Chris Matthews ended this weekend's syndicated program bearing his name by asking a very strange question: Will President Obama eventually get blamed personally for slow action on the oil spill?
The word "eventually" seems almost a Freudian slip inasmuch as it not only suggested the current White House resident ISN'T shouldering any of the responsibility for this horrific disaster yet, but also that Matthews is somewhat surprised by that.
Stranger still were the responses from Matthews' panelists -- Howard Fineman and Jonathan Alter both of Newsweek, and Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post -- who felt Obama would eventually be blamed.
Less surprising was MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell saying he wouldn't -- how could she return to that network daring to blame Obama for anything! -- and Matthews who oddly declined to answer his own question (video and transcript follow with commentary):
People always ask me if the media's liberal bias is caused by ideology or ignorance.
My answer is "Both."
Exhibit A: Cynthia Tucker, the Pulitzer Prize winning editorial page editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, actually believes Republicans controlled Congress in 2007.
Appearing on this weekend's syndicated program "The Chris Matthews Show," Tucker said the following after the host asked her why neither political party, including the current president, seems to be able to do anything concerning immigration (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Kent State shootings, and over the weekend Chris Matthews and his liberal cronies, on his syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, previewed the event as they reminisced about where they were at the time. Their memories reflect how anti-war they were back then and how that moment shaped them into the libs they are today as Matthews revealed the likes of his guests, like Newsweek's Howard Fineman and CNN's Gloria Borger, as students, were "editorializing against the war."
In his teasers for the segment Matthews set the table by claiming Kent State marked the time when "The sweetness of the anti-war movement turned sour" and "in the eyes of many the government lost moral authority." While the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page was actually serving in the Army at the time, the other panelists had already begun their journey towards becoming elite members of the liberal media as Howard Fineman remembered the day this way:
One of the things taught in journalism schools, at least when it comes crime reporting, is that when someone charged with a crime, you carefully craft your rhetoric because in the United States, you're presumed innocent until proven guilty.
But what if you're journalist and you're making accusations of crime where there's not even a charge? On NBC's April 18 "The Chris Matthews Show," Time magazine's Joe Klein accused former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Fox News host Glenn Beck of rubbing "right up close to being seditious," which according to the U.S. Code is rubbing right up close to being a crime. And even after the fact, Klein has stuck to his guns and didn't back down from that accusation.
"On the Chris Matthews Show Sunday, I said that some of the right-wing infotainment gasbags--people like Glenn Beck etc.--were nudging up close to the edge of sedition," Klein wrote in an April 19 post on Time.com's Swampland blog. "This has caused a bit of a self-righteous ruckus on the right. Let me be clear: dissent isn't sedition. Questioning an Administration's policies isn't sedition. But questioning an Administration's legitimacy in a manner intended to undermine or overthrow it certainly is."
Liberals are all too often eager to charge conservative personalities of using hyperbole to gain a political advantage, especially when it contradicts their world view - whether it's suggesting the Obama administration is taking the country down the path of socialism, fascism or any other -ism.
However, it could be argued there's a different set of standards for those same people when they want to make strong charges. On NBC's April 18 "The Chris Matthews Show," Time columnist Joe Klein all but accused former GOP vice-presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, along with Fox News host Glenn Beck of sedition.
"I did a little bit of research just before this show - it's on this little napkin here. I looked up the definition of sedition which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck and to a certain extent Sarah Palin, rub right up close to being seditious."
Perhaps tuning in to NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show" isn't high on your list of priorities, outside of wanting the chance to catch Dan Rather suggest something bizarre like President Barack Obama couldn't sell watermelons. However, if you had watched the March 28 broadcast of the program, you would have found the show's roster of panelists think the Tea Party movement is a black mark on the Republican Party, as far as it pertains to unseating the Democratic majority in Congress.
Matthews' show featured NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell, Newsweek's senior Washington correspondent Howard Fineman, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger and Atlantic senior editor Andrew Sullivan. In the aftermath of the passage of ObamaCare into law, some have suggested this was a defeat for the Tea Party movement. Matthews asked if the mere existence of this movement was a plus or minus for the Republican Party.
"OK, all things considered, if there were no Tea Party crowd, we never saw them demonstrate - would that be better for the Republican Party, or is the Tea Party a plus for them in November, winning elections?" Matthews asked.
On Sunday’s syndicated Chris Matthews Show, as the panel discussed whether President Obama would move to the center for the 2010 elections, after the BBC’s Katty Kay argued that he may need to please the Democratic party base for this year's elections, Time magazine columnist Joe Klein referred to the conservative base of the Republican party as "maniacs" as he claimed that the GOP base is more dominated by conservatives than the Democratic base is by liberals. Klein:
On Tuesday’s The O’Reilly Factor on FNC, during the show’s regular "Pinheads and Patriots" segment, host Bill O’Reilly picked up on Dan Rather’s recent gaffe connecting "articulate" President Obama with "selling watermelons," as the FNC host gave on-screen attribution to NewsBusters as his source while a clip of Rather’s words from Sunday’s Chris Matthews Show played.
O’Reilly then observed the double standard between the likely media interest if a right-leaning personality like himself made such a statement which seems to employ racial stereotyping versus the lack of interest in such words being uttered by the left-leaning Rather.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, March 9, The O’Reilly Factor on FNC:
My boss, Brent Bozell, told me that (in his opinion) Dan Rather is not a racist, but let's not consider his recent faux pas about Barack Obama and his failure to get the health care bill passed as an isolated incident.
It was not.
On Sunday, March 7th, Dan Rather said the following about the president…
"Listen he's a nice person, he's very articulate…"
When Rather got to "articulate", I knew we had trouble brewing.
"… this is what's been used against him, but he couldn't sell watermelons if it, you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic."
Dan Rather and Andrea Mitchell said this weekend that Barack Obama made a huge mistake pushing healthcare reform so soon in his first term.
Appearing on the syndicated program "The Chris Matthews Show," the former "CBS Evening News" anchor said of ObamaCare, "Bad choice. Particularly looking back on it. Jobs should have been the first choice."
A few minutes later, Mitchell concurred, "I agree with Dan and everyone here that this was a big miscalculation to go into it."
Yet, they also both agreed that even if it was a mistake to tackle this issue, Obama has to win (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
No longer capable of tolerating his colleagues at NBC, political contributor Craig Crawford announced he has resigned from MSNBC post.
"Three months short of my current contract I sent the following to the boss, Phil Griffin: ‘Phil, Just wanted to give you the heads up that my situation with MSNBC has become so unrewarding for me that I've decided to move on,'" he wrote this morning on his Congressional Quarterly blog.
"I simply could not any longer endure being a cartoon player for lefty games, just gotta move on to higher ground even if there's no oxygen," Crawford later elaborated on a comments-thread.
Crawford will likely be best remembered for work his work during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries - drawing much ire from MSNBC compatriots - for vigorously defending the biggest Democratic threat to MSNBC's golden-boy:
These must be really desperate times for the Democrats, if the syndicated Chris Matthews Show that was aired over the weekend is any indication, as both the host and one of the guests claimed Barack Obama would need to tap into military, musical and even mystical powers to get a health care reform bill passed. During the intro of his show, Matthews declared that Obama "must now lead the band with all the music and magic he has in him" and guest panelist Michael Duffy, of Time magazine, reported that Obama is going to unleash "the infantry, the air cover, the artillery" on Congress to get health care passed. [audio available here]
The following exchanges were aired on the February 28 edition of The Chris Matthews Show:
Chris Matthews believes it's too soon for George W. Bush nostalgia.
Such was discussed during this weekend's syndicated program bearing his name.
In fact, Matthews made this his big question of the day asking his guests, "Will there be George W. Bush nostalgia this November when his book comes out?"
To his discredit, Matthews was the only person of the five in front of the camera that felt the answer was no concluding, "I think he needs a little more time to be away" (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
Chris Matthews is beginning to realize that Barack Obama can't change things with just the power of his personality.
Such was amazingly discussed during the syndicated talk show bearing his name this weekend as two White House correspondents made some astonishing claims about the current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
"He feels that he has some ability to bring people together," noted NBC's Savannah Guthrie.
Helene Cooper of the New York Times agreed, "[T]here's this fundamental belief that he can change, that the power of his personality and the power of his oratory can change people... But you can't just do it with the power of your personality."
A seemingly stunned Matthews replied, "Well, we're learning that" (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
Newsweek's Katie Connolly, on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show over the weekend, determined that Barack Obama, even in the face of the stunning loss in Massachusetts, needs to become more entrenched in his liberal ways and not bother working with the GOP as she advised the President to “bully Republicans.” After host Chris Matthews prompted the White House correspondent to report on how the administration viewed the effectiveness of the State of the Union Address, Connolly, playing political strategist, offered her own take instead: “My personal view is they need to ditch all of this talk of bipartisanship, post-partisanship....What they need to do is start calling Republicans out...” [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the January 31 edition of The Chris Matthews Show:
NBC's Andrea Mitchell, on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show over the weekend, claimed that the United States' wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not helped in the fight against terrorism, going as far as to say "They've hurt," and "we have inspired more Jihadis against us." Mitchell also played defense for Barack Obama on his terrorism policy as she hailed the President's recent speeches on the issue have been "strong" and "substantive," and "he's now trying to...take the reins and be the CEO," in the fight against al Qaeda. [audio available here]
The following exchanges were aired on the January 10 edition of The Chris Matthews Show:
Catching up on the Sunday, December 20, syndicated Chris Matthews Show – during which the panel weighed in on who should be granted various dishonors for the year – panel member Howard Fineman of Newsweek charged that independent Senator Joe Lieberman, formerly a Democrat, had "kicked [Democrats] n the teeth time after time after time and behaved in a completely self-righteous way about it," as the panel discussed Lieberman’s insistence on making Senate Democrats negotiate on universal health insurance. After host Chris Matthews introduced the show’s "Chutzpah Prize" for the year – with nominees being Republican Congressman Joe Wilson, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Bristol Palin boyfriend Levi Johnston, and Senator Joe Lieberman – Fineman voiced his belief that Lieberman deserves attention. Fineman:
On the Sunday, December 13, syndicated Chris Matthews Show, as he ended the show with words of praise for Morgan Freeman’s latest film, Invictus, and its depiction of Nelson Mandela uniting blacks and whites in South Africa in the 1990s, host Matthews referred to "white tribalism" having been stirred up in America, and showed clips of anti-Obama protesters.
Matthews: "In this world of ours today, it seems that any idiot – almost any idiot can rally the forces of tribalism, including white tribalism in this country. You can do it with a frown or a smile – easiest thing in the world to rile people back to their roots, get them thinking with all the rage of their grandparents."
On the syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, over the weekend, conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin was mocked by Chris Matthews for playing to the "wingnuts" at a Capitol Hill rally. Before running a clip of Levin, MSNBC host broke down the new GOP coalition as "regular Republicans," "energized conservatives," and "the wingnuts!" and added: "Talk show host Mark Levin spoke to all of them!"
The following exchange was aired on the November 8 edition of the The Chris Matthews Show [MP3 audio clip here]:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Tuesday's election results gave Republicans a big boost. A year from now they hope their loose coalition will unite to beat a lot of Democrats. What's that coalition? Well it's regular Republicans, people that have been Republicans all their lives. It’s also energized conservatives. People philosophically opposed to what they see as a creeping big government. Third - it's people just upset about the economy and the loss of jobs. And fourth - it's the wingnuts! Talk show host Mark Levin spoke to all of them at that rally at the Capitol this week.
It's hard to imagine two Chris Matthews Show panelists publicly admitting that the President was smarter than them, during the George W. Bush administration, but that's precisely what happened during this weekend's episode when host Chris Matthews asked Newsweek's Howard Fineman that very question. When a frustrated Matthews worried that Barack Obama wasn't being more aggressive in pushing health care reform, Fineman calmed Matthews down by assuring him that "one of his great qualities...is patience" which prompted Matthews to ponder: "Howard is he smarter than us?" to which Fineman affirmed: "Of course he is! Much smarter!" [audio available here]
The following exchange occurred during the November 1 edition of The Chris Matthews Show:
Well the verdict is in and it looks like the GOP has been severely damaged by its opposition to Obamacare, well at least that was the conclusion of all the liberal members of "The Chris Matthews Show" panel over the weekend. On the syndicated show, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell and HDNET's Dan Rather were unanimous that the "branding" of the GOP as "The Party Of No," has "hurt" them. The New York Times' Helene Cooper chimed in that the Republicans were "gonna be in a really tough spot," and the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan judged "The town halls clearly hurt them. They turned the debate around in favor of the President."
The following exchanges were aired on the October 18 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":
After systematically ignoring the outrageous and offensive signs used by leftist protesters at anti-war demonstrations journalists and bloggers are now devoting an immense amount of attention to a small minority of Tea Party protesters carrying signs far outside of the mainstream.
Liberal bloggers were also incensed with what they claimed were the hateful (and racist) intentions of the protesters. Matt Yglesias at Think Progress noted the miniscule presence of Confederate Flags and pondered why demonstrators were "waving flags of treason and slavery". Other bloggers at TP complained of the "hate at the protest."
NBC's Norah O'Donnell, guest hosting for Chris Matthews over the weekend, repeatedly questioned her "Chris Matthews Show" panelists why there was "So much hate," and "venom," directed at Barack Obama at town hall events.
Time's Joe Klein responded it was all Rush Limbaugh's fault as he depicted opponents of Obama as racists that are "being egged on by the demagogues in, in the Republican Party, by Boss Rush Limbaugh.And I call him the boss because there isn't a single Republican elected official who's willing to call him out on his lies." [audio available here]
Chris Matthews, on his syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," over the weekend, wondered if the Mark Sanford scandal will make the GOP a more tolerant party as he asked his panel: "Have Republicans finally embarrassed themselves out of calling themselves the family values party?"
His guest panel, for the most part, agreed with the premise as Dan Rather opined: "The Republican Party was already in the process of trying to make a bigger tent with more tolerance. This will, in some ways, help that movement." The New York Times' Helen Cooper admonished: "I think the one thing the Republican Party probably learned this week is that, you know, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."
Chris Matthews asked his panel of reporters, on this weekend's syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," to offer their prescriptions on how the GOP, in the wake of the Arlen Specter departure, can regain its popularity to which most of the liberal reporters like Joe Klein and Howard Fineman suggested they needed to abandon their "cut taxes, shrink government," message and some of their "trollish"spokesmen like Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich because they're turning off families, women and "people who think that caring matters."[audio available here]
First up Time magazine's Joe Klein suggested the GOP should moderate on health care because it would finally make them, "look sane!" and "bring them into...the mainstream of American politics." Then Newsweek's Fineman charged it was the conservative message of "cut taxes, shrink," government that was the problem: "But it doesn't sell with, with people outside of their base demographic which are white males. There's something about that message that turns off families, that turns off women, that turns off people who think that caring matters about other-, I know that this sounds silly, but caring about other people." And finally Matthews went further saying it's not just the GOP's message but it's messengers who are the problem: "Can you, can you, can they get past the cacophony of Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich? These are sort of trollish figures. These aren't the caring people, are they?"
The following exchange occurred on the May 3 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":
Over the weekend, Chris Matthews compared Rush Limbaugh to a James Bond villain and claimed the radio talk show host was a "human vat of vitriol. He relishes the attention and he sells anger as a weapon." Before playing a clip from "You Only Live Twice," in which a Bond nemesis drops a victim into a piranha tank, Matthews, on his syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," offered up the following description of the talk show host:
MATTHEWS: Before we break if you didn't know better this past week, you'd think Rush Limbaugh was more important than the guys in Washington and women in Washington actually elected to do things. How many U.S. senators would invite the President of the United States to come to their home turf and debate them? Well two facts are clear about this human vat of vitriol. He relishes the attention and he sells anger as a weapon.
RUSH LIMBAUGH AT CPAC: What is so strange about being honest in saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation? Why would I want that to succeed? We, we are in for a real battle.
MATTHEWS: Limbaugh's high-handed, melodramatic, off with their heads, oratory reminds me of those over-the-top movie villains. You know, the ones who issue ludicrous commands to snuff out the good guys, like James Bond's arch nemesis who wanted the supremely confident Bond - gone.
As the Dow Jones dipped below 7,000, it’s worth remembering that formerly conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan (for a while with Time magazine, now with The Atlantic) touted how "grown-up" Barack Obama would restore calm in the markets. From the October 17, 2008 Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio, just after Sullivan claimed Gordon Brown and Obama were calming while Bush was not:
Bush at this point, I think largely because of Katrina and Iraq, is unable to use the authority of the office to calm people or the markets, and I think until this election is resolved, the markets will not stabilize. They need to know there is a grown-up back in the White House.
Two days later, Sullivan went on the set of the Chris Matthews Show and declared the McCain campaign a bust on fiscal conservatism: "It's been all tactics and no strategy. He’s supposed to be a fiscal conservative, but in fact he will add more to the debt than Obama will."
In Sullivan’s last appearance on the Sunday Matthews show, on February 15, he wildly denounced the conservatives for daring to oppose his hero Obama’s socialist deficit-spending plans.
What's with Chris Matthews' fixation with comparing Republicans to trolls? Back in September he called a then presidential candidate John McCain "troll-like," after one of his debate performances, and then over the weekend, on the syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," he applied the monstrous term to Republicans in the following intro to his February 23 episode:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: And finally trolls under the bridge. Is that what Washington Republicans have become? Gremlins hiding along the pathway, nipping at the Democrats. And are Republican governors saying, "That's not my job."
A little later, going to break Matthews teased the upcoming segment with video of Rush Limbaugh, with an on-screen headline reading: "Trolls Under The Bridge."
MATTHEWS: Anyway when we come back Rush Limbaugh wants Barack Obama to fail. He's honest about it. Are Republicans letting Limbaugh speak for them?
Barack Obama cheerleader Chris Matthews almost got another thrill up his leg Sunday when Time's Joe Klein predicted that 2009 would be a good year for the incoming president.
I guess "winning" the dubious honor of Quote of the Year in the Media Research Center's21st Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting hasn't encouraged Matthews to be more objective.
Not a chance, for in the first "Chris Matthews Show" of the New Year, the Obama-loving host displayed a lack of journalistic integrity that has made him a consistent focus of media analysts across the fruited plain.
As Sunday's program wound to a close, Matthews posed the following to his panel (file photo):
On his syndicated "Chris Matthews Show" on Sunday, Chris Matthews seemingly sought to do his self-proclaimed "job" of making sure Barack Obama's administration is a success by featuring a panel of guests who praised the incoming team and the President-elect's ability to use his political capital to pass "big packages to avert a depression." There was only twelve seconds of negativity about Obama during the entire hour-long show, and that was when columnist Kathleen Parker noted that some Hispanic organizations are unhappy with Obama because they feel that there is not enough Hispanic representation in his appointments.
The first topic of discussion was the economy and Matthews anxiously wondered whether Obama could "get a big head of steam to save the American economy and keep that head of steam so he can pass all the bills he needs to do the job?"
John Heileman of New York Magazine gave an emphatic "yes" along with four reasons to support his answer including, "I mean, [Obama] won a clear mandate" and "how well [Obama's] done in this transition and the way it's been received by both parties is having been arguably the best transition that anyone in our lifetime has ever seen."