Chris Matthews's Understatement of the Century: MSNBC 'Agrees With [Obama] Sometimes'

Proving, yet again, that Chris Matthews lives in his own special world, the Hardball anchor on Tuesday unleashed a massive understatement. Talking about the Republican National Committee and Chairman Reince Priebus's decision to boycott NBC if the network produces a pro-Hillary Clinton documentary, Matthews defended MSNBC: "By the way, those who talk about the tight relationship between MSNBC and Barack Obama, for example, count the number of times he's been on this network. Zero." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

This made former RNC chair Michael Steele laugh and he retorted, "That still doesn't say anything about what they've said about him." Matthews then unleashed this howler: "Well, [Obama] agrees with us and we agree with him sometimes." Sometimes? After Steele scoffed, "Not a lot of criticism," the host huffed, "I actually have my views and he tends to coincide with them." Tends to? This is the same person who famously said in 2008 that Obama caused a "thrill going up my leg."

Of course, it's absurd to push the notion that Obama not granting exclusive interviews to MSNBC means anything. He's appeared regularly on several NBC News outlets. These clips are replayed on MSNBC, mostly to great approval.

Predictably, Matthews on Tuesday launched a barrage against Priebus, foaming, "The RNC chairman who has made bones trying to suppress African-Americans votes, now has a plan to suppress a free media. Having waged war on the 15th Amendment, the one that gave African Americans the right to vote, he's now battening down the hatches on a free press."

Ever since Priebus fought back against Matthews on the August 27, 2012 Morning Joe, the liberal host has trashed the Republican chairman. On that show, Matthews ranted about Mitt Romney playing "the race card."

A partial transcript is below:


08/06/13

5:01

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me start with this: Reince Priebus is on the warpath again. The RNC chairman who has made bones trying to suppress African-Americans votes, now has a plan to suppress a free media. Having waged war on the 15th Amendment, the one that gave African Americans the right to vote, he's now battening down the hatches on a free press. Priebus's plan, which he described last night, is to take control of the Republican nominating process, deciding who will be the moderators of the debates, which debates will be authorized and which networks will be allowed to sponsor them. He, Reince Priebus, will hence forth decide who gets to moderate the debates, where they will be permitted and which networks will be given the privilege of sponsoring them.

Well, this big push for personal control is consistent with Reince Priebus's oversight of a major Republican plan to make it harder for minorities, the elderly and young voters to cast ballots. Having loaded people down with more document requirements, voter photo ID cards and the rest, and few opportunities to vote, he now is lowering the boom on the news networks. If NBC dares to run a planned miniseries on Hillary, Reince Priebus has decreed it will have no role in Republican debates. Same for CNN. If it does a documentary on Hillary, it's dead as far as Priebus is concerned. It will be pushed out in the cold while Republicans stick to Fox and other platforms that will meet their terms. Well, if Reince Priebus has his way, as I said, the only voter who's actually vote will be Republicans, the only networks on which they'll appear will be the ones answering to him Reince Priebus.

5:03

MATTHEWS: Michael Steele, this guy has a Napoleonic notion of his power.

5:11

MATTHEWS: By the way, those who talk about the tight relationship between MSNBC and Barack Obama, for example, count the number of times he's been on this network. [Makes a zero sign with his fingers.] Zero. Michael Steele, thank you–

MICHAEL STEELE: [Laughs] That still doesn't say anything about what they've said about him.

MATTHEWS: Well, he agrees with us and we agree with him sometimes.

STEELE: Not a lot of criticism.

JOAN WALSH: Sometimes.

MATTHEWS: I actually have my views and he tends to coincide with them. Anyway, thank you, Michael Steele. I was right on the Iraq War and so was he. And your side was dead wrong. Anyway, Joan Walsh, thank you. You were right, too. Coming up– You were for the Iraq War, weren't you?

STEELE: [Laughing] No. No.

MATTHEWS: Oh, okay. You're covered.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org