Chris Matthews Accused of Sexism by Liberal Women's Advocate, Attacks Bachmann Fifth Day in a Row
The merciless attacks on Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) continued for the fifth day in a row on MSNBC's "Hardball" Monday.
These came despite a liberal women's rights advocate telling Fox New's Megyn Kelly hours earlier that Chris Matthews' treatment of the Congresswoman is sexist and "over the top" (video follows with transcripts and commentary):
MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Well, so much for toning down the rhetoric. Tea Party favorite Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann targeted and insulted again. Some are calling it now sexist name-calling. Take a listen to some yourself.
(Video clip of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews calling Bachmann a balloon head)
KELLY: Well, Jehmu Green is the former president of the Women’s Media Center, a former advisor to Hillary Clinton, and a Fox News contributor. Jehmu, thanks so much for being here.
JEHMU GREENE, FORMER PRESIDENT WOMEN’S MEDIA CENTER: Thanks for having me, Megyn.
KELLY: So, Chris Matthews has come under attack by a lot of folks on the Left for that comment and other comments he has made about Michele Bachmann, and the accusations are that his treatment of her is sexist, and so is the treatment of her we’ve seen by others in the media. And your thoughts on that?
GREENE: Well, one, it's not a surprise that this type of treatment is coming from Chris Matthews. I think if we were in high school, we would call it like it is -- he's a bully and his favorite target is women. It doesn't matter if Congresswoman Bachmann got all of the facts wrong. It doesn’t matter if she looks off into the wrong camera. She, Sarah Palin, just like Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, should not come under the types of attacks that we see coming particularly from Chris Matthews and, you know, we even saw it with Keith Olbermann when he talked in the 2008 election about someone taking then Senator Clinton out back to handle her. Yeah, this type of language is, is so detrimental, not just to political discourse, but the fact that women are 50 percent less likely to run for office. That's the impact it has. Women don't want to put themselves out there to come under these types of attacks and it doesn't matter if it's coming from the Left or the Right, it’s unacceptable.
KELLY: But is it a sexist attack or is it just, you know, an impolite attack? Because, you know, I've heard him and the other one, and they make attacks on men and women. It seems to be more on political partisan stripe than on gender.
GREENE: Actually, you know what? There are times that I have to walk away from my Twitter feed when it comes to Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin. My peers, my colleagues, who I agree with on the issues, but the type of like really vitriolic attacks that we see addressed at women and, you know, even coming from many women on the Left. We see this because I guess there's an expectation that they would live up to a certain set of standards on issues. And, I think their attacks that these women are facing go over the top, especially with Chris Matthews. We saw when MSNBC decided that he needed to be demoted from the anchor chair for election coverage and that he was strictly going to be a political commentator. It's because he crosses the line.
For those unfamiliar with Greene, she is the former president of the Women's Media Center, a nonprofit women’s advocacy group founded in 2005 by writers/activists Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem. Prior to that, she was an advisor to the Hillary Clinton for President campaign, as well as serving in various functions for the Democratic National Committee.
As such, this is hardly a friend to Republicans, and someone whose opinions the "Hardball" host should care about. Yet despite her accusations made at roughly 2:30 PM Eastern Time Monday, Matthews continued with his attacks on Bachmann hours later:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: When we return -- when I return -- "Let Me Finish" with a history lesson for Michele Bachmann.You’re watching HARDBALL -- she could use one here, she ought to be lucky we still don’t have literacy tests out there. You’re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
So now Matthews is suggesting Bachmann couldn't pass a literacy test! After a commercial break, he continued with the attack:
MATTHEWS: "Let Me Finish" tonight by putting a cap on that story that was running by us last week. It concerns the evil of slavery.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann who’s making forays into presidential politics these days which will definitely add to the color of the competition told a group in Iowa recently that our country’s Founders worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States. I think it was high time she said that we recognize the contribution of our Founders who worked tirelessly who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in our country. Well, to those watching whose forebears know more of the true, sad story of this part of our history, let me confirm what your parents and grandparents told you, perhaps in trying to explain how attitudes about race crept into our American culture.
Did the Founding Fathers work tirelessly to end slavery? Did they not rest until slavery was extinguished in this country? We’ll hear the facts. I have a high school history teacher, a close friend of mine to thank for leading me to these details.
George Washington owned more than 200 slaves, some say between 250 and 350.
Thomas Jefferson owned as many as 200, his wife having brought 100 to the marriage as her dowry.
James Madison, who drafted the Constitution, had over 100 slaves, had them all his life, didn’t even free them in his will.
James Monroe had about 75 slaves.
Andrew Jackson, about 160. John Tyler, 70. James Polk, 50 to 25. Zachary Taylor, up to 150 slaves.
Other presidents through those years, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison and Andrew Johnson also owned slaves. So, if you want to get your history from the congresswoman from Minnesota, that’s, of course, an option. Or you can check it out yourself.
Readers are reminded that this is now the fifth day in a row the "Hardball" host has felt it necessary to address what Bachmann said nine days prior at a Tea Party meeting in Iowa. Talk about beating a dead horse.
Sadder still was how Matthews once again chose to ignore how our Founding Fathers from the Northern colonies - in particular John Adams and Benjamin Franklin - put a no slavery clause in the original Declaration of Independence that was struck down by Southern representatives to the First Continental Congress.
If they hadn't acceded to the South's demands, the Declaration would never have happened.
And, as Bachmann alluded to, John Quincy Adams worked to abolish slavery right up until his death just fifteen years prior to the Emancipation Proclamation.
As such, no matter what Matthews says, there were INDEED Founding Fathers that worked tirelessly concerning this issue just as Bachmann claimed.
Yet Matthews continues his attacks on the Congresswoman.
Will anyone at MSNBC step in and put a stop to this, or are these kinds of sexist, vitriolic attacks acceptable at this cable network as long as they're directed at a conservative?