Chris Matthews was tremendously impressed by an obviously political photo-op Barack Obama did Thursday at a bridge connecting Ohio and Kentucky where he pushed for his jobs bill to be passed so that a new modern span could be erected between the two states.
Not at all surprisingly, the "Hardball" host failed to tell his viewers that there's absolutely no mention of this bridge in the President's bill (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Build bridges. Look at that great graphic there. Welcome back to Hardball. For months, I've been saying President Obama should identify construction projects, especially bridges where American workers can build, baby, build. Roads that need fixing, bridges that are in danger of collapsing, and dare the Republicans to vote against these projects and the jobs they create in their home areas.
Well, today President Obama went all the way, took his fight for jobs on the road, conveniently to a location connecting the home of, the home states of, I should say, Speaker John Boehner, Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The Brent Spence Bridge, there it is coming up on the screen, connects Cincinnati, Ohio, with Covington, Kentucky, and has been deemed functionally obsolete by the federal government.
It was built in the 1960s to accommodate 80,000 cars a day, but today more than 170,000 cars travel over it, sort of. They get congested every day. Well, today the President called on Republicans to pass his jobs bill.
A clip of President Obama speaking at the bridge was then aired. After it concluded:
MATTHEWS: Well, Senator Sherrod Brown's a Democrat from Ohio. Welcome, Senator. You're the kind of Democrat I get, because you seem to be a guy that would like to get people working. And also, I think what the President's talking about, getting work done that needs to get done. Not just the demand for work, but the supply of jobs out there that need to be filled. If these bridges are below code, if you got a traffic congestion that can't be dealt with any other way, you need a new bridge. It seems to be a logical way to make a case for job creation.
Honestly, the stupidity on display here not just by Matthews but all involved in this segment is staggering.
Early on, a picture of the cover of Thursday's Cincinnati Enquirer was shown so that viewers could see what the Brent Spence Bridge looked like. Prominently displayed on that cover was the headline "Obama's Visit Won't Help Bridge":
A presidential visit is a big deal, but will it actually guarantee funding for the aged and overused Brent Spence Bridge?
Not really, say transportation experts and highway officials. [...]
The [President's jobs] bill itself contains no mention of the Brent Spence bridge, or any other specific projects. Even if the bill is passed, it's not clear funding included in the bill for stimulus or the creation of a national infrastructure bank would ever reach the bridge.
That's because if the point of the jobs bill is to create jobs now, then the Brent Spence Bridge may make a nice backdrop for a speech, but it's not the best example of a shovel-ready project.
According to highway officials in Ohio and Kentucky, the bridge is still in the preliminary engineering and environmental clearance phase. In a best case scenario, the earliest that workers would be hired would be in 2013, but more likely 2015.
So, according to the paper serving this region, there's nothing in the President's bill that specifically addresses this bridge, and even if there were, there'd be no jobs impact in the region until "likely 2015."
Not surprisingly, Matthews didn't mention a word about this, and instead gave viewers the impression that the President's visit was doing something wonderful for this area by trying to get funding for a bridge project that would immediately create jobs.
Wouldn't a real journalist, knowing that there was an article written about this very subject by a paper serving one of the city's involved, have shared with his viewers what was reported in said article? Or would that be inconvenient as it would expose the hypocrisy of this presidential visit thereby undermining the man that gives Matthews tingles up his leg?
It's stuff like this that more and more makes me wonder if what I'm watching on MSNBC are reruns of Weekend Update on "Saturday Night Live" because this unprofessional nonsense bears absolutely no resemblance to anything even remotely worthy of being called "news."
Mr. Matthews, you should be ashamed of yourself.