If you watch MSNBC's "Hardball," you really have to scratch your head and wonder what host Chris Matthews is thinking when he opens his mouth sometimes.
On the March 30 broadcast of "Hardball," Matthews, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and Newsweek's Howard Fineman were discussing what they perceived to be a rift between former GOP vice-presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her running mate, former GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. based on McCain's unwillingness to commit to supporting Palin as a presidential candidate in 2012. (h/t Breitbart.tv)
Just hours after MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews calls Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., the "Mata Hari of Minnesota" and Rolling Stone editor Matt Taibbi says "a guy huffing glue out of a paper bag" was making more sense the Bachmann, MSNBC "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann comes in for clean-up duties.
On the March 27 broadcast "Countdown," Olbermann confirms that Michele Bachmann Derangement Syndrome is alive and well at MSNBC. Dedicating the top of his show to Bachmann, Olbermann accuses the Minnesota congresswoman of breaking "several serious laws," for suggesting the American people should rise up against some of the liberal nonsense going on in Washington, D.C.
"The identity of the speaker is unmistakable, but this is not your standard red meat from Michele Bachmann, she may have broken several serious laws," Olbermann said.
An offended Chris Matthews, on Thursday night's "Hardball," was so shocked by Sarah Palin's claim that there wasn't anybody to pray with on the McCain campaign, that he hurled multiple insults Palin's way, calling her, "a little scary," and asked if Palin thought McCain was, "the Anti-Christ?" Matthews was appalled by Palin's recent revelation that she had trouble finding someone to pray with before her vice presidential debate and the MSNBC host worried such talk about "The Deity in a political environment," wasn't "normal."
Matthews' guest panelists also joined in the fray as the Washington Post's Lois Romano declared, "I think it's bizarre and I think it's judgmental," and Mother Jones magazine's David Corn cackled it was "mean and catty." RNC chair Michael Steele was also knocked for a recent profession of faith, as Matthews blurted: "Why does everything sound like the '700 Club,' with this party now? I mean everything seems to be a religious discussion."
Matthews and his panel didn't just stop at insulting Palin's religious beliefs, they also belittled Palin for her hand gestures and attractiveness. Over video of Palin waving at a campaign rally Matthews ridiculed: "You know, doing that windshield wiper wave though is not serious. That's not a serious wave. I'm sorry that's not what you do when you want to lead the free world. That's, that's more like, 'I'm a celebrity and people like me.'
And just before that snide comment from Matthews, Romano and Corn dismissed Palin for her looks:
Would you call getting a 53 on a test "close to brilliant?"
If you're Chris Matthews, and you're reporting about Barack Obama you would, for on Monday's "Hardball," the MSNBC host bragged about his president being "close to brilliant," "amazing," "incredibly on target," and "unbelievable" with his NCAA college basketball tournament picks.
Yet, when you dig into the numbers, out of all the entrants into ESPN.com's Tournament Challenge 2009, Obama currently ranks 2,167,290, which makes his relative score compared to others 53.20 percent.
This means that 46.80 percent of contestants -- or almost half -- are doing better than the President, but that didn't interfere with Matthews' praise (h/t NBer Chris Bennett):
As NewsBusters previously reported, Chris Matthews and Ari Fleischer had quite a debate Wednesday evening wherein the "Hardball" host acted like a shameless Democrat operative and the former White House press secretary behaved with grace and aplomb as he wiped the floor with his poorly-matched opponent.
Matthews must have realized how foolish he looked, for on Thursday he continued his debate with Fleischer, but curiously didn't invite Ari back to defend himself:
I didn`t catch something he said right at the end of his appearance just as I was thanking him for coming on. I didn`t hear it until I watched the 7:00 o`clock edition last night. But a lot of people caught it when it first aired and didn`t like it.
At issue was the following statement by Fleischer (video embedded below the fold along with full transcript):
I'm not sure I've ever witnessed a more disgraceful performance by a so-called journalist than what transpired on Wednesday's "Hardball."
In fact, from the moment MSNBC's Chris Matthews introduced his guest, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, the "Hardball" host went on the attack as if he was interviewing an enemy of the state.
Potentially most disgraceful - even beyond how rudely he treated a former member of the White House and a fellow American - was how Matthews made no pretense concerning his apparent affiliation and undying support for Barack Obama and the Party in power.
Viewers were given a clue early on when Matthews asked, "Doesn`t the economy that you left the country when your party left the country in our hands...?"
Yes, he really said "our hands." He also said, "Let me ask you about the financial crisis which we inherited." But that's just the beginning (video embedded below the fold along with full transcript, h/t NBer bigtimer):
Perhaps David Frum is jealous of all the media adoration Kathleen Parker now receives. Knowing he would be challenged on other media outlets, as he was previously on Mark Levin’s radio show, Frum appeared with MSNBC's Chris Matthews tonight. He talked about his recent column in Newsweek titled on the magazine's cover as "A Conservative's Case Against Rush Limbaugh."
Appearing on Hardball to plug his anti-Limbaugh Newsweek article denotes that Frum knew he would be addressing not only the Obama White House but also the mainly liberal fans of MSNBC.
If Frum was truly interested in endearing his article to a right of center audience, obviously, he would have been all over Fox News before he went to MSNBC. Just the fact that Frum wrote his piece in Newsweek and not a conservative publication will make conservatives wonder if Frum will do a political 180 a la Arianna Huffington.
Matthews jumped on the opportunity to prod Frum to say (or at least imply) that Limbaugh is a racist. (My emphasis added throughout) :
“Demonstrating that not even weekends are safe from Democratic Party-sponsored anti-Rush Limbaugh attacks,” Brian Maloney observed on the Radio Equalizer blog on Saturday, “the talk titan is now under fire for a relatively mundane (and actually quite accurate) reference to the shameless political exploitation of Ted Kennedy's illness.”
On Monday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews feared Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, in her nomination fight to head HHS, would be a target of "the terrorism of the, of the anti-abortion people." Then perhaps realizing he called all pro-lifers terrorists, Matthews feebly attempted to amend the statement, as he tried to clarify, "I mean verbal terrorism."[audio excerpt available here]
The following exchange was aired during the March 2, edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let's talk about, let’s get to something really tough.
JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO: Sure.
MATTHEWS: Kathleen Sebelius, very likeable, very impressive. I think of the woman who becomes the governor in Mr. Holland’s Opus, remember the one who comes back?
LOIS ROMANO, WASHINGTON POST: Right.
MATTHEWS: Who becomes the governor, the woman governor. She looks like her, in fact. Is she gonna get through the, the terrorism of the, of the anti-abortion people?
On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews cheered how "hip," "today," and "youthful," the Obamas looked at last night's address to Congress before immediately transitioning into offering this backhanded blurb for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC): "If you like Star Trek conventions, you'll love this baby!" While it is fair to say you won't be seeing Jay-Z performing at CPAC any time soon, the comparison to a Star Trek convention crowd was definitely a dig at conservatives' expense. However Matthews did go on to out himself as a former CPAC attendee: "So if you can't catch a Star Trek convention you've got CPAC coming here. It's always fun. Because I grew up as a conservative. I liked a lot of this stuff."
The following references to CPAC occurred on the February 25, edition of "Hardball":
MATTHEWS DURING SHOW INTRO: And the Conservative Political Action Conference begins its three day meeting tomorrow in Washington. And take a look at some of the panels being offered. "Al Franken and ACORN: How Liberals Are Destroying the American Election System." "Will Congress Take Your Guns?" "The True Cost of Global Warming Hysteria." If you like Star Trek conventions, you'll love this baby.
Attempting to explain last night's off-camera "Oh God!" exclamation before Bobby Jindal's response to Barack Obama, Chris Matthews, at the top of Wednesday's "Hardball," claimed he was taken aback by "The odd, antebellum look of the scene. Some people heard my reaction at the time," which contrasted with his view of Obama's address: "He wowed us! That's the running headline from last night's presidential address to the Congress. Barack Obama gave a great speech." This naked display of bias was so transparent that it caused guest panelist, former Republican Majority Leader, Tom DeLay to point out the obvious: "Listening to your introduction somebody is gonna accuse you of being biased."
The following is Matthews' entire opening monologue and then DeLay's reaction as it was aired on the February 25, edition of "Hardball":
“Oh, god,” why did he have to use that word? According to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the GOP “outsourced” the Republican response to a young, successful Indian-American governor who “had nothing to do with Congress.”
They had to outsource the response tonight, the Republican party. They had to outsource to someone who had nothing to do with Congress because the Republicans in Congress had nothing to do with the programs he was talking about tonight or the record he referred to.
First of all, one might point out that Piyush “Bobby” Jindal was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2004 to 2006. Furthermore, Republican governors are quite important members of the party. The idea that the GOP was bringing in an outsider is flat out wrong.
In a Wednesday segment on worries President Obama, in not ruling out renditions and water-boarding, may be “slipping back into the dirty old ways” of “torture” supposedly employed by the Bush administration, Hardball host Chris Matthews blurted out: “Do you think if we water-boarded Lewis 'Scooter' Libby he'd tell us the role that the Vice President played in the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife?”
When guest Michael Smerconish's answer didn't satisfy Matthews, he turned to Salon's chief, Joan Walsh, and expounded on the scope of who he thought could be physically treated like a dangerous terrorist: “Do you think water-boarding works in the case of recent political figures in this [Bush] administration who are felons, disbarred, et cetera?...Do you think we'd get the truth through water-boarding here at home?”
Chris Matthews is so obsessed with Rush Limbaugh's influence within the Republican Party, that he repeatedly dared, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," GOP strategist Todd Harris to speak ill of the radio talk show host as he mockingly challenged: "Would you live in a country where he wrote the Constitution?...Would you live in a country where he wrote our rights?...Say something nasty about Rush Limbaugh!"
After playing a clip of a "Saturday Night Live," skit – in which two Republicans argue over who is smarter, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh -- Matthews asked his guest panelists Harris and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon, to evaluate how powerful Limbaugh was within the GOP in the following exchange, as it was aired, on the February 18, edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: That joke, which was, "That we wouldn't want to speak anything unfavorably of Rush Limbaugh, our god-
TODD HARRIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thou shall not speak ill of Rush Limbaugh.
MATTHEWS: -the oracle of thieves, you know, the great oracle of Delphi," rather. Is he that big in your world? I mean really do you look up to him as the smartest person in America?
When "Hardball," guest and former John McCain adviser Mark McKinnon suggested Barack Obama, in his first few days in office, is discovering what George W. Bush found out, that being President is "a hard job," Chris Matthews, on Wednesday night's show, vehemently disagreed, saying Obama "doesn't look he's having a hard time...he's Fred Astaire out there...he still moves around with incredible alacrity."
The following exchange was aired during the February 11 edition of "Hardball":
MARK MCKINNON, FORMER JOHN MCCAIN ADVISER: But I'll tell ya he's discovering one thing that President Bush did early on and that, that's this is a hard job Chris. It's a really hard job.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yeah but he's not saying that.
KAREN FINNEY, DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: He's saying, "It's the job. I know this is what I signed up for."
Former White House chief-of-staff Andrew Card's suggestion to Barack Obama that his administration should continue the Bush fashion code of wearing a jacket and tie in the Oval Office, out of respect, ignited Chris Matthews, on Thursday night's "Hardball," to unleash an angry litany against Bush's foreign and domestic policies and then condemned, "If that's dressing for success I prefer shirt-sleeves."
The following rant from Matthews occurred during the "Sideshow" segment on the February 5 edition of "Hardball":
Chris Matthews is rooting for Barack Obama to get his so-called stimulus package passed so much, he offered him advice on how to sell it, on Thursday night's "Hardball," and cautioned him if he doesn’t succeed in that sales job he'll "let us down."
Matthews, the former Jimmy Carter speechwriter, offered the following piece of advice to Obama on the February 5 edition of "Hardball":
Between Election 2008 and the early moments of the Obama administration, it was assumed a new New Deal was coming complete with massive infrastructure projects. But, now the stimulus package is so full of other things even some of the most unlikely news outlets have noticed.
In an amazing moment of clarity, resembling the end of a Hardy Boys novel after Frank and Joe solved a mystery, CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer and MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews questioned the meager infrastructure spending in the stimulus bill that passed in the House of Representatives on Jan. 28 by a 244-188 margin, without a single Republican vote during "Hardball" that night.
Chris Matthews, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," fell into the same trap many other journalists have in misunderstanding the term "Dittoheads," to describe fans of Rush Limbaugh as having no minds of their own that, as Matthews claimed, "repeat every word he speaks as gospel." Of course, as Limbaugh himself points out, fans of the radio talk show host are a varied group, that listen to him because he expresses the opinions they already share and/or just because he's entertaining and the term "Dittohead" is merely shorthand for saying you are a fan, not some "mind-numbed robot." However that fact was lost on Matthews who went on to patronize the audience saying Limbaugh acts as "a support group for guys, mainly men," who, "feel underappreciated by their families, by their bosses."
Matthews' slights against Limbaugh and his audience came in several segments devoted to Republican Congressman Phil Gingery coming on the talk show host's program to apologize to him for a criticism he made of him earlier in the week. In one of the segments Matthews threw the following question to Salon's Joan Walsh:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Okay here's a great philosophical-, Joan you have opened a can of worms here. Why do libertarians and I respect a lot of libertarian philosophy. It's, at least, in ideal terms the Ayn Rand stuff. It's-, I love the idea it's romantic. If everybody could live on themselves, and take care of themselves, if that could work, it doesn't, fine. But why do people who say they're individualists, cowboys, out there all alone, refer to themselves as "Dittoheads?"
On this evening's Hardball, Dick Armey told Joan Walsh:
I'm so damn glad that you could never be my wife, cause I surely wouldn't have to listen to that prattle from you every day.
The former Republican representative from Texas had been wrangling with Salon editor Walsh over the politics of the stimulus package and the role Rush Limbaugh has been playing, when things got out of hand . . . [H/t reader JF.]
Good old Chris "Tingle" Matthews. We can always look to him to lower his own credibility just one more notch with each and every broadcast, can't we? This time Ol' Chris Tingle has debased himself by telling the four or five viewers he has that he thinks Governor Sarah Palin can't read or write. Apparently Matthews doesn't think that Palin has the capacity to write the book she is reportedly shopping around.
Even Politico can't explain away Tingle's ignorance here saying that "Matthews suggested Friday that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) may not have the reading or writing ability needed to complete the book she is reportedly shopping."
So asked Chris Matthews of Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy on today's edition of "Hardball." Gaffney was joined by liberal pundit David Corn of Mother Jones magazine in a segment around 5:20 p.m. ET and they were discussing the call by liberal Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) for a war crimes investigation of senior Bush administration officials and terrorist detainee interrogators.
For video of the exchange, click the play button on the embedded video.
Chris Matthews questioned Rush Limbaugh’s patriotism on Wednesday night’s "Hardball," as the MSNBC host wondered how the radio talk show host could dare to oppose Barack Obama as he exclaimed to his viewers: "Does Rush Limbaugh hate this country?" Matthews jumped on a quote from Limbaugh saying of Obama, "I hope he fails," apparently not understanding the concept that Limbaugh opposes any and all who would promote liberal policies precisely because he believes they will be harmful to the country. To see Limbaugh's quote in full context visit his official site. Matthews slammed Limbaugh in the following tease before going to a commercial break (audio excerpt here):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Up next, does Rush Limbaugh hate this country? Wait till you hear what he said about the new president. He wants him to fail. What an amazing-, I've never heard anybody say they wanted a new president to fail. Usually you want the new president to succeed and then later on you argue the politics of what he or she does. But to want them to fail at the outset? What's that about?
Later in his "Sideshow" segment Matthews aired a sound bite from Limbaugh and then snidely remarked: "Well Rush must have a lot of acorns squirreled away not to share everyone else's hopes that the economy does come back."
The following Matthews outbursts were aired on the January 21 edition of "Hardball":
Catching up with something from Saturday I just came across, Newsweek's Howard Fineman pointed out on MSNBC just before 6 PM EST, as the Obama-Biden train arrived at Washington, DC's Union Station, that he was reading “the pool reports that have been filed by reporters on the train and they refer to Barack Obama as PEBO, which is short for 'President-elect Barack Obama.'” Fineman felt that illustrated how “there's an intimacy and a familiarity on that train,” presumably between the journalists and Obama, one shared by Fineman who hailed Obama's “many gifts” and saw “a down-home folksiness that belies the tremendous hopes that not only the country, but the whole world, have for him.”
I've been reading the pool reports that have been filed by reporters on the train and they refer to Barack Obama as PEBO, which is short for “President-elect Barack Obama” and there's an intimacy and a familiarity on that train, a down-home folksiness, that belies the tremendous hopes that not only the country, but the whole world, have for him.
Surely no one would view Rev. Jeremiah Wright as closer to the centerpoint of American politics than Pastor Rick Warren, right? Wrong. Here's Chris Matthews on this evening's Hardball.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: It seems like Barack Obama, as much as seems to inspire people, including me, has a problem with pastors. I don't know what it is. You get him hooked up with a pastor, whether it's Jeremiah Wright, or it's this guy Rick Warren. One's on the left, one's on the far right. Both are causing him trouble.
So Wright's merely "left," while Warren's "far-right." Do we really need to prove the obvious: that Warren is vastly more mainstream than Wright? It hardly seems worth the effort, but let's consider a few factoids:
Chris Matthews invited Bill Ayers on Wednesday night's "Hardball," and actually confronted him about his bombing of Capitol Hill during his days as a member of the '60s terrorist group Weather Underground, as the former Capitol Hill police officer emotionally observed: "I was a Capitol policeman at the time, so I was one of the guys that could have been killed obviously at the time you put that, your guys put that bomb in there. So I have a little personal interest. It wasn't just vandalism. To me it was life-threatening to the guys I worked with. And there were some pretty good guys working there."
However Matthews, who paradoxically may not even be alive to conduct this interview today if the Weather Underground's bombs were more devastating, devoted most of the interview tossing softballs Ayers' way, as the two often agreed with each other on Barack Obama and Iraq policy as the "Hardball" host pointed out they only really differed on how to spread their points of view: "Well, Mr. Ayers, with all due respect, you agitate your way, I agitate my way."
Looks like Chris Matthews is actually disappointed in Barack Obama, but only in the sense that he's worried Obama isn't moving to the left fast enough. Throughout Monday night's "Hardball," after reciting recent appointments like Robert Gates, Jim Jones and yes even Hillary Clinton, Matthews repeatedly asked his guests questions like: "What happened to the victory of change, and I hate to use the phrase, the Left? Who won this election?" and "Why do we have no lefties in this Cabinet?"
Matthews even invited on two "lefties," Tim Carpenter of Progressive Democrats of America and David Corn of The Nation, to blast Obama for not going left enough and offered them regular spots on his show to "Keep the guy [Obama] where he ought to be."
A little later in the program, Matthews had on Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg news and Roger Simon of the Politico and fretted about his perception that there weren't enough leftists in the cabinet: "Why no lefties? Why nobody that talks like Barack Obama talked when he got elected?"
The following exchanges occurred on the December 8, edition of "Harball":