I seem to be detecting a trend. There's a current in the MSM that fears Rudy Giuliani, perhaps sensing he might be best positioned to defeat the Dem candidate. Such folks console themselves by clinging to the belief that the GOP won't nominate Rudy, or at least won't avidly support him if he is the candidate, given his liberal positions on some issues.
This evening's Hardball offered a perfect example of the phenomenon in the person of Craig Crawford. Time and again, the MSNBC analyst returned to the theme:
"Getting onto the social conservative stuff: abortion, gay rights, etc., [Rudy at CPAC] did make the case that I'm 80% with you, better than most marriages, a pretty good line, but at the end of the day, they're important issues to these people, and I just really wonder, the more they learn about him, and just how liberal he really is on those issues, I think it's going to matter to them."
"Maybe I've just covered these social conservatives and these Republican races for too long to believe they're suddenly going to forget about that stuff, no matter how much they like Giuliani otherwise."
"I think if Giuliani wins this nomination, and he well could, social conservative voters are not going to play in the general election, and that's going to help Democrats."
"I really do believe a lot of these [socially conservative] voters and a lot of these groups are losing interest in politics."
"I don't think they've heard all the details of his personal life, and the judges [the liberal ones in NYC Rudy appointed] we're talking about."
Jim Vandehei, ex of WaPo, now with Politico.com, was dubious of Crawford's notion: "I think that the conventional wisdom must be wrong, this idea that once conservatives get to know Giuliani's record. I mean, how can they not know his record? Everybody's talking about it."
Explaining how Hillary Clinton isn't as popular with African-American voters as Bill was, MSNBC's Chris Matthews pointed to the former president's verbal skills as one of the reasons why when he proclaimed: "There are times when he sounds like Jesus in the temple." Matthews made that observation during a discussion with the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson where both cited Bill Clinton's performance at Coretta Scott King's funeral as a prime example of Slick Willie's oratory abilities. The following exchange took place about 30 minutes into last night's Hardball:
Eugene Robinson: "I mean, it's the one memorable speech from, from that funeral."
If there were any doubt as to the degree to which the MSM loathes and distrusts President Bush, it should be dispelled by the performance of Sy Hersh on today's Hardball and the way he was applauded by Chris Matthews. At the end of Hersh's appearance, Matthews put this question to the investigative reporter:
"What's your biggest worry in the world? Is it Iran? Is it this administration going to war with Iran? Is it a civil war in Iraq? Is it Musharraf's inability to fight the Taliban on his own soil? What's your biggest worry?"
On last night's Hardball, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams unintentionally slammed Chris Matthews on his own show. Discussing Walter Cronkite's famous declaration of U.S defeat in Vietnam, Williams claimed it was a watershed moment because the former CBS anchor had earned the "credibility" of his viewers but warned today's anchors can't have the same effect because: "People do Cronkite-esque statements on topics every day now. On, on cable, you can see one an hour." Williams was probably referencing Matthews' competitors but as any regular viewer of Hardball knows the charge is easily applied to his NBC colleague as Matthews is constantly making his own "Cronkite-esqe" declarations of U.S. defeat in Iraq.
Hey NBC your double-standards are showing! On last night's Hardball, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was in awe of the Clinton spin machine as he called them "pros" and "good leakers" but MSNBC correspondent David Shuster labeled Dick Cheney's behavior in the Scooter Libby leak case as "ruthless," and "obsessed."
First up Hardball host, Chris Matthews, asked Williams for his take on Hillary Clinton's rapid defense in her David Geffen-fueled spat with Barack Obama. Williams, seemed to admire the Clinton machine's prowess in both past and current crises, as he admitted: "They were pros politically. They were good leakers. They were good attackers, and they were good defenders.Hillary Rodham Clinton has some pros working for her.We've had some experience with them, all of us in this business have."
Thursday night's edition of "30 Rock" will feature the character of Jenna (played by Jane Krakowski) appearing on an episode of "Hardball" with Chris Matthews. Matthews is no stranger to entertainment. Last year, he appeared in the Robin Williams movie "Man of the Year" and also showed up in another citizen/politician movie, "Dave" with Kevin Kline, in 1993. He's also been around the NBC-TV carousel before, with "The West Wing" and with the short-lived young-senator drama "Mister Sterling." Tucker Carlson will also appear on the sitcom's promotion of MSNBC.
Over at Fox News, "The Half-Hour News Hour" bagged 1.48 million viewers in its Sunday night debut, landing it on the ratings "Winners" list at the Washington Post, which noted "That's about 80 percent more viewers than FNC has averaged in that slot in the first quarter." The Post also noted its competition, "The Daily Show," averaged 1.57 million viewers from last Monday to Thursday.
Having gotten myself and others into a spot of bother when I wondered awhile ago whether there might have been some "trickeration" involved in an image appearing on Hillary's campaign website, far be it from me to suggest that there's anything altered in the photo displayed here. It turned up today in a Clinton fundraising email I received. Yes, I'm a duly member-registered member at HillaryClinton.com.
But I do believe the photo raises another issue. Chris Matthews recently and repeatedly raised concerns that Bill's failure to "behave" could cause problems for Hillary's campaign. Hillary has now chosen an image making an implicit statement about the nature of her relationship with Bill. Since she has put the matter on the table, will the MSM do anything to verify -- or debunk -- the photo's unstated but unmistakable suggestion?
On last night's Hardball Chris Matthews, interviewing Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, was peeved that Democrats weren't pushing hard enough to have a vote on the surge. Citing polls in opposition to the surge a flustered Matthews worried Democrats were going to roll over for the President and demanded Hoyer not let the President ignore Democrats like he ignored Katrina. In the first segment of the February 14th, Hardball Matthews declared to Hoyer: "He is gonna treat you, the first branch of the Constitution, as if you're Katrina, not to be paid attention to."
The following is the full question from Matthews:
Chris Matthews: "Well, we have a new poll that shows that seven, seven out of 10 Americans are watching Congress to see how they vote on this and they say that they vote and they say that if they vote the wrong way, they're going to remember that come election time. You know, Mr. Leader, you and I were grew up in a country where presidents were very attune to Congress and respectful of it, especially those who came out of Congress like Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy and even Richard Nixon. They watched the Congress, they paid attention to it and they cared about its legislative duties. This President, and I know you respect him as we do, as President, but he came out and said the other day that he's not even gonna bother watching the floor debate. He doesn't even want to hear about it. He's got other things to do. He is gonna treat you, the first branch of the Constitution, as if you're Katrina, not to be paid attention to. Does that bother you constitutionally that the President doesn't think that this major debate on war is something he's not even gonna bother to watch on television?"
It's one thing for Chip Reid or David Gregory to give Mitt Romney a hard time over his abortion position change, as I documented here and here. But on this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews took it to a fiery new level, and Pat Buchanan got into the act.
Matthews: "This is like the kind of conversions you had in Spain in the old bad days where if you were Jewish, you were Christian the next day or you were burned alive!"
The screencap shows Chris Matthews giving Pat an approving finger as the paleo-con posed and answered his own question:
"Do I believe these are sincere, honest conversions of Rudy or Romney? In my judgment, probably not. I think they're changing their positions for political reasons. And you either accept that or you take the alternative which may be Hillary Rodham Clinton."
This week, Chris Matthews' anti-Bush bigotry spilled over into a profanity laden rant. The "Hardball" host dropped the F-bomb during a live interview with Don Imus.
Meanwhile, CNN’s Paula Zahn connected opposition of illegal immigration to, you guessed it, the Ku Klux Klan. This is the same network, however, that tried to downplay proven religious bigotry by a blogger for the John Edwards campaign.
Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer spent the week in Syria. She let the despotism of President Bashar Assad go mostly unchallenged.
During other segments, Sawyer chose to ask him about video games and whether he uses an iPod.
Has Chris Matthews watched one too many episodes of "Oz," the hyper-graphic HBO original series about prison life?
Discussing the Scooter Libby trial on the 7 PM ET edition of this evening's Hardball, Chris spun a sanguine scenario in which Libby, facing the prospect of a long prison sentence in a vulnerable environment, might turn on Vice-President Cheney.
Matthews: "If Scooter's convicted, if you're looking at the number of counts facing him. If that jury really does go to town -- and I hope they're not watching -- and hits him with four or five counts, they add up to big time in some federal penitentiary, not necessarily Allenwood [known as the country club of federal prisons]. Someplace where a guy like Scooter Libby would not bevery protected from the fellow prisoners. If he faces 20 years somewhere in maximum security, he's going to think again about his situation, isn't he?"
Rajiv Chandrasekaran was the Baghdad bureau chief for the Washington Post during the tenure of Paul Bremer as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in the period succeeding the removal of Saddam Hussein. Chandrasekaran is the author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City, a book generally critical of Bremer's administration -- but apparently not critical enough for Chris Matthews. Chandrasekaran was Matthews' guest on today's Hardball.
At one point, Matthews launched this vulgar leading question about Bremer:
"Did this guy blow it? Was he a joke? Was he an arse on a golden horse?"
There's nothing like the day an Italian-American Republican moves toward announcing his presidential candidacy for musing as to whether he might have a whiff of fascism about him. As reported here, Rudy Giuliani inched closer to running for president today by filing a so-called "statement of candidacy" with the Federal Election Commission, indicating that he would seek the presidency as a Republican should he decide to go forward.
Chris Matthews had Rudy supporter and former congresswoman Susan Molinari as a guest on this afternoon's Hardball. In the course of discussing the way in which Rudy managed to clean up NYC, Matthews and Molinari had the following exchange:
Does Chris Matthews know something about what Bill Clinton's been up to, so to speak?
Not once, not twice, but no fewer than 12 times in under two minutes on Friday's Hardball, Matthews raised the question of whether the former president would "behave himself," not cause "distractions" with his "private life," etc. Chris' guest was Hillary confidant and campaign aide Ann Lewis, who is also sister to Rep. Barney Frank.
I'm feeling a lot of love out there. Directed by the MSM toward Joe Biden, that is, for having called Barack Obama the first "clean" and "articulate" black presidential candidate. Earlier this evening, as noted here, Chris Matthews, joined by MSMers Jay Carney and Anne Kornblut, cut Biden mucho slack.
The forgive-a-thon continued on Countdown. First, Keith Olbermann declared Biden's comments "a slip." Washington Poster Dana Milbank then got into the evening's understanding zeitgeist, assuring us that "nobody sees Joe Biden as a racist."
Olbermann spun a theory that "the conservative media establishment" including "bloggers" who are "doing a lot of Biden bashing today" are motivated not by outrage over Biden's comments but by "a desire to inflict damage on a Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."
Let's play one of our favorite parlor games: "WIARHSI?" You know: "What if a Republican Had Said It?" In today's game, let's imagine what would happen if a Republican presidential candidate had said that Barack Obama was the first "clean" and "articulate" African-American presidential candidate?
Which paper would be first to call for the Republican's withdrawal from the race: the NY Times, Boston Globe, WaPo, other?
How soon until Jesse Jackson, Carol Moseley-Braun and Al Sharpton turned up on TV to be asked how they felt about being insulted in this way?
How many hours of MSM musing over the GOP's "history of racial insensitivity"; how many replays of Trent Lott making his statement about Strom Thurmond, of George Allen's 'macaca' moment, etc., would we be subjected to over the ensuing week?
How long until the hapless Republican did indeed withdraw from the race?
But when it's a Democrat . . . count on Chris Matthews, for one, to circle the wagons.
Matthews had Anne Kornblut of the Washington Post and Jay Carney of Time magazine in as guests. The trio didn't even broach the Biden comments until a full ten minutes into their gab fest, after batting around a number of other issues. How long would Chris have waited to launch had it been a Republican on the hot seat?
On Tuesday night's Hardball, Howard Fineman saw Hillary's joke about "bad and evil men" as a "brilliant" way to "gently" push Bill Clinton aside. MSNBC's Chris Matthews brought on Newsweek's Fineman and The Hotline's Chuck Todd to analyze whether or not Hillary Clinton was, indeed, referring to the former President and if so, if that was some sort of strategy on her part. Fineman postulated it was Hillary's way of telling the nation if she's moved on than so should the country. To which Matthews exclaimed: "You should be her flack, because that is the message she should have come out with."
The following discussion occurred on the January 30th edition of Hardball.
Chris Matthews: "Let me ask you this. Hillary's joke, who was the butt of the joke? She tells this big joke, 'I'm used to dealing with bad and evil men. I can take on Osama bin Laden.' And she's doing it kind of a girl talk kind of, I wish it wasn't all guys here. What was she doing? What was that about?"
"Truth is stranger than fiction" is a phrase you often hear tossed around. I'd add a corollary to it: truth can be funnier than fiction, too.
Such was the case on tonight's "Hardball" where host Chris Matthews got so excited with his quest to blame the Bush admin for the Valerie Plame kerfuffle, he actually started drooling about it on the air, going past anything that "Saturday Night Live" actor Darrell Hammond has ever done in parody.
And no, that's not hyperbole. See the screenshot to the right and watch the video here in WMV or in RealPlayer.
Lynn Sweet has seen an angry Hillary up close and personal, and it left a mark, as you can see by the screen capture of Sweet describing that moment. You can't get much more mainstream than Sweet: D.C. bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times, columnist for The Hill, a weekly newspaper that covers the Congress, member of the National Press Club and the Gridiron Club.
Appearing on this afternoon's Hardball, Sweet was discussing the incident in which Hillary, in Iowa, jokingly referred to having experience with "evil men." The question naturally arose as to whether Hillary was alluding to Bill.
Having hit Chris Matthews hard here in recent weeks, let's give him credit for flashing some real reporter's instincts in going after Hillary aide Howard Wolfson on this afternoon's Hardball on the issue of whether the campaign is conducting opposition research on its Dem rivals.
And while Wolfson wouldn't flatly admit it, by the end of the interview there was little doubt that Hillary's campaign is actively digging for dirt on its Dem opponents.
Matthews: "Let me ask you about opposition research. Is that part of your campaign: checking out other candidates's possible flaws in their resumes? Are you guys going to engage in that kind of politics to win the nomination?"
When Wolfson gave an evasive answer to the effect he and Hillary believe she can win by focusing on her record, Matthews persisted:
NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” did a wonderful sketch last evening that in one fell swoop made fun of “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and the media’s sycophantic enthrallment with the former first couple from Arkansas (video available here).
The skit began with the mock Matthews gushing over finally getting the chance to interview Madame Clinton. After he finally composed himself, the first question he asked admittedly was “actually written by a member of [her] staff.”
Sounds about right, correct?
Then, the mock Matthews said that he’s got some questions of his own, and demurely asked, “Is it all right if they’re about Iraq?”
Chris Matthews and John Fund had something of a nuclear showdown on this afternoon's Hardball. Matthews' current kick is worrying that President Bush might launch an attack on Iran without congressional authorization. In that context, talk turned to Saddam's nuclear program and that of North Korea.
As everyone knows and Andrea Mitchell has confirmed, Chris Matthews is no liberal. Don't let the fact that he describes the goal of the impending Iraq surge as "ethnic cleansing" fool you.
Matthews discussed the impending surge into Baghdad on this evening's Hardball with David Ignatius of the Washington Post and Gary Berntsen, the former CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora.
Said Matthews, speaking of the role of US troops:
"If they are forced to do patrol duty in the streets of the Sunni areas where they are expected to basically be part of the ethnic cleansing because they will be shooting at Sunnis, they are going to get shot back at."
Has Chris Matthews surged and accelerated his war against President Bush? Did the MSNBC host and analyst refer to the Commander-in-Chief as "evil"?
In the course of Matthews dialogue with Lester Holt, guest-hosting on this morning's "Today," Holt raised the possibility that President Bush might choose to expand the war into Iran:
Holt: "The president of course has stepped up language against Iran for its interference within Iraq. He sent a naval aircraft carrier group to the Persian Gulf. If he makes this now against Ahmadinejad, if Ahmadinejad becomes the 'poster thug' in this case, does that increase support for the war?"
Matthews: "Well, the president may well choose to widen the war for political reasons . He may do it for military reasons. We do have our troops under assault in Iraq and he has to protect the troops. And if there is Iraqi [sic, presumably Iranian] involvement in the other side he has to take steps. The danger is we might cross the border into Iraq [sic, again surely referring to Iran], therefore triggering a reaction from Iraq, from Iran rather, and then we go to war with Iran. And I think the President might well want to do that. Who knows what evil lurks? But the fact of the matter is that the American public may never get a say in this. The Congress may never get a say in it."
On Thursday, NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein wrote about “Hardball’s” Chris Matthews stating “Cheney, of course, who always wants to kill” on Don Imus’s radio program. On Friday, the Fox News website featured this exchange in a “Bias Alert.”
Fox News is taking Bill O'Reilly's campaign against "NBC's turn to the far left" to FOXNews.com. The number three story on the home page this afternoon says: "Bias Alert: Which NBC Biggie Said, 'Cheney ... Always Wants to Kill'?"
According to the article, this was a multiple choice question:
For Chris Matthews, there is one constant to be considered in analyzing the prospects of the presidential contenders on both the GOP and Dem sides: the presumed bigotry of his fellow Americans.
Kibitzing about '08 on this afternoon's Hardball with a conservative-free panel composed of Chris Cizzilla of the Washington Post, Mike Allen of Time and Howard Fineman of time immemorial, Matthews first handicapped the Dem field in these terms:
"Is the low estimate of [Democrats'] belief in [Hillary's] electability low enough thatthey think that an African-American guy has a better shot than she does? I mean that's a statement, I think, of pessimism about her shot if you shift to him for electability reasons."
All throughout last night's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews kept pressing the line the administration was headed for war with Iran, so much so, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow felt the need to calm down Matthews. When an agitated Matthews demanded: "Tony, will the President ask Congress' approval before any attack on Iran?,' Snow countered, "You're getting way ahead of yourself, Chris. Nobody here is talking about attacks on Iran." Snow even attempted to tone down the admitted film buff's active imagination as he warned the excitable Hardball host: "Well, you've been watching too many old movies featuring your old friend Slim Pickens is what you're doing now, come on."
Last week saw the dawning of the new Democratic majority and members of the media seemed to be charmed by the event. ABC reporter Cokie Roberts described a photo-op of new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding her grandchild as "fun" and "completely natural." CBS’s Bob Schieffer interviewed Pelosi and pressed her to raise taxes. And "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney became nostalgic for Democrats of old, saying it’s "hard to dislike Jimmy Carter."
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann continued his fevered attack on all things Republican and conservative. He’s now accused White House Press Secretary Tony Snow of "bald-faced lying" about a Bush speech. Olbermann’s cohort in liberalism, Chris Matthews, described the Vice President of the United States as someone "who always wants to kill." Later in the week, he told his "Hardball" audience that he was "terrified" of the President’s plans for Iran. Chris, calm down!
Appearing on this morning's Imus show, Chris Matthews [file photo] painted a portrait of a bloodthirsty VP Cheney.
Matthews: "I don't think we should get deeper and deeper into the sands of Arabia with more troops. I think these decisions to keep going forward, which is what he’s doing, is getting us into a quicksand situation where the more you struggle, the more you sink. I think that's where we're headed and it‘s because of his ideology, because of the neocons who have grabbed his arm again, this guy Fred Kagan has grabbed hold of him [the president] again and they've using [retired General] Jack Keane to do it, and they’re working through Cheney, of course, who always wants to kill, and they’ve dragged us back into the same mentality that we're looking for any reason to strike, and I think that's the way he is towards Iran right now."