Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," invited on Dan Rather to remember Walter Cronkite and the former CBS News anchor – famously fired for letting his bias spiral out of control during the George W. Bush National Guard story – called Cronkite "a straight news reporter," and claimed Cronkite advised him and others at CBS News to "Tell it straight without fear or favoritism. Pull no punches. Say it like it is, insofar as is humanly possible. Keep your own prejudices and biases and feelings and emotions out of it."
After playing an old 1996 clip from an interview with Cronkite from his CNBC show, in which Cronkite admits to being a liberal, Matthews asked Rather to comment, to which Rather hailed that Cronkite: "Stood for, the beacon he sent out was, 'Straight news reporting. Whatever your political persuasions are, however anyone wants to label you, get to the story, tell the story as straight as you can and the American public will understand.'" [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the July 20 edition of "Hardball":
Leave it to Chris Matthews, a former speechwriter to Jimmy Carter, to actually commemorate the 30th anniversary of the former president's infamous "malaise" speech. On Wednesday's "Hardball," Matthews invited on his former bosses from the Carter White House, former speechwriter and now New Yorker senior editor Hendrick Hertzberg and former aide Gerald Rafshoon to mark the event and claim that Carter was vindicated by history as Matthews proudly asserted Carter was "Dead on," about "putting on a sweater, lowering the thermostat," to solve the energy crisis. And Hertzberg did Matthews one better by proclaiming Carter a "prophet."
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Rick it seems to me Carter was dead on, on the need for energy sufficiency and dealing with the energy conservation. Putting on a sweater, lowering the thermostat. All of those things made sense. He was right about the problem of nuclear proliferation. Of arms getting to countries like Iran. He's way ahead of his time on that. And also his concern for human rights. Right? So he was right, but?
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's "Hardball," invited on HBO's Bill Maher to mock GOP criticism of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as Maher accused them of being "racist," and Matthews marveled at how Republicans can admire Sarah Palin but not someone who worked as hard as Sotomayor to achieve her position, as he pondered: "Why do they like somebody who's shown no sweat equity against somebody who's shown nothing but sweat equity?"
Before discussing Republican treatment of Sotomayor Matthews asked Maher to rate the audiences that come to see him in the South. Maher, not surprisingly, belittled most of the region, saying the ones that do come to his shows are the minority as they are "marbled in and surrounded by a bunch of hillbillies and rednecks." To which Matthews rejoined: "Isn't it refreshing to meet Southern liberals? Because the great thing about Southern liberals is they don't, they're not competing for the latest nuance of sexual freedom like in Greenwich Village. They are liberals, meaning they're, they're for black equality for example. Things like that, that are pretty nice and wholesome." [audio available here]
Not long after that slam against non-liberal Southerners, Maher threw out the charge of Republican racism:
On Friday night’s Hardball, guest host Lawrence O’Donnell enthusiastically promoted HBO’s new, glowing Ted Kennedy documentary.
He began by declaring "There‘s so much ground to cover. We don‘t have enough time for this. And I want to show the people out there, people under 60, who don‘t know the early Ted Kennedy, don‘t remember the early Ted Kennedy, I want to show what you have got in this movie." But O’Donnell’s interview completely left out the biggest scandal of "the early Ted Kennedy" – the death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick.
This seemed especially odd as O’Donnell recounted with filmmaker Caroline Waterlow how Richard Nixon was obsessed with Ted Kennedy:
O'DONNELL: Imagine that. Here you are, a senator. You have a president of the United States obsessing all day, is there something we can hang on him. Is there something we can accuse him of?
WATERLOW: With all—to think of Teddy, with all the things he was dealing with politically and within his family and all of the losses he has suffered, he was also—
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," mocked Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio for pondering, on his Twitter page, that the "situation in Iran would be a little different if they had a 2nd Amendment like ours." Matthews, completely missing the point that our Founding Fathers understood that it is much harder to repress a free people that is armed, derided Rubio in the "Sideshow" portion of his June 22 show:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Next up, a reminder to think before you hit the "send" button. You've all seen what's happening in the streets of Tehran. How people are getting beaten, getting hit with tear gas, getting shot. Take a look at what Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio of Florida posted on his Twitter page after watching those scenes that we've been watching.
Does my headline bury the lede? On the one hand, it's catchy to hear Chris Matthews proclaim his belief that reparations for slavery "make sense."
But in the grand scheme of things, one more liberal pundit coming out for reparations might be small potatoes. Perhaps the bigger story was the statement on this evening's Hardball by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC). The former head of the Congressional Black Caucus revealed that he saw nationalized health care as a part of reparations.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews appeared on Montel Williams' Air America radio show on Wednesday to slam John McCain: "I think McCain put his finger on the idiot button." The Hardball host fumed about McCain's criticism of how Barack Obama has handled the response to Iran's disputed election. He also unflatteringly compared the Senator to Sarah Palin.
After getting a laugh from the Montel Across America host, Matthews reiterated, "I'm telling you, the idiot button." He complained, "That's my new term for when you start putting your finger on the button that's got Sarah Palin's fingerprints on it." Matthews broke off his attack and then explained that McCain is a "very smart, patriotic American."
Walsh's grave transgression: calling the senator, "ma'am." For that, the "Hardball" host treated Walsh as part of the day's "political sideshow," literally, in his June 18 program:
Sen. BARBARA BOXER: Do me a favor. Could you say, "Senator," instead of "Ma'am"? It's just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title. So I'd appreciate it. Yes, thank you.
Brig. Gen. WALSH: Yes, Senator.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: She sure did, she's been elected three times, by the way. So I guess the question is this: Had he said "sir" to a male senator, would that senator be correct in correcting the general? There is a history, however, and let us not forget, of male-female condescension in the U.S. Senate. Just recall the Anita Hill testimony of not too long ago.
Introducing Howard Dean, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews indirectly compared Barack Obama to Jesus Christ as he introduced the former head of the DNC and 2004 presidential candidate as "the man who really laid out the path for Barack Obama. He was the St. John the Baptist...leading for that fellow." In the Christian faith St. John the Baptist is considered to be the precursor to Jesus Christ, so in Matthews' metaphor of Democratic presidential politics that would have to make Obama, Jesus. [audio available here]
For his part Dean, justifiably, appeared uncomfortable with the comparison, as he appreciated Matthews' promise to "not make any further reference there to the Deity." After that awkward introduction Matthews, in the ensuing segment, went on to call Republicans like John McCain, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney "imbeciles" for their various criticisms of Obama, as he continued his "idiot button" routine that he began on Tuesday's show.
The following exchanges were aired on the June 17 edition of "Hardball":
I don't just put my foot in my mouth on television -- I do it at dinner parties, too -- but at least, in that case, it doesn't show up on YouTube. Appearing on Hardball With Chris Matthews on June 5, I compared President Obama with God.
Or at least that's how it seemed to some bloggers and talk-show hosts, who made me a poster child for the argument that the liberal press is hopelessly in love with Obama.
An outraged Chris Matthews scolded John McCain, on Tuesday's "Hardball," for criticizing Obama's stance on Iran's elections as the MSNBC host exclaimed: "The difference between the President, who is being very calm and not jumping up and down, and those on the right who are hitting the idiot button right now. And the idiot button is the one often pushed by Sarah Palin,but this week by John McCain and others." Matthews -- who also mocked Sarah Palin for praising the troops in her acceptance of David Letterman's apology -- attacked conservatives in general for engaging in "idiot talk."
MATTHEWS: Okay yeah, let me try to get to your left, let me try to get to your left Lawrence because I feel like getting over there tonight. Snuggling over to your left Lawrence O'Donnell because I disagree with you. I think there's become, there's become this new idiot button on the right where you have to punch this button in order to be considered a real conservative now. "Obama is a socialist on health care. He's a socialist. All his fiscal programs are insanely socialistic." You have to punch that button. Then you gotta say this [Iran] election was "bogus." You gotta punch that button. If you don't talk in that, that right wing, idiot talk you're not considered a conservative any more. The idea of being a thoughtful person is wrong now, politically, on that side of the aisle. That's where I think it's going. [audio available here]
The following exchanges were aired during the June 16 edition of "Hardball":
Yesterday Chris Matthews invited on Salon.com's Editor in Chief Joan Walsh to link the Holocaust Museum shooter to Rush Limbaugh but it was the "Hardball" host himself, on Thursday's show, who connected Sarah Palin to James von Brunn as he wondered if the Alaska Governor was "getting very close to the edge," of the same "attitude" of the "far right," and questioned "Is she talking their language?" [audio available here]
After playing a clip of Palin expressing her concern that the federal government could get more involved in the running of the states, something any governor of a state would rightfully be worried about, Matthews asked his guest, terrorism expert Roger Cressey: "What do you make of that comment Roger? What does that say to some of the nut cases on the right? The far right? The nuts? What is, is she talking their language? Not saying she's triggering them. But is she talking the language of, of paranoia?"
The following is the full exchange as it was aired on the June 11, "Hardball":
Salon.com Editor-in-Chief Joan Walsh, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," cited "conservatives" like Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and Bill O’Reilly for "whipping up" a climate that sparks the likes of alleged Holocaust Museum shooter James Von Brunn and "Hardball" host Chris Matthews wondered if access to guns were to blame for the tragedy as he cried, "It's easier to get your hands on a gun than to get somebody to make you a waffle." Blaming Limbaugh while insisting she was not, Walsh charged:
There is a very disturbing and disturbed element of political discourse. And I would, I would throw in Rush Limbaugh. Not blaming him, but when you say that our President is more dangerous than al-Qaeda you've gone off into crazy nut job land. You are off the charts crazy. And you are, you are whipping people up.
In the ever-expanding aura of liberal hysteria surrounding MSNBC, Chris Matthews is regularly outpaced by the formerly coherent sportscaster, Keith Olbermann. But Matthews may have won the nightly laurel wreath last night, with his insight on Sarah Palin’s warning against federal bailouts.
The offending quote from Palin is not unlike many other things heard from other current leading Republicans:
GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN: We need to be aware of the creation of a fearful population and a fearful lawmakers being lead that believe that big government is the answer. To bail out the private sector because then government gets to get in there and control it and, mark my words, this is going to happen next I fear, bail out next debt-ridden states, then government gets to get in there and control the people.
Palin is referring to the possible federal use of forced funded mandates. It is conceivable that, if a Mark Sanford is legally required to use federal money, with all of its attached mandates, state governments could be forced to use more money to provide more services – possibly services that the voters in the states do not need or desire. That is conservatism du jour these days – and not rhetoric outside the norm, for the GOP.
Continuing his obsession with Dick Cheney, Hardball host Chris Matthews on Monday compared the former Vice President to movie monster Freddy Krueger, a child-murdering serial killer. After Republican strategist Michelle Laxalt suggested that Matthews missed Cheney, the host retorted, "Well, he keeps coming back...Freddy Krueger comes back in every movie and this guy is back every day."
Interestingly, while Matthews linked the ex-VP to the deformed murderer, it was the MSNBC anchor himself who wore a Freddy Krueger-esque sweater on the December 18, 2007 edition of Hardball. (See file photo above.) On Monday, Matthews, Laxalt and businessman Fred Malek were discussing the "troll-like" Cheney and his public comments about Colin Powell and the new Obama administration.
Newsweek editor Evan Thomas brought adulation over President Obama’s Cairo speech to a whole new level on Friday, declaring on MSNBC: "I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God."
Thomas, appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews, was reacting to a preceding monologue in which Matthews praised Obama’s speech: "I think the President's speech yesterday was the reason we Americans elected him. It was grand. It was positive. Hopeful...But what I liked about the President's speech in Cairo was that it showed a complete humility...The question now is whether the President we elected and spoke for us so grandly yesterday can carry out the great vision he gave us and to the world."
Matthews discussed Obama’s upcoming speech marking the 65th anniversary of D-Day and compared it to that of Ronald Reagan. He then turned to Thomas and asked: "Reagan and World War II and the sense of us as the good guys in the world, how are we doing?" Thomas replied: "Well, we were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way. It hasn't felt that way in recent years. So Obama’s had, really, a different task We're seen too often as the bad guys. And he – he has a very different job from – Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is ‘we are above that now.’ We're not just parochial, we're not just chauvinistic, we're not just provincial."
MSNBC’s Tamron Hall attempted to justify multiple stories on Rush Limbaugh supposedly comparing Barack Obama to Al Qaeda: "We have a right to cover people who are speaking out...Many people listen to this man, and we have a responsibility to report all sides and you can't try to duck and hide, throw the rock and then hide in the bush."
Hall was responding to criticism by Republican strategist Alex Conant, who, in the 4PM hour on Thursday, pointed out MSNBC’s excessive coverage of Rush: "Well, let me just make an observation. Two weeks ago, Rush Limbaugh challenged this network, MSNBC, to go a whole month without repeating his name, and this is like the fifth segment you guys have had this afternoon talking about Rush-" Hall immediately interrupted: "Oh, you know – okay, that's ridiculous, absolutely. You know, I don't know if you've ever, ever watched Keith Olbermann, who just obliterated Rush Limbaugh on this topic."
The segment with Conant, opposite liberal talk radio host Bill Press, was the third story MSNBC had done on Rush’s comments on Thursday. Hall herself had covered the story only an hour earlier, with liberal blogger Peter Slutsky and conservative Brian Faughnan from Redstate.com. During that segment in the 3PM hour, Hall asked Slutsky: "...do the Republican leadership, conservatives out there, need to speak out against this kind of language? I cannot imagine, you know, if there was a liberal blogger who had compared George W. Bush directly to Al Qaeda or some of the other language that’s coming out recently."
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," was outraged at the RNC's criticism of the Obamas wasting taxpayer money to go see a Broadway play as he railed that it was a "jealous, pathetic swipe at the First Couple," and remarked "What a jealous, little political party the Republicans have become." Matthews also took a shot at former President George W. Bush as he contrasted Obama's tastes with Bush's as he claimed the problem he and others had with Bush was his, "Utter disdain for any kind of thought or culture. His total lack of curiosity toward anything beyond his own backyard." Matthews then questioned if the GOP attack was made out of "jealousy or simple nincompoop anti-intellectualism?"
MATTHEWS: Well let's get this straight. President Bush's jaunts to Crawford, Texas were okay by their lights, but President Obama's day trips to New York are cause for outrage? This is the kind of pissant criticism that makes you wonder why Michael Steele still has his job. Is this jealousy or simple nincompoop anti-intellectualism? Whatever it is I like having a president who takes his wife up to Broadway. [audio available here]
The following are all of Matthews' teasers and then his anti-RNC rant as it occurred during the "Sideshow," segment of his June 1, edition of "Hardball":
After playing a clip of Rush Limbaugh charging Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor with bigotry and racism, Chris Matthews, on Wednesday's "Hardball," implied Limbaugh was the racist as he asked a guest panelist Jeanne Cummings of the Politico, "Is this the pot calling the kettle black?" To which Cummings responded that the radio talk show host was going to "chase," all the Hispanics away from the GOP:
Well all I know is it's the worst nightmare for the Republicans, I mean they're trying to calculate whether they should vote against her, how aggressively they should try to sort through her record and challenge her during hearings. And with things like that, and all that calculation to try to keep Hispanic support, even as small as it's gotten for Republicans. Rush Limbaugh can chase ‘em all away in an afternoon with that kind of talk." [audio available here]
The following is the full segment as it was aired on the May 27 edition of "Hardball":
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's "Hardball," couldn't contain his excitement over Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor as he brought on David Axelrod to praise, to the White House advisor's face, the rollout of the Supreme Court nominee as he cheered, "It was a brilliant piece of work....it couldn’t have been done any better," and then later gushed that Barack Obama, "Wowed us!" with the pick. Matthews also claimed the only opposition to Sotomayor was made up of the "crazies," and "whack jobs," like Rush Limbaugh as Matthews told Axelrod "The only critics of this nomination with any kind of violence are that R.N.C crowd: Rush, Newt and...Cheney."
The following exchanges were aired on the May 26 edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS TO AXELROD: You know since you fellows came to the White House I've been looking at the patterns, the, the team of rivals aspect of bringing Senator Clinton aboard as Secretary of State. The, sort of, the Reagan model of getting things done as quickly as you can because you only have so much mandate. And then I've looked at the Chicago model, which is to act as if there's only one governing party and then basically do warfare with the crazies out there,
When examination of the science is too much work for show preparation and taking a position that falls in line with like-minded ideologues is part of your shtick, you can always resort to ad hominem attacks if needed.
In a May 19 segment on his "Hardball" program about global warming, MSNBC's Chris Matthews interviewed Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., who had opposing views on the issue. However, Matthews attacked Rohrabacher, a global warming skeptic, as someone ignorant of science.
"Congressman Rohrabacher, are you a Luddite, a troglodyte? Are you a part of ‘The Planet of the Apes' that doesn't want science? Where would you place yourself in this argument?" Matthews asked.
Chris Matthews, on the syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show" over the weekend, likened Dick Cheney's recent media appearances, to defend the Bush administration and to criticize Obama on national security policy, to Glenn Close's stalker character from the 1987 film "Fatal Attraction." Before playing a clip of the movie Matthews made the cinematic comparison: "Well some say Cheney's refusal to move on reminds them of Groundhog Day but you could also say it's like that more frighteningly relentless Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction.' Like Cheney she was not gonna be ignored." After playing the clip in which the Close character utters the famous quote, "I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan." Matthews then threw it to Newsweek's Howard Fineman:
MATTHEWS: Howard what do you think? Cheney? "Fatal Attraction?" What do make? Will not be ignored, this guy.
HOWARD FINEMAN, NEWSWEEK: Ha, ha. Yeah, yeah I don't think he's going to boil the rabbit. Let's put it that way.
MATTHEWS: Or come out of that bathtub like that other scene in that movie! Everybody is gonna go see Fatal Attraction again.
The following is the full exchange as it was aired on the May 17 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":
David Shuster, substitute hosting for Chris Matthews on Tuesday's "Hardball," absurdly asserted that Dick Cheney "didn't know" about al-Qaeda before 9/11. After playing a clip of the former Vice President on "Face the Nation" stating that "On the morning of 9/12...there was a great deal we didn't know about al-Qaeda," Shuster ignored the "great deal," qualifier and insisted to his guests that somehow Cheney was clueless about the threat of the terrorist organization prior to 9/11. Shuster's guest, former Cheney aide Ron Christie, corrected Shuster, pointing out "that's one snippet taken out of context...Of course we knew about al-Qaeda," but that didn't stop Shuster from pressing his case as he claimed Cheney approved "torture," because he didn't know about al-Qaeda.
The following exchange was aired on the May 12 edition of "Hardball":
Chris Matthews just can't get it up. The Democratic Party label that is.
On the May 8 "Hardball", the MSNBC anchor noted in his Political Sideshow segment that Reps. Jim Moran (Va.) and Bob Brady (Pa.), are up in arms about erectile dysfunction drug ads running on television and are sponsoring legislation before the House to ban television stations from running ads for drugs like Viagra and Cialis from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Democratic congressmen argue the ads are indecent for children. [get audio for download here]
While the legislation's premise seems prudish at worst and laughably silly at best, Matthews insisted that the congressmen, who are "regular guys" and "both friends of mine" were simply "looking out for the kids." All the same, he failed to give the Democratic Party credit for threatening the cold shower of government regulation on the drug commercials.
Chris Matthews apparently thinks the GOP is just one big bag of crazy.
MSNBC's "Hardball" host challenged Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) on the Republican Party's commitment to addressing climate change during the May 5 broadcast. Matthews claimed to Pence that the GOP is not passionate about environmentalism because, "There are people that really are against science in your party who really do question not just the science behind the climate change but the science behind evolutionary fact, that we were taught - you and I - in our biology books. They don't accept the scientific method. They believe in belief itself."
Matthews prefaced his argument with, "There are people on your side of the argument who believe that all the prehistoric bones we've discovered in this world, all the dinosaur bones and all that stuff was somehow planted there by liberal scientists to make the case against the Bible."
It appears the love MSNBC feels towards Barack Obama is not unrequited, for last Wednesday, a member of the Administration actually declared in public, "At the White House, as we always like to say, we love MSNBC."
Nothing in American politics is quite so intriguing as the Central Intelligence Agency. There is a certain mystique surrounding this agency, almost wholly because it has proven to be quite good at keeping secrets.
Thus, whenever the actions of the CIA are widely reported in the media, the story typically becomes a fixation for many news outlets - and any former agent who is able to shed light on these actions are usually well-received. But even here, the media has limits.
But while Scheuer is an equal-opportunity critic of missteps by Democratic and Republican administrations, the broadcast news media seem to draw the line at allowing him on air to find fault with President Obama.
Scheuer wrote a column in Sunday’s Washington Post, daring to claim that the president’s actions in publishing the so-called CIA torture memos were morally reprehensible:
An overly eager Chris Matthews, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," actually raised the prospect of prosecuting George W. Bush and Dick Cheney over the CIA interrogation memos as he pressed Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "But how do we do it? Under what law do we go after them?" To which even the liberal Schultz initially balked, as she tried to rein in Matthews: "Well I think we need not to get ahead of ourselves Chris." However Schultz, after Matthews continued to push, relented and gave the MSNBC host a response more to his liking as she warned: "There is no one that is above the law in the United States of America."
Of course if Matthews really wanted to pursue all of those who approved of waterboarding that list would also have to include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. According to a December 9, 2007 Washington Post story Pelosi along with other Democrats, in September 2002, were given "a virtual tour" of the "CIA's overseas detention sites," shown interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, "But on that day, no objections were raised."
The following exchange was aired on the April 22 edition of "Hardball":
The Dick Cheney-obsessed Chris Matthews opened Tuesday's "Hardball," by taking umbrage with the former Vice President's criticism of Obama declassifying CIA interrogation memos, as the MSNBC host compared Cheney to "The Empire," in Star Wars and called him "The Bush administration's tail gunner, manning his burp gun with that same nasty look we recall from the war comics." Matthews went on to wonder if Cheney's outspokenness was a good thing for the GOP as he questioned, "If the Republican Party really wants to be branded right now as the party of tax cuts and torture?"
Matthews didn't waste any time getting to the Cheney bashing as seen in the following intro to the April 21 edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: The Empire Strikes Back! Let's play "Hardball!" Good evening, I'm Chris Matthews. Leading off tonight. Clash of civilizations. Two different views of the universe out there right now. That's what's at war in Washington today. The dark view of Dick Cheney that sees no shame in brutal interrogations. Indeed refuses to blame America for anything. That against the new view of Barack Obama that America does best in the world when it upholds a moral standard and admits past failings.