It goes without saying that if you're the Commander-in-Chief, among the first people whose criticism you'd want to take into account would be . . . Hollywood movie stars. At least, that would seem to be Chris Matthews's opinion.
On this afternoon's Hardball, the old lawyer's adage rose up and bit Chris Matthews hard: never ask a witness a question to which you don't know the answer. Matthews's guest was retired Marine Corps Major General Arnold Punaro, Chairman of the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves. Matthews's substance and tone left no doubt that he wanted his questions as to the availability of sufficient troops to pacify Baghdad, and the advisability of using Guard and Reserve troops as part of such a "surge," answered in the negative.
Matthews: "Do we have the troops to dramatically increase our complement of troops in Iraq, sir?"
Punaro: "Absolutely. Between our active military and the number of troops we have in the Guard and Reserve, should the Commander-in-Chief, on the advice of the combatant commanders in the field and with the concurrence of the Congress make the decision that we want to increase the size of the force in Iraq, we certainly have the ability to surge those forces."
Chris Matthews’ interview with actor Matt Damon, which was recorded last week, was aired on Monday’s “Hardball”. Apart from what was reported here Saturday, Damon also made some disparaging remarks about Dick Cheney (video available here), while Matthews addressed what it would be like to waterboard the Vice President...I kid you not.
Conceivably the most amazing part about this interview was the whole idea that Chris Matthews was actually discussing the war in Iraq with an actor as if Damon was some kind of expert on geopolitics. For instance, after Damon suggested that the entire war was a “PR battle,” Matthews asked the audience if they agreed. This met with great applause. When it died down, Damon said: “There’s no other reason to rush that fast to war unless you know you don’t have it. They didn’t have it.”
Matthews followed this up as if he was questioning Colin Powell:
On Wednesday's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews depicted Bush as a proverbial Nero, fiddling as Iraq burned and claimed Bush was led into war by "jugheaded neo-conservatives." Matthews also absurdly questioned Dennis Kucinich if Democrats weren't pushing harder for troop withdrawals because: "They're afraid the media will jump on them if they say, 'let's get out of that country now?'" Which begs the question does Matthews even watch his own network?
First up Matthews greeted viewers with this opening salvo:
Matthews: "Tonight, the President fiddles while Iraq burns. He said he will not be rushed into changing policy. Meanwhile, a new poll shows most Americans now think we're actually losing in Iraq. And we can't do more to stop the civil war. Let's talk a Republican senator who says its criminal to keep on this way. Let's play Hardball."
After a prolonged absence for health reasons Chris Matthews returned to the airwaves last night and as if making up for lost time quickly returned to bashing Bush over Iraq. As part of Hardball's College Tour, Matthews brought former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to join in the bashing and within the first few minutes of the show asked Edwards if Bush going to Iraq "was a daddy thing," and if he thought it was "scary" that "a President of the United States of limited ability," was able to create a "firestorm of almost messianic nuttiness."
One of the more interesting double standards in the media and politics is how folks on the left are allowed to make sexist remarks – or, in the case of a former president, exhibit obviously sexist behavior – with total impunity. Yet, the same actions by someone on the right will be met with so much scorn as to threaten the individual’s career.
A fine example of this occurred on Tuesday’s “Hardball” when host Chris Matthews made some extraordinarily sexist comments to former Senator John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth. So as not to offend anyone, the partial transcript of this exchange follows in the “Read More” section. Furthermore, the must-see video is available here:
Guest hosting this afternoon's Hardball, Mike Barnicle claimed to decry the politics surrounding the Iraq Study Group's report. But when it comes to political cheap shots, does it get much lower than this comment by Barnicle himself?
"Since the report was issued, I think 19 Americans have been killed in Iraq. Does anybody really think about that at the top level here today in terms of the report? Is it all just the politics of it?"
MSNBC's David Shuster routinely spews the typical liberal spin his boss, Chris Matthews, likes to hear but sometimes Shuster goes a step beyond to uttering statements that make the viewer ask, "What was that?!" Such was the case on last night's Hardball when Shuster really reached in his analysis of a quote from James Baker. The following occured at the top of December 7th edition of Hardball.
James Baker: "I hope we don't treat this like a fruit salad and say, ‘I like this but I don't like that, I like this but I don't like that.' This is a comprehensive strategy designed to, to deal with this problem we are facing in Iraq but also designed to deal with utter problems we face in the region."
David Shuster: "The words fruit salad could be construed as a reference to cherry-picking and to questions about the Bush administration's cherry-picking of pre-war intelligence. Now, however, everybody, including President Bush, seems to agree the U.S. needs a new approach to Iraq. The question is, what will the President do and when. I'm David Shuster for Hardball in Washington.
No Chris Matthews, no problem. The regular host of MSNBC's Hardball might be taking a post-election break, but the show hasn't missed a beat when it comes to liberal bias. We detailed here the sycophantish performance that last week's substitute host David Shuster put on with guest Jimmy Carter. With John Kerry as his guest, this evening's pinch hitter Mike Barnicle kept the Matthews' anti-Bush flame burning.
Barnicle offered guest John Kerry this distinctly negative multiple choice test to explain President Bush's Iraq policy:
"Is the president delusional, is he isolated, is he stubborn, is he all of the above, none of the above?"
In a special edition of MSNBC's Hardball College Tour former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw went on diatribes against the President's war policy, comparing it to Vietnam, praised "rock star" Barack Obama, castigated "blatantly racist" Republican ads, charged Ronald Reagan neglected, "Mother Earth," and declared of the notoriously liberal Daily Show: "There are more facts and more truths told in the first eight minutes of The Daily Show than most political news conferences in Washington."
NBC's Campbell Brown filled in for host Chris Matthews as she teed up questions to Brokaw at Fordham University. The following are some of the more relevant rants from Brokaw:
I'm confused. Doesn't the MSM abhor the mixing of religion and politics? Isn't it quick to invoke the specter of theocracy and decry the crumbling of the [non-existent] "constitutional separation of church and state"? Well, yes, in general. But there is an exception to the MSM rule. Turns out it's OK to mix religion and politics, when it's Dems in general - and Barack Obama in particular - who are making the merger.
On this afternoon's Hardball, guest host David Shuster played a clip of Obama, in church, explictly calling for his Christian religious faith to "guide us to a new and better politics."
Asked Shuster of CNBC chief political correspondent John Harwood: "Your reaction - mixing religion and politics in that way?"
Harwood: "It's smart. Democrats need to do more of that."
How often do you watch a show like MSNBC’s “Hardball” just hoping that one of the guests will spank the host when he makes an obvious misstatement, or is just being rude? Well, such occurred Wednesday when David Shuster, filling in for the vacationing Chris Matthews, tried to bully Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations Feisal Istrabadi
Right from the get-go, it was apparent that Shuster had no intention of showing any respect whatsoever to this dignitary, which of course was in stark contrast to how he gushed and fawned over former President Jimmy Carter just 24 hours earlier as reported by Mark Finkelstein. This is not to suggest that anyone should be accorded the respect of one of our former presidents. Instead, it was the comparative disrespect which was so striking; it was almost as if Istrabadi was a Republican.
Toward the end of the interview, it was clear that the Ambassador was getting tired of Shuster’s belligerence, and decided to fire back when the guest-host said:
Is MSNBC a liberal network? Just ask Chris Matthews, who let Al Franken whack John Fund around on "Hardball" last night, telling Fund his "buddies" in the GOP are "crooks." While Fund took offense at the personal attacks, Matthews treated it like part of Franken's stand-up routine. At the segment's end, though, Matthews oozed all over Franken's performance: "Please come back, Al. You've been doing a lot of homework, and I think you got a 'head of the class.' Very well done. I'm not sarcastic. It’s great. Thank you, Al, for coming on."
Fund never responded to the joke-slash-personal attack with the obvious line: Franken, the guy whose buddies at Air America were ripping off the Boys and Girls Clubs to pay his multi-million-dollar salary, making crook jokes? Of course, if he had, Matthews probably would have done a full Malkin on him, and told him he didn't put up with personal attacks....
As John Murtha appeared as a guest on Wednesday's Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews questioned the Democratic Congressman about the infamous FBI tape from the ABSCAM scandal in which undercover FBI agents talked with Murtha about the possibility of bribery, with Murtha having suggested to them the possibility that he would be "interested" at a later date. After pressing Murtha on what his words meant with Murtha contending that he was just trying to acquire investment for his Congressional district, Matthews ended up asking him if it was "just a way of finessing your way out of the conversation," to which Murtha agreed before Matthews dropped the line of questioning. (Transcript follows)
It looks like MSNBC and Chris Matthews hit their target "demographic" of liberal Democrats on Election Night. On last night's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews revealed his friend at the Democratic Party headquarters told him MSNBC was "on all night there." Matthews then proudly exclaimed: "That is great news in terms of us reaching the important demographics, of course." NBC News producer Mike Viquiera, who was at the party, said they rotated "between two of the three cable networks and I'm not gonna tell you which of the third networks that they didn't rotate to." To which Matthews asserted: "I think we're probably the one in the middle...politically."
Winding up the 8pm EST hour of election coverage on MSNBC, “Scarborough Country” host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, indignantly lectured Chris Matthews about how he has “spent the past two years trying my best to be very critical of my party. In fact, if you look at my transcripts you will see that I have been bashing my party more than the Democratic party because I want to make sure that I am fair and down the middle.”
So “far and down the middle” means hitting Republicans harder than Democrats? Too bad Matthews, a former staffer to Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, doesn’t routinely attack Democrats to prove how “fair and down the middle” he is.
Chris Matthews just couldn't wipe that grin off his face. Interviewing him on this morning's 'Today,' Meredith Vieira began by suggesting that despite the tough electoral environment for Republicans, polls over the weekend were showing movement in their direction. She started to pose a question, but so distracting was Matthews' mugging that she couldn't continue, asking instead "why are you smiling?"
"Because I think it's going to be a wipe-out. I think the Democrats are going to carry the House by 20-some, high-20s and I think the Senate seats are perhaps not six, but five, and I can see a big victory for the Democrats."
Here's an antidote from an unlikely corner for all the Dem outrage at the 'November surprise' of the Saddam verdict. On this morning's 'Today,' none other than Chris Matthews just pronounced his considered opinion that the verdict actually helps . . . the Democrats.
According to Matthews, given the unpopularity of the war, anything that draws attention to Iraq hurts Republicans. Apparently that even extends to a good-news story such as the Saddam verdict. Opined Matthews to host Lester Holt:
"One general rule would be anything that brings attention to Iraq is bad for the Republicans. I think Iraq's become a four-letter word for the voter. And this trial and condemnation of Saddam Hussein is probably going to remind us of Iraq again. It's probably going to help the Democrats to some extent."
The MSM troops have begun to rally around their man.
Interviewing Ted Kennedy on MSNBC, Chris Matthews referred to the controversy over Kerry's comments as a 'brouhaha' and a 'rhubarb'. Kennedy was of course only too happy to agree, calling the controversy a "diversion" and even casting Kerry as the victim, claiming he is the "target of Republicans" reacting to his criticism of the war.
A bit later in the hour, Matthews flatly claimed that Kerry only meant to say that Bush hadn't studied enough before he became president and thus got us into a mess in Iraq, and later still:
With just a little over a week to go NBC's Today show is cranking up the anti-Bush sentiment and this morning Meredith Vieira and Chris Matthews hammered how Republicans are running away from the President. After NBC's Kelly O'Donnell aired a full report on how Bush is showing up in ads everywhere for Democrats but not for Republicans, Vieira asked MSNBC's Hardball host Matthews to break down the midterms which just allowed Matthews to go on his typical anti-Iraq war tear:
Meredith Vieira: "I know you heard Kelly O'Donnell's report, the President now being featured in more than 160 ads for Democratic candidates. Do you think the strategy is gonna work?"
When it comes to using Mafia references for political purposes, Chris Matthews has a one-way sense of outrage. OK for slurring Republicans. Bad, bad, bad when used against Dems.
Matthews is the king of MSM conniption fits over Republican ads. He pounded for days on the RNC ad about Harold Ford, Jr., accusing RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman of "cesspool" tactics and claiming the ad played to white fears of "losing white women to black guys."
Matthews had a similar over-the-top reaction to an ad [see it here] running in NJ that uses a mobbed-up character to mock ethically-challenged Bob Menendez. Here's how Stephen Spruiell at National Review's Media Blog noted Matthews reaction:
"Well maybe because I've spent so much of my life in New Jersey... but you know, I have to tell you Charlie, it's an ethnic ad. Whatever else it is, it's an ethnic ad. It's about Italians in New Jersey, it's about the mob. Tying Menendez into Torricelli. They're closing the loop, they're making their point, and that has been politics in that state for years, between the WASPy people like Christie Todd Whitman and the Keans, father and son, running against the ethnic people, they tied it all together: If you're ethnic, you're a crook, right?"
All that was missing was the theme music from Deliverance. Not content to condemn George Allen for raising the issue of Jim Webb's racy writing, Chris Matthews decided on this evening's Hardball to slur the entire Commonwealth of Virginia south of the DC suburbs.
Interviewing senior Webb campaign advisor Steve Jarding [Chris did indicate that he had unsuccessfully tried to get an Allen representative on the show], Matthews had this to say:
"Not to take sides but they've had this material since the day Jim Webb announced, and they've chosen to use it now with the risk that it implies, because everybody in Northern Virginia, in this area of the country, reads books, they think."
With the elections getting very close, Chris Matthews appears even more rabid, if that's possible. Recently, he's taken to speaking for others. Not just for other liberals, but for everyone everywhere.
Last night's "Hardball" offered an example of this. The topic was the political ads Michael J. Fox is doing for Democrats around the country. There's considerable controversy - and misunderstanding - about what Rush Limbaugh said about Fox's ads and the entire question of Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
For Matthews, however, there's no room for disagreement as the facts speak for themselves:
"Everybody likes Michael J. Fox and nobody agrees with Rush Limbaugh that he was faking it or went off his meds to do a good show."
Everybody likes Michael J. Fox? Nobody agrees with Rush Limbaugh?
MSNBC's Chris Matthews invited the Dixie Chicks on last night's Hardball to promote the new documentary Shut Up and Sing and asked them if they felt their anti-Iraq position has been vindicated, to which the Chicks responded in martyred terms of being put on Free Republic's and "Christian fundamentalist" country fans' "hate list."
The following exchange occurred on the October 26th edition of Hardball:
Chris Matthews: "Martie, I get the feeling at the time that you folks, when you made that statement and you all stood behind it and took the heat for it, that the country world out there and country music was definitely for the war. I mean, I think of Toby Keith singing that song, 'Remember How You Felt' which is basically a pitch that if you didn't like 9/11 you had to like Iraq, that they were basically lining up and saying this was a smart thing for the U.S. to do. It turns out most Americans all over the country think it's not a smart thing that we did."
On last night's Hardball, Chris Matthews hinted at what he had in mind regarding the ad the RNC ran in Tennessee about Dem senatorial candidate Harold Ford, Jr. Claimed Chris:
"It has ethnic overtones, sexual overtones."
Tonight, Matthews took an ugly, explicit leap down into the atavistic mud. Interviewing Sen. Dick Durbin [D-IL] - who was relatively reserved in his comments - Matthews began by asserting that the RNC's goal in running the ad was to "get their point across to perhaps angry white voters, or people who had a problem with a black senator already."
Later, Matthews embraced the absolutely worst stereotype of a racist South, claiming the RNC was:
"playing on white sensitivities about losing white women to black guys. It was so obvious what they were doing there."
Referring to an RNC ad as the "Mehlman cesspool," Chris Matthews was being non-partisan. Really - he told us so!
On this afternoon's Hardball, Matthews interviewed Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., Dem candidate for senator from Tennessee. The first topic up was an ad the RNC is currently running using actors to tweak Ford on his positions on a variety of issues, from taxes to gun control to North Korea. The ad also alludes to the fact that Ford attended a Playboy party at the Super Bowl in Jacksonville in 2005.
At the ad's end, an alluring woman saying she met Harold at a Playboy party whispers "Harold, call me!"
Democrats have been quick to cry that the use of a white woman is an insidious appeal to racism. Matthews wasted no time sounding the Dems' battle cry:
On last night’s Hardball, Bill Clinton was depicted as a unifying "Moses"-like figure while Karl Rove was portrayed as a divisive "evil genius." In describing Bill Clinton on a campaign stop at Georgetown University, NBC’s Kevin Corke used biblical terms: "It was as if Moses himself had returned. Former President Bill Clinton, the man some believe could figure prominently in helping to lead Democrats back to the political promised land, was back at his alma mater, Georgetown, for a major speech this week."
And then later in the program the Washington Post's John Harris, painted Clinton's politics as a "unifying" but Bush’s, specifically, Karl Rove’s politics as "divisive" as he and Hardball host, Chris Matthews wondered what the "evil genius," had "up his sleeve."
NBC's efforts to reestablish itself have gone poorly, and its cable network MSNBC is still stuck in last place. Execs are considering putting MSNBC's two biggest stars, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, on business channel CNBC, and using the rest of MSNBC for taped programming about "murder mysteries" and similar tabloid material. From Broadcasting and Cable:
NBC Universal employees are bracing for the worst as Chairman-CEO Bob Wright and NBC U TV Group CEO Jeff Zucker are convening town hall meetings in Los Angeles and New York for what is expected to be news of restructuring and job cuts.
Sources say Wright will appear on the Universal Studios lot near Burbank on Thursday while Zucker holds a similar meeting with East Coast employee in New York. NBC press reps were not available at press time.
There's nothing the MSM loves more than a renegade Republican. The GOP maverick-of-the-MSM-week is David Kuo. He is the former #2 man in the Bush administration's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, and has written a book, Tempting Faith, claiming that the operation was a cynical attempt to woo faith-based voters whom top aides including Karl Rove looked at contemptuously.
Chris Matthews predictably had Kuo on this afternoon's Hardball. At one point, Matthews asked whether President Bush has "used faith to get votes" and then "how about the issues like stem cell - do you think he's using them politically?"
"I think you're conflagrating a couple of different things here."
On this afternoon's 'Hardball,' interviewing James Baker about his new book on a life in politics, Matthews alluded to the risk of a political party fracturing in the course of a presidential primary campaign:
"How do you hold your party together when you have people, secular candidates like John McCain who's often in that [guest] chair, and Rudy Giuliani running against Brownback, and people like that, Frist and George Allen perhaps, who are real cultural conservatives?"
Riposted Baker: "We hold it together the same way that you hold your party together."
Interjected Matthews: "Well, it's not my party anymore."