24 Aug 2004 Chris Matthews: Not Hardball But Hogwash
I let MSNBC’s marketing scheme work in my case and as such I watched Chris Matthews’ Hardball show tonight.
I’m not impressed. It is hard to be impressed by a man over 13 who intentionally messes up saying another person’s name (Michelle Malkin’s) just because he disagrees with her political opinions. Matthews did that tonight, and was unfair to Michelle Malkin in other ways, too. For instance, Matthews insisted repeatedly that he asked Malkin a question 12 times on Friday’s show and Malkin didn’t answer. The issue was not how often Matthews asked, but that he refused to listen to her answer. Better he had asked her once, and then shut up and listened to Malkin’s reply. Then he could have asked a follow-up. (I admit this is a revolutionary suggestion on my part, but it just might have worked.)
In another criticism of his professionalism, I question why Matthews referred to Republican donors repeatedly as “Republican fundraisers.” A fundraiser raises money, a donor donates it. Matthews is a political hack; he knows the difference. Having no other explanation, I can only conclude that using the accurate terminology just isn’t important to him. Certainly, in this instance, it doesn’t really matter, but if a “journalist” does not care about accuracy on small things that don’t matter, how hard will he push for accuracy on matters that do matter, especially if they lead to conclusions he does not like?
Of course, I may be biased. First, I tend to hold people who claim to be journalists to fairly high standards on things such as word usage. (I seem to be a rare bird in this regard.) I also expect them to know more than diddly-squat about the subjects they are doing stories on. Second, this institution spent the first six years of its existence (we were founded in 1982) supporting Ronald Reagan’s national security policy. We were fought tooth and nail by the Democrat Congress. Chris Matthews was Tip O’Neill’s chief of staff during (roughly) that same period of time. I’m not exactly bitter about our experiences then, even though they were hard years (by office job standards), since we did win the Cold War. But I admit it is hard for me to look at his face on the TV and not remember so many of us having to fight so hard against domestic opposition in order to do so. To this day I don’t understand why so many Democrats refused to be on the side of freedom.
I have not been watching Chris Matthews’ show on MSNBC these last howevermany years. Some have told me Matthews’ show was good during the Clinton impeachment trial because he, Matthews, reportedly did not make excuses for adultery and perjury, yet he was not reflexively anti-Democrat, either. If so, good for Matthews. But I would find it hard to regularly watch a show dominated by someone over 40 who seems to have a teenager’s level of maturity, even if we had been on the same side of the climactic battle for world freedom that consumed nearly the entire 20th Century.