For someone supposedly adept at ferreting out bigoted code-words and racist dog whistles in American political discourse, Chris Matthews was incredibly careless with a turn of phrase on Thursday night's edition of Hardball.
During a segment with African-American actors best known for their role on HBO's The Wire, Matthews asked Gbenga Akinnagbe for his thoughts on why black Democratic politicians had so little to show for their years of loyalty to the party. Did the Congressional Black Caucus, for example, need to "crack the whip" when it came to pushing its agenda for improving America's inner-city black communities like Baltimore's.
Now look, in fairness and charity to Matthews, I most certainly do NOT think he meant anything untoward by his remark. But we must remember that he is incessantly attributed the most malicious of intentions to Republicans and their rhetoric, including one time even insisting the word "apartment" had some sinister racist connotation.
Here's the relevant transcript from the segment entitled "Actors from The Wire on how to fix Baltimore":
April 30, 2015
7:42 p.m. Eastern
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, what do you think of local politicians in the black community. Do you think they put the pressure on the majority in the country? Do they use their clout? There's an awful lot of members of the African-American and Black Caucus in the D.C. and federal government. And I just wonder, do they crack the whip enough? Do they make sure that people listen to them, you know, as a deal. If you want to be part of the majority that wins elections, you've got to help us.