Of all people, you'd think a movie director would understand the importance of sticking to the script. But no . . .
There was a delicious moment on this afternoon's "Hardball." Host Chris Matthews had billed a new movie as standing for the proposition that Saudis hate Americans [note the screen graphic]. But when the movie's director came on, he declined to buy into Matthews's sweeping generalization, pitched capitalism as the answer to the region's problems, and even speculated that Iraq war has helped America's relations in the Middle East.
In his opening tease, Matthews proclaimed "Let's talk about why the Saudis hate us . . . in our second story tonight, why do Saudis hate Americans?"
Then, after an interview about Iran with Mario Cuomo [yes, he's still around], Matthews, teasing the next segment:
Did Chris Matthews, on his September 24th edition of "Hardball," really hear Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "allow" that there was a Holocaust? This is what he insisted to New York City Councilman David Weprin:
MATTHEWS: OK, let‘s talk about that very point. The hottest issue of the last century, of course, and the worst case of inhumanity to man, of course, is the Holocaust. I listened carefully to him. And I know you did, sir. Didn‘t you hear him allow the fact that there was, in fact, a Holocaust?
WEPRIN: Well, he—his statement today was different than his statement in the past.
WEPRIN: In the past, he‘s clearly said that the Holocaust was a hoax, it never existed. Now he‘s talking about doing more research. There‘s no question...
The title of Laura Ingraham's new book is "Power to the People," and the conservative commentator paraded power of her own to burn in her smackdown with Chris Matthews on this afternoon's "Hardball." The bone of contention was Matthews's suggestion that former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan had, in his new book, said that oil was the key to the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq.
Sticking and moving like a prize fighter, talk show host and author Laura Ingraham, outnumbered in a three against one fight, took out not only "Hardball" host Chris Matthews but his colleague David Shuster and NBC News political director Chuck Todd, as well.
View video here. (courtesy NB contributor Mark Finkelstein)
On Thursday night's "Hardball" Ingraham took Matthews to task for his outrageous claims about the Iraq war being about oil as she threw his past bias in his face: "What? What? Chris are, were you the one, the other night, correct me if I'm wrong, who said that we should hang Exxon and Mobil signs at, at Arlington National Cemetery?" Then Ingraham slapped down Matthews about his pessimistic view on the war: "Chris, I'm different from [where] you are on this. I actually have hope that goodness will prevail."
He's baack! Steve Skvara, the man who won the hearts and minds of many in the mainstream media by essentially calling for other people to pay for his wife's health insurance will soon be on Oprah Winfrey's talk show.
Not once but twice, Chris Matthews today accused Hillary Clinton of "pimping" for having staged a fundraiser that brought together high-rolling homeland-security lobbyists and the congressmen with power over their pet interests.
Matthews leveled the charge on this afternoon's "Hardball" in the course of an interview with David Bonior, John Edwards's campaign manager. The Edwards campaign, in an email from campaign advisor Joe Trippi, has swiped hard at Hillary over the fundraiser, calling it "corrupt."
Upset that a University of Florida student was tasered by campus police at a John Kerry event, MSNBC's Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's, "Hardball" feared it was a result of the "fascistic notion" of American troops "forcing" democracy on Iraqis at "gunpoint", filtering back home.
Chris Matthews: "You know when we walk into those, every night on television you watch pictures of American soldiers risking their lives to break into homes in Baghdad, at gunpoint, telling people to go along with the government that we've set up over there. Democracy at gunpoint. I wonder if it's filtered back here at home. I wonder if it's drift back home? The idea that democracy is something you do at gunpoint. ‘Either you behave and do it this way and show up by putting your fingers in the ink and doing it this way or you're an insurgent, therefore, we can round you up and if you resist we can kill you.'That notion it's a bit fascist and it's certainly a fascistic notion of democracy we're forcing, forcing on people over there. They didn't invited us into Iraq and I wonder now whether we are picking up some of the bad habits of the war front?"
Chris Matthews might as well have chanted "No Blood For Oil" throughout the Monday edition of MSNBC's "Hardball" as he sounded like an anti-war protestor as he charged that U.S. servicemen and women were spilling blood for Big Oil, as he questioned: "Are we fighting for the American oil companies for Mobil and Exxon? And they are making these enormous profits because of access to oil over there...Should we put Exxon signs up over Arlington Cemetery and Mobil signs up there, like they have at baseball stadiums?"
Pivoting off a David Shuster report that claimed Alan Greenspan "provided evidence" that the Iraq war has been "fought for oil," Matthews devoted much of the September 17 edition of "Hardball" to that conspiracy theory. The following is Shuster's report followed by Matthews's various "No Blood for Oil," rants:
It's a flip-flop that would be the envy of John Kerry in good windsurfing weather off Nantucket. For the last two days, Chris Matthews had been excoriating General David Petraeus for his reluctance to opine on the effect of the Iraq war on America's safety at home. Suddenly this morning, Matthews has decided that -- guess what? -- it's not Petraeus's job to make pronouncements of that sort.
As far as MSNBC's Chris Matthews is concerned, David Petraeus, four-star general, commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq, someone who has devoted his life to serving our country, is no better than Charlie McCarthy, a ventriloquist's dummy.
See UPDATE at foot: Gen. Petraeus subsequently testified to the importance of Iraq to national security.
In the wake of the odious MoveOn.org ad calling our commander in Iraq "General Betray Us," [read Dean Barnett's excellent take here] you might have thought the last thing a responsible member of the media would do would be to accuse other senior officials of "betrayal."
I did say "responsible." On this afternoon's "Hardball," Chris Matthews accused President Bush of "betrayal" for his handling of Iraq.
The "Hardball" host was fuming over Gen. Petraeus's reluctance to state whether the war in Iraq would make America safer.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: He couldn't say whether what we're doing in Iraq makes America safer or not. He couldn't say whether the lost lives, the misery, the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent are worth the effort in terms of our national security.
Several media outlets used the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to promote the 2008 Democratic candidates. On CNN, right after running a glowing piece on Democrats such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, anchor Soledad O’Brien sermonized that "no event has damaged the Bush White House more than Katrina." Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts claimed that candidates from "both parties" would travel to New Orleans to "point out the Bush administration's shortcomings in fixing many problems that still exist, like those being forced to still live in trailers."
"Hardball" regular David Shuster managed to combine both the Katrina coverage with the scandal over Senator Larry Craig. He bizarrely claimed that the Craig incident "adds moral insult to the injuries being suffered today by the victims of Hurricane Katrina."
This could be something of a first: a major MSM player admits there's a case to be made that the media is incredibly biased against Republicans.
As I noted here, when Tom DeLay accused the media of bias on this morning's "Today," Matt Lauer stonewalled: "I'm not going to let it, you know, end with that assumption, congressman, because I clearly don't agree with it."
But appearing on this afternoon's Harball, DeLay successfully wangled an admission from host Chris Matthews.
TOM DELAY: If [Craig] has been found guilty of what he's been accused of, then yeah. But I do know that the Republicans will do something about it. I do know that if he were a Democrat they would rally around him and they would not do something about it. I do know that the national media is incredibly biased against Republicans that find themselves [in trouble] --
CHRIS MATTHEWS: That's a charge which I've heard before and I can understand why you make it. You make it a lot. Sometimes you have a case to make. Sometimes.
On the Wednesday night edition of MSNBC's "Hardball" Chris Matthews and David Shuster continued to use the Larry Craig scandal to bury the GOP and while Matthews declared "the downfall of" Bush's party was "driven by every movement of the body politic" it was his colleague Shuster who outdid him when, after running down a litany of GOP troubles ranging from Craig to the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, charged: "It all adds moral insult to the injuries being suffered today by the victims of Hurricane Katrina."
Is the White House going to pull a Lucy again with the football trick all over again? For months, President Bush has been asking us to wait for a report from General Petraeus. How many times did we hear that phrase, Wait for the report from General Petraeus? Now we learn that the White House is going to write the report - the White House! - and that the general will testify publicly before Congress only after the report has been written by Bush‘s people.
And later as he hosted a panel discussion on the topic:
Chris Matthews' "Hardball" producers let the host down, as neither Sen. Pat Leahy or Rep. Henry Waxman accepted Matthews' invitation to grill Karl Rove on tonight's 5pm edition of Hardball. However that didn't stop Matthews from taking a few shots of his own at the President's adviser, as he called Rove a "bum," and sarcastically commented on Rove's genius as he greeted viewers of the August 13th edition of "Hardball" this way:
Matthews: "Can President Bush think without the man they call his brain? What about all those great ideas like dividing the country over Iraq and leaving New Orleans to drop into the sea? A country without Karl Rove calling the shots? Let's fear for the Republic. Let's play Hardball."
Apparently Hardball host Chris Matthews has a bit of a problem keeping his lust in check on the air. On Friday evening's Hardball, Matthews was interviewing CNBC's Street Signs anchor, Erin Burnett, about the latest Wall Street news when suddenly he switched gears as you can see in this video. The official transcript isn't up yet on the MSNBC website but here is a transcription of the conversation as best I could understand it:
MATTHEWS: Could you get a little closer to the camera?
BURNETT: What is it? Is it (garbled) in strangely?
Two military veterans almost came to blows on MSNBC's "Hardball" Wednesday evening as they debated the war in Iraq, and what presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-New York) would do if she wins the White House.
On the left was anti-war activist Jon Soltz of VoteVets.org, who became known to most conservatives when he prevented a uniformed soldier from speaking at a YearlyKos breakout session last Friday.
On the right was Move America Forward Vice Chairman, and two-time New York Times bestselling author Buzz Patterson.
As the sparks began to fly early, I'm going to just role the tape (video available here), and allow you to read along with the transcript that follows (h/t Melanie Morgan):
On tonight's Hardball, Mike Barnicle, substitute-hosting for Chris Matthews, used the tragedy of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis to call for bigger government and wondered, "Does this help the Democrats?" All throughout tonight's show, Barnicle repeatedly pressed his guests to call for an increase in the size of government and at one point even demanded: "Government's gotta get bigger!"
First up Barnicle asked the liberal Barney Frank where he would find the money to pay for bridge repair. After Frank responded that he would "end the war in Iraq" and raise taxes to improve America's infrastructure, Barnicle took the Congressman's cue to advance the tax hike/big government theme for the entirety of the show.
The following are just some of the exchanges as they occured on the August 2, edition of MSNBC's Hardball:
Does the MSM have the vaguest clue about what makes Republicans tick? For months the liberal media has been propounding the absurd notion that John McCain's quest to obtain the Republican presidential nomination has been undermined by his support for the Iraq war. The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart seems a good guy, but he has now added a clueless coda to that misperception, suggesting that McCain's efforts to repair his relations with the religious right has done him in.
Capehart was part of a panel on this afternoon's "Hardball." Mike Barnicle guest hosted for Chris Matthews, and asked the question "is John McCain gone?"
WASHINGTON POST EDITORIALIST JONATHAN CAPEHART: At least for me, as a member of the press, when John McCain . . . called Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance," I thought now there's straight talk, that's someone standing on his own two feet. But then, when he walked away from that recently, I thought wait a minute, what happened to straight talk?
Fortunately, the Weekly Standard's Matt Continetti was there to set him straight.
Judging by the media's reaction one could assume the Hillary campaign isn't displeased by the release and subsequent publication by the New York Times of her college letters. During the roundtable portion of tonight's Hardball the media panel dissected how her letters during her college days affected her campaign and they mostly agreed they only serve to help humanize the notoriously cold candidate.
Joan Walsh of Salon.com declared: "I think they're intensely humanizing...So I thought there were a net gain, positive, for her." Walsh even encouraged her own daughter to read them for inspiration: "I have a teenager, so I want her to read them and remember, you know, it's, that we all have days like that."
The current political buzzword is "naive." That's of course what Hillary called Obama, and he has responded in kind. But when it comes to being an ingenue, Obama has a long way to go to top Sally Quinn, grande dame of the DC set and wife of former WaPo editor Ben Bradlee. Here's what she said on this afternoon's "Hardball."
SALLY QUINN: The fact is that the new word these days is 'dialogue.' [Ed.: New? Well shut Socrates mouth!] And so many of these dictators, quote, dictators [Ed.: we wouldn't want to offend Assad or Kim Jong Il] are really sort of shallow people who are looking for respect, andif you talk to them, you can immediately sort of get them down and get them on your side.
Appearing live on the "Hardball Plaza," leftist film-maker Michael Moore pitched his movie "Sicko" and called for Bush and Cheney's impeachment, all in front of live audience and sympathetic "Hardball" host Chris Matthews. On tonight's edition of "Hardball," Matthews devoted the entire hour to Moore and praised "Sicko" as "amazing film-making," wondered why Americans were afraid of "socialized" medicine and stood by as Moore charged Bush and Cheney should be led out of the White House on a "perp walk" and be imprisoned for their war crimes.
The following are some of the more over-the-top moments from the July 23rd edition of "Hardball:"
There was an epic dust-up on this afternoon's show between feminist Naomi Wolf and conservative radio talk show host Melanie Morgan.
At the risk of burying the lead a bit, I can't resist observing that Naomi Wolf might just be the most passively aggressive woman in America. She has an amazing, infuriating, ability to keep a smile plastered on her face while saying the nastiest of things. It took her no more than a few seconds to get into it with guest host Mike Barnicle on this evening's Hardball. Barnicle invited Wolf to comment on the WaPo story about Hillary showing cleavage on the floor of the Senate, introducing her as a Democratic consultant and former advisor to Al Gore who had advised him to wear earth tones. But before responding, Naomi had some correctin' to do.
NAOMI WOLF: Mike, let me just stop you right there. You basically have not done your homework, no offense [right]. First of all, I'm not a Democratic consultant, I'm a writer. Second of all, I was advising Gore 2000 on women's issues that I've been talking about for 15 years . . . so you've just been, the Republican National Committee came up with a bunch of urban legends, and I'm afraid they pulled the wool over your eyes.
Pretty aggressive. Yet Wolf managed to maintain a brilliant, nay, beatific smile throughout. But when it came to aggression, Wolf was just clearing her throat.
While interviewing far-left antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews said he sympathized with her point of view that enough money should be appropriated to bring the troops home and end the war in Iraq. Video of the exchange is available here.
In all the time I've been monitoring the liberal media, rarely have I seen a host assail a guest with the ferocity David Shuster displayed in going after Fouad Ajami today. Shuster, guest-hosting for Chris Matthews on this afternoon's Hardball, was seemingly infuriated by a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece Ajami had written that analogized Scooter Libby to a fallen comrade who, pursuant to the Soldier's Creed, should not be left behind.
Set forth below are excerpts from Shuster's diatribe against Ajami, the Lebanese-born Director of the Middle East Studies Program at Johns Hopkins. But words alone don't do justice to the vituperation with which Shuster expressed himself. I urge readers to view the video. I might note that Ajami, perhaps inured to hyperbole by his many years in the Middle East, reacted to Shuster's verbal assaultswith equanimity.
SHUSTER: Mr. Ajami [never does Shuster refer to him by the honorific "Professor"], do you really believe Scooter Libby is like the 3,600 soldiers killed in Iraq?
AJAMI: I really don't need to be lectured on the soldiers killed in Iraq. I spent an enormous amount of time in Iraq. I've spent an enormous amount of time with the American soldiers in Iraq . . . I have a nephew serving with the American military as a lieutentant . . .
SHUSTER, interrupting: Which makes all this even more puzzling, with all due respect Mr. Ajami [translation: with no respect at all], to take someone like Scooter Libby and to compare him with somebody like your nephew or somebody who's actually wearing the uniform raises an awful lot of questions, and we're just trying to get at those questions [right].
AJAMI: You're following in the footsteps of Paul Krugman, who had a column in the New York Times. You have to be able to handle a metaphor. This really was a metaphor . . .
SHUSTER: Mr. Ajami, if it was a metaphor, why didn't you point out that it was a metaphor in your column? "Metaphor" is never in your column.
Elizabeth Edwards is even more of a hypocrite than NewsBusters readers already think. Everyone knows that during the infamous “Hardball” phone-call confrontation, Mrs. Edwards criticized Ann Coulter's “hate speech” and her “personal attacks" that “lower our political dialog.” But regular readers know that NewsBusters pointed out the hypocrisy of Elizabeth Edwards' comments, considering that until liberal bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan resigned, they worked for the Edwards' campaign and were known for anti-Christian “hate speech” and "personal attacks" toward Republicans.
Now it's even worse than Mrs. Edwards condemning Coulter because "(w)e can't have a debate about issues [while] using this kind of language” after employing Marcotte and McEwan. Guess who hired them in the first place? Yep, Elizabeth Edwards herself.
Chris Matthews, presumably away on vacation, handed the reigns of MSNBC's Hardball to Democratic activist Reverend Al Sharpton. The first two guests, in the first half-hour, of the Sharpton hosted July 2 episode, were Democrats - Howard Dean and Terry McAuliffe. The hot topic of the discussion with Dean was about how the John McCain campaign and the GOP, overall, were suffering in their fundraising efforts. The following "hardball" segment, with McAuliffe, featured the Hillary Clinton campaign chairman crowing about her fundraising success.
After the McAuliffe segment, Sharpton, actually interviewed a Republican. Predictably, Sharpton's questions to presidential candidate, Representative Duncan Hunter, were tougher than the ones to his Democratic colleagues. Following the Hunter segment, Sharpton quickly returned to his Democratic friends, as he invited on Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Chris Dodd.