Rachel Maddow Says Chris Matthews Isn't Liberal, 'He'd Get Torn Apart' by Air America Fans

Long-time CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl interviewed radical MSNBC host Rachel Maddow for the website Wow-o-wow.com and Maddow demonstrated her ultraliberalism by denying Chris Matthews was a liberal (just a "Democrat"), and insisting "If Chris Matthews had an Air America radio show, he’d get torn apart by our listeners...I wouldn’t put Chris and my politics in the same canoe. " While Stahl insisted that MSNBC is trying to be the "un-Fox network," Maddow claimed it’s not really liberal, it’s just trying to "find hit shows."

RACHEL: I do think that Fox is different than other networks. I mean, I think that it is a bit of a political experiment.

LESLEY: But everybody thinks MSNBC is moving in that direction. That that’s exactly what the shift is — where you are — that people there are trying to make you into the un-Fox network, the liberal place to go.

RACHEL: Well, if you think about the way that Fox was founded, though – Fox was founded by Roger Ailes. It was created from his perspective as a political operative. His background was as a Republican activist of the highest order. There’s no equivalent on MSNBC. I think MSNBC is trying to find hit shows.

LESLEY: Everybody they hire to anchor their shows is distinctly liberal and encouraged to express themselves that way, wouldn’t you say?

RACHEL: At MSNBC?

LESLEY: Yes.

RACHEL: Well, I wouldn’t call David Shuster a liberal. I would barely call Chris Matthews a liberal. He voted for Bush. And I certainly wouldn’t call Joe Scarborough a liberal.

LESLEY: Chris Matthews is a liberal.

RACHEL: Well, Chris Matthews is a Democrat.

LESLEY: He’s a liberal.

RACHEL: Chris Matthews – well, you could interview him about it and find out. If Chris Matthews had an Air America radio show, he’d get torn apart by our listeners.

LESLEY: So he doesn’t go that far. I see. OK.

RACHEL: No. I wouldn’t put Chris and my politics in the same canoe. I think that MSNBC is trying to find hit shows and is trying to be smart and it just seems like a different project than the reason that Fox was built.

Just before that in the interview (posted on Monday), Lesley and Rachel pondered whether Fox News would suffer a dearth of interview opportunities from the Obama White House, and Maddow strangely complained the Bush White House wouldn't let her in:

LESLEY: What about your competition, Fox? The Bushies pretty much used Fox TV as a platform and they often got the best guests when big news broke. Cheney liked to go there, and other people you really, really wanted to interview and talk to. Do you think they’re going to be hurt and MSNBC helped with this administration?

RACHEL: I thought that the way that the Bush administration played the right-wing media was remarkable and very overt, and something they didn’t very much try to hide. In talk radio it was very clear. It was clear as night and day, because they would have these Talk Radio Days at the White House where hosts, who were not even necessarily well-known hosts, from across the country, would be invited to the president and would get the entire Cabinet trooping through to do interviews. And I would always put in requests to be allowed to come. "Hey, I’m a national talk radio Show." And it was like they couldn’t contain their laughter at the press office in trying to be polite to me in responding and telling me that they’re sorry, but they were all booked up.

So it was very obvious the way they did that. I don’t have any reason to believe that the Obama administration is or isn’t going to behave that way.

LESLEY: No, I’ll bet he won’t. And very few administrations ever did. You know, I anchored "Face the Nation" through two presidents and they — it was Reagan and then it was Bush One. And Carter, as well. I was there. But they all really had a system of being completely fair among the networks, and rotating and so forth. And I’ll bet Obama goes back to that system.

Do Stahl and Maddow really believe that Barack Obama would accept Rush Limbaugh into his White House for a cozy sit-down?

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis