they don`t like Congress?
HARRIS: Well, look, I didn`t see what her quote is.
MATTHEWS: She said, use Second Amendment remedies if you don`t like what Congress is doing.
MATTHEWS: She`s your candidate to knock off Harry Reid.
Now, here's what was discussed on last weekend's "The Chris Matthews Show" concerning how the Democrats can possibly thwart losing one or both chambers of Congress this November:
MATTHEWS: And here's the professional challenge for the White House. They got a challenge here. They know what we just said. What are they going to do about it?
Mr. HOWARD FINEMAN (Newsweek Senior Washington Correspondent): There's not, frankly, that much to brag about, so what they're going to have to do, and what they will do is focus on Republicans both generally and generically and individually. They're going to say that individual Republicans are literally crazy, whether it's Sharron Angle...
MATTHEWS: They got a few cases.
Mr. FINEMAN: They have some cases that they can at least argue that. And more-and they're going to focus on individual ones. There's the pointillistic approach. But there's also the general one, which is going to say, `You can't take us back to the future with tax cuts and no regulation.'
Mr. FINEMAN: And that's going to be the argument. Whether it'll sell or not-I think what they're really trying to do, Chris, is to depress the turnout of the independents that Amy's talking about. In other words, poison the well with those people who want-independents who want to vote...
MATTHEWS: So smart. How do they do that? How do they do that?
Mr. FINEMAN: Just give them a lot of bad information about the Republicans.
MATTHEWS: In other words, if people were stock, and they go-John, they're stock.
Mr. JOHN HEILEMANN (New York). Yeah.
MATTHEWS: They go, `I don't like the way things are so I don't feel like voting Democrat. I don't like the Republicans because they weren't so good last time, but I see them coming at me, I don't like that. I'm just not going to-I'm going to go get a beer tonight. I'm not going to vote.'
Mr. HEILEMANN: Go have a beer. Go have a beer.
MATTHEWS: Is that making sense as a strategy?
Mr. HEILEMANN: It's about-it's about one of the few strategies available to them. And, you know, there's a wise-there's a wise political philosophy-there's a-there's a-there's a wise political philosopher somewhere who said something like, you know, that trying to get-you're getting-when you go to the voting booth, you're saying yes to something. You're pulling the lever in favor of saying yes. There aren't many people in the country right now that want to say yes to the Democratic Party.
Mr. HEILEMANN: So if that's the case, make them want to say no to Dem-to Republicans as much as they want to say no to Democrats.
MATTHEWS: Which means don't vote.
Mr. HEILEMANN: And if they don't want to say-if they want to say no to both of them, they say to hell with this, they stay home, and maybe you'll limit losses that way.
MATTHEWS: That's called voter suppression.
So, last Friday when TCMS was taped, Matthews asked his guests - which included Newsweek's Fineman, New York magazine's Heilemann, and AJC's Tucker - what the Democrat strategy should be to avoid catastrophe this November.
The conclusion was THEIR Party - let's not kid ourselves! - has no other choice but to just play defense and attack Republicans whenever possible in order to suppress votes.
As if on cue, the DNC released the following ad late Tuesday:
Now, five days after his chat with Fineman et al, Matthews basically discussed the same exact strategy on MSNBC while chatting with a member of the ultra-left-wing, George Soros-funded activist group the Center for American Progress.
Kind of JournoListic, wouldn't you say?