After Comparing Christie to Nixon for Nine Days, Chris Matthews Discovers That ‘Facts’ Should Decide Case

Chris Matthews really doesn’t listen when he speaks.  On every program since Chris Christie’s bridge scandal broke on January 8, the MSNBC anchor has smeared the Republican governor as just like Richard Nixon in Watergate. Matthews has done this for nine straight shows, including the January 20 edition.

However, on the same program, with no sense of self awareness, a thought occurred to the anchor.  He announced that if “it is discovered that Governor Christie did not encourage political revenge, did not signal that this is the way he wanted political business conducted, then he will be exonerated before the eyes of the country. The facts will decide it. And that`s the way it should be.”  [See video below.]

The facts will decide this case? Christie will be “exonerated before the eyes of the country? Matthews has done everything in his power to poison the minds of the American public.

On the same show, while talking to Mark Halperin, he compared, “It`s very hard for a politician, and Nixon is always a great example, because it was very hard for him in June of 1972 to pull back and say, ‘Okay.  I`m not going to have the plumbers, I`m not going to have all that stuff.” Assuming guilt, the host linked, “How does Christie say ‘I`m not going to change my team, my M.O. I`m going to go a much different approach to getting things done from the tough guy way I have been doing it’”?

On January 8, the day the scandal erupted, Matthews immediately jumped to the comparison. Without knowing any real facts, he muttered, "Nixonian. It's so Nixonian." On January 9, while talking about Christie's innocence or guilt, the host connected, "...When people say they feel sorry for the Watergate people....Their lives were ruined. I always say I got a worse one for you -- they got away with it."

On January 17, Matthews convicted Christie:  “Now when he`s caught in this web, he says, I`m going to be the one investigating my whole team. It smacks of Nixon and the so-called Dean investigation.”

(For more Nixon and Watergate comparisons from Matthews, go here.)

If Christie’s BridgeGate case is decided on facts, it will be despite Matthews’s best efforts to make it about innuendo and smears.

A partial transcript from Monday is below:


1/20/14

CHRIS MATTHEWS: It`s very hard for a politician. And Nixon is always a great example, because it was very hard for him in June of 1972 to pull back and say, ‘Okay.  I`m not going to have the plumbers, I`m not going to have all that stuff. I`m not going to think paranoically all my life. I`m not going to back to Helen Gahagan Douglas and Alger Hiss. I can`t rewrite history, but I got to go forward. And it`s very hard for a guy like Governor -- I`m asking you, how does Christie say I`m not going to change my team, my M.O., I`m going to go a much different approach to getting things done from the tough guy way I have been doing it.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this: The story from Hoboken promises to ignite a far wider investigation into the current politics of New Jersey. I think people want to know how powers are being used in that state, how federal money is being guarded, how state money is being used, how the government in that state deals with development projects. One powerful reason is that the governor of New Jersey still sits atop the Republican possibilities for president in 2016. People often complain about presidents, then and only then go back to how they conducted themselves before their election to the presidency.

This is a good time, by the way, this being 2014, to study the practices of the leading Republican candidate for 2016. The fact of the matter is that this case will proceed and will be judged not by the politics, but by the facts as they come to light. If it is found that the governor has set up a political operation that turned on punishing rivals and holdouts while favoring friends, the question then will be whether the tough-guy tactics crossed the line into criminality.

If, on the other hand, it is discovered that Governor Christie did not encourage political revenge, did not signal that this is the way he wanted political business conducted, then he will be exonerated before the eyes of the country. The facts will decide it. And that`s the way it should be.

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