Hey, Buckeyes, "Let’s play Hardball."
On Friday, The Ohio State University announced that Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball, will deliver the commencement address at the school’s May 4 graduation ceremony. The announcement was made in a glowing press release, which [laughably] read in part (emphasis mine):
A television news anchor with remarkable depth of experience, Matthews has distinguished himself as a broadcast journalist, newspaper bureau chief, presidential speechwriter, congressional staffer and best-selling author.
In the release, Ohio State interim president Joseph A. Alutto called Matthews “one of the nation’s most experienced political journalists” and claimed that “Chris Matthews will offer a unique perspective on our country’s history and future.” There was no mention of Matthews as a controversial figure, a liberal pundit, or a partisan hack who famously proclaimed it was his job to help President Obama succeed at his job.
The selection of Matthews has predictably polarized OSU students and alumni, according to a Saturday article in The Columbus Dispatch. But Ohio State seems to be unafraid of stirring up controversy by choosing partisan graduation speakers. It was only last year that President Obama addressed the school’s graduates. In 2012, then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice gave the commencement address, and the year before that, House Speaker John Boehner did it.
NewsBusters does not know how much Ohio State will pay Matthews to speak, but the Washington Speakers Bureau suggests he will command upwards of $40,000.
Let’s hope Matthews doesn’t follow in the footsteps of Katie Couric by whining about his critics, as Couric did in her 2012 commencement address at her alma mater the University of Virginia. Let’s also hope he doesn’t follow in the footsteps of New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who blew a liberal gasket while addressing the 2006 graduates of the State University of New York at New Paltz:
You weren't supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, be it the rights of immigrants to start a new life; the rights of gays to marry; or the rights of women to choose. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where oil still drives policy and environmentalists have to relentlessly fight for every gain. You weren't. But you are. And for that I'm sorry.
Perhaps the best we can hope for is that Matthews will not convince Ohio State’s graduates to follow in his footsteps as a left-wing zealot.