Hardball

By Ken Shepherd | August 6, 2014 | 10:00 PM EDT

He just won't let it go. MSNBC's Chris Matthews returned once again to his hare-brained idea that the president should sue Congress, joined tonight  by another dynamic duo of hard-core lefties in cheering on the idea: the perpetually sanctimoniously smug comedian John Fugelsang and MSNBC daytime anchor Joy Reid. The Hardball host is ostensibly unafraid of conflict, but thus far he has failed to bring on a conservative sparring partner in his "sue Congress" segments.

But not only is Matthews stubbornly surrounding himself with those who share his absurd opinion, he's throwing out statements that are either patently false or grossly misleading. For example, in opening Matthews charged:

By Ken Shepherd | August 5, 2014 | 9:35 PM EDT

Monday's "Let Me Finish" tirade was no once-off exercise in spitballing for Chris Matthews. The host of MSNBC's Hardball picked up Tuesday night where he left off, his calling on President Obama to sue Congress for "failure to provide services." And, once again, Matthews made a few factual errors, such as suggesting that the Senate had not confirmed Obama's pick for ambassador to the Russian Federation. 

This time around he was joined by liberal scribes Joan Walsh of Salon and Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post who promptly checked their intellectual honesty at the door and seized on the opportunity as an excuse to bash congressional Republicans for obstructionism. Below the page break you'll find the relevant transcript (emphasis mine; MP3 audio here; video follows page break):

By Ken Shepherd | July 29, 2014 | 6:30 PM EDT

MSNBC's chief abortion rights absolutist Irin Carmon is giddy over a move today by a "conservative" federal circuit court panel to scotch an abortion-clinic regulation in Mississippi which requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. 

"Big victory for state's last abortion clinic" trumpeted a teaser headline on msnbc.com (see screen capture below page break). Clicking the link brings readers to Carmon's 11-paragraph story, "Mississippi’s last abortion clinic to stay open —  for now." While Carmon -- a 2013 New York Abortion Access Fund "Champion for Choice" honoree -- found room for the enthusiastic response of a pro-choice activist, she failed to include any pro-life activists' responses. Here's an excerpt (emphasis mine):

By Connor Williams | July 29, 2014 | 11:45 AM EDT

Highlighting the 10th anniversary of Barack Obama’s famous speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, Chris Matthews devoted a segment to discussing whether  Barack Obama had lived up to the hope and promise he showed a decade earlier. The Hardball host had to work in a little bit of self-promotion, playing a clip of himself predicting Obama to be the first black president following that speech. The cable anchor, however, ignored his famous admission that the Democrat provoked a "chill" up his leg.

Matthews blamed the poor economy in part for derailing the president’s hopes of a united America. He also noted that America began to perceive Obama as a leftist, which worked to undermine the idea that he was a president who could bring people together: “All of a sudden they realized he was a man of the left on things. He was a Keynesian, he believed in a big stimulus program. He really wanted a health care program and he did it. I think that probably shocked the center.” [MP3 audio here; video below]

By Ken Shepherd | July 28, 2014 | 9:50 PM EDT

This morning the National Review's Eliana Johnson published  jaw-dropping scoop about a Democratic strategy memo for Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn, daughter of the former Peach State Democrat Sam Nunn. Among other juicy tidbits, Johnson relayed how "The campaign’s finance plan draws attention to the 'tremendous financial opportunity' in the Jewish community and identifies Jews as key fundraisers. It notes, however, that 'Michelle’s position on Israel will largely determine the level of support here.'"

So surely MSNBC's consummate political junkie Chris Matthews devoted significant attention to the development on tonight's Hardball, right? Not a chance, and this despite him devoting a full segment to handicapping the 2014 Senate races with Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post and Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report.

By Connor Williams | July 25, 2014 | 11:20 AM EDT

In his never-ending obsession with Ted Cruz, Hardball’s Chris Matthews devoted the start and close of his program to rants against the supposed "McCarthyism" of the Texas Senator. Matthews objected to Cruz’s belief that the FAA’s short lived ban on air travel to Israel was political in nature.

On the July 24 edition of Matthews’ program, the host wondered if Cruz was “trying to mimic the headline grabbing of the bad old days, or is he just so ignorant of what those tactics have done to this country that he's not aware of what he’s committing: the horror of McCarthyism all over again.” The former Tip O’Neill staffer was far from finished with the junior Senator from Texas, however. Matthews continued: [MP3 audio here; video below]

By Ken Shepherd | July 24, 2014 | 8:35 PM EDT

Hardball host Chris Matthews is quite the cinemaphile, frequently working movie references into his banter on the MSNBC program. So it was rather surprising when the MSNBC anchor made a whopper of a gaffe on his July 24 program regarding an iconic moment in the climactic lightsaber duel in the middle chapter of the original Star Wars trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back. It seems Matthews remembers Luke Skywalker losing the duel when Darth Vader cut of his arm, not merely his right hand.

The botched movie reference was made by Matthews as he relayed how the fictional villain has a higher favorability rating (58 percent) than any real-life 2016 presidential prospect, including Hillary Clinton (55 percent). Here's the relevant transcript (video follows page break):

By Ken Shepherd | July 21, 2014 | 8:50 PM EDT

During the Bush era, the Left were wont to remind us that "dissent is patriotic" and being intensely critical of the president was a hallmark of a vibrant democracy, especially on matters of foreign policy and national defense. But in the Obama Era, especially in a crucial midterm election year, well, not so much.

On the July 21 Hardball, guest host Steve Kornacki brought on Mother Jones magazine writer David Corn and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart to grouse about how Republicans who have been critical of President Obama's handling of Russia vis-a-vis the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the Moscow-backed political unrest in Ukraine. "There was a time when politics stopped at the water's edge. That disappeared, apparently, on January 20, 2009," Capehart whined in a segment entitled "Blame Obama First."

By Brent Baker | July 18, 2014 | 12:45 AM EDT

Amazingly, Chris Matthews concluded Thursday’s Hardball by playing clips of how President Ronald Reagan reacted the Soviet shootdown of a Korean Air Lines 747 passenger jet in 1983 – even conceding, after a clip of Reagan charging the Soviets with terrorism and a “flagrant lie,” that “he was speaking for the American people.”

Matthews – probably inadvertently – illustrated how Reagan, unlike the current occupant of the White House, understood his role as leader of the free world under threat from evil forces.

By Ken Shepherd | July 16, 2014 | 9:57 PM EDT

Hillary Clinton was positively compared to not one but two beloved Republican presidents -- Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan -- in a July 16 Hardball segment praising the former secretary of state's interview with Jon Stewart and thinking through how the former secretary of state should make her pitch to the American people in the time between now and November 2016.

Huffington Post Media Group director Howard Fineman invoked Ike first (listen to the MP3 audio here):

By Ken Shepherd | July 15, 2014 | 9:03 PM EDT

As my colleagues have been documenting throughout the day, both NBC and MSNBC have had their share of biased segments against Israel on their Tuesday programs.

So it was rather refreshing to see Hardball host Chris Matthews defend the United States's staunchest -- and only truly democratic -- Middle Eastern ally in his closing "Let Me Finish" commentary for the July 15 program. You can read the transcript below the page break (MP3 audio here, video follows page break; emphasis mine):

By Laura Flint | July 15, 2014 | 10:15 AM EDT

On the July 14 edition of Hardball With Chris Matthews, the left-wing MSNBC host continued his pattern of spewing convenient yet historically inaccurate facts. After playing an amusing, if not crude, clip of John Oliver poking fun at the recently unearthed love letters of former President Warren G. Harding, he joked, “is it worth noting that the presidential election of 1920 was the first in which men and women both voted thanks to the passage of the 19th amendment?”

Classic Matthews to forget that women actually had presidential suffrage in over half the states before the passage of the 19th Amendment. In fact, women voters actually had a large impact on the 1916 reelection of the incumbent and very first progressive president, Woodrow Wilson. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]