Gabriel Sherman's piece in New York magazine (10/3/10) on the cable news wars includes a bit of history on MSNBC's firing of progressive host Phil Donahue in 2003; an internal memo at the timeworried that the showwould be "a home for the liberal anti-war agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity." Sherman focuses on MSNBC personality Chris Matthews–who sometimes claimshe was opposed to the Iraq War–and his desire to get Donahue fired: Donahue's problems only increased when Chris Matthews let it be known that he wanted Donahue off the air. Matthews was [...]
On May 4, 2010: What killed President Bush's credibility? His utter claim that the reason we went to war in Iraq was to search for nuclear weapons. Because he and his people were dishonest enough to make that claim, he ended up looking like an incompetent when we fought our way into that country and are still fighting our way out, only to find there were no nuclear weapons on hand. The incompetence became downright staggering when the commander in chief pranced on to an aircraft carrier with that "Mission Accomplished" banner flying overhead. The bozos couldn't even get the [...]
…he would have to take a leave of absence to recover from the shame of having heaped ridicule on a guest who tried to explain to him how Congress could and would pass a healthcare reform bill. Daily Kos (3/22/10) recalled the January 22 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, in which guest Rep. Alan Grayson (D.-Fla.) pointed out that the Senate had already passed a healthcare bill, and that the House could approve it and then pass amendments that the Senate could accept via reconciliation. Matthews' response: "OK, OK. OK, you know, this show is about reality." Matthews continually mocked Grayson [...]
On his weekend NBC show, Chris Matthews regularly posts a question to 12 regular pundit/journalists–what he calls "The Matthews Meter." This Sunday (3/14/10), the question was: "Should Obama Move to the Center Instead of the Left as a Reelection Strategy?" Matthews explained it on the show: Let's go to the bottom line. We took it to The Matthews Meter, 12 of our regulars. What's the smartest political route for Obama right now, play to the center or to the left? Well, no contest here. Eleven say play to the center; just one says go left. That's about asclear a statement [...]
A meeting of the minds between NBC host Chris Matthews and Washington Post columnist David Ignatius (Chris Matthews Show, 11/29/09): IGNATIUS: The long period of analysis, very deliberative, robs this of passion. This is–he was going to be a wartime president now, and he has to sell the country on the idea that our young men and women are going to go there, fight and get killed. MITCHELL: Yes. IGNATIUS: And, you know, I think this, you know, this is not going to…. MATTHEWS: So too much Chamberlain, not enough Churchill. IGNATIUS: Well, too much–too much college professor.
Following the 1992 GOP convention, FAIR's magazine Extra! (11/92) highlighted remarks made by Rich Bond in which the then-Republican national chair explained the strategy behind the right's relentless charges of liberal media bias: There's some strategy to it. I'm the coach of a kids' basketball team and Little League Teams. If you watch any great coach, what they try to do is "work the refs." Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack next time. In a recent appearance on MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews (10/19/09), Pat Buchanan gave a first-hand account of how the strategy paid off for [...]
"It is difficult to overstate President Obama's unpopularity in most of Louisiana," writes Campbell Robertson in a front-page New York Times article (9/11/09). Yet Robertson managed to pull it off. Robertson continues: "He lost handily to Senator John McCain here, picking up only 14 percent of the white vote. (The state is roughly two-thirds white.)" Fourteen percent? Wow, that is unpopular! But given that black and other non-white people have been able to vote in Louisiana for several decades now, wouldn't it make sense to give the actual share of the vote Obama received? That would be 40 percent, which [...]
David Gregory, host of NBC's Meet the Press (3/1/09): The Obama stimulus package, $787 billion. The housing plan, $75 billion. That's $2.3 trillion. Seven hundred and fifty billion dollars additional in this document for additional bailout money for the banks. Meantime, what metric do we have to see how people–what people think of that government intervention? The Dow is one metric. It closed on Friday at its lowest level since 1997, just over 7,000. The Dow is not a measure about what "people" think about government policies. It's a measure of what the tiny, elite group of people who trade [...]
Leave it to Forbes to get someone from the Hoover Institution to do an "in-depth" feature on "The 25 Most Influential Liberals in the U.S. Media" (1/22/09). The results are about as bogus as you might imagine, including a number of people who are not only not liberals, but who are actively loathed by the actual left end of the media spectrum–and the feeling is generally mutual: folks like Fred Hiatt, Thomas Friedman, Fareed Zakaria, Christopher Hitchens (did their Nation sub lapse in 1998?), Maureen Dowd, Chris Matthews and Andrew Sullivan. Then there are some corporate journalists whose "liberalism" seems [...]
Chris Matthews reacting Bush's speech (as transcribed by the right-wing Media Research Center): The idea that we have some brand new neo-conservative ideology of freedom that's going to bring peace over in that part of the world is not true, and he's still selling it, and that's the tragedy of the last eight years. The very same Chris Matthews, reacting toa Saddam Hussein statue being pulled down in Baghdad (4/9/03): We're all neo-cons now.
FAIR founder Jeff Cohen and longtime FAIR associate Norman Solomon have compiled their 17th annual list of "P.U.-litzer Prizes" (OpEd News, 12/18/08). Among this year's "stinkiest media performances": HOT FOR OBAMA PRIZE — MSNBC's Chris Matthews This award sparked fierce competition, but the cinch came on the day Obama swept the Potomac Primary in February–when Chris Matthews spoke of "the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often." BEYOND PARODY PRIZE–Fox News In August, a FoxNews.com teaser for the O'Reilly Factor [...]
In "Clout Has Plunged for Automakers and Union, Too," the New York Times' Micheline Maynard makes this curious observation: [GM CEO Rick ]Wagoner and Ron Gettelfinger, head of the U.A.W., appeared on local TV in Detroit this week, but no Detroit representatives landed spots on the Sunday morning talk shows out of Washington. Senator Levin was their primary spokesman on NBC's Meet the Press and Face the Nation on CBS. Whileit might be odd for a CEO like Wagoner to have trouble getting on the TV talkshow circuit, the lack of a labor spokesperson on the Sunday shows is pretty [...]
New York Times TV reporter Jim Rutenberg (11/2/08) tries to make a case that Fox News and MSNBC are (in Tom Rosenstiel's words) "reverse images of each other." Here are the actual quotes used by Rutenberg to demonstrate this supposed parallelism–first, Ann Coulter on Fox (10/30/08): I feel like we are talking to the Germans after Hitler comes to power, saying, "Oh, well, I didn't know." And then Chris Matthews on MSNBC (10/29/08), addressing those who wouldn't vote for Obama because he's black: He's been a good father, a good citizen, he's paid attention to his country…. Give the guy [...]