Tag Archives: Chris Matthews

Matthews’ departure comes into sharper focus

I admit readily — and I have done so many times — that I am not the most intuitive guy in the world.

People say things that zoom straight over my noggin and I barely take note of how offensive their statements might seem to others, such as, oh, women or minorities.

When I heard last night from Chris Matthews himself on TV say that he was leaving MSNBC immediately and ending his two-decade run of “Hardball,” I was flummoxed initially. What the hell just happened? I wondered.

Then I heard about the things he said to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, questioning whether a woman she quoted in a Democratic presidential debate could have been lying about something Michael Bloomberg allegedly told her. It didn’t dawn on me in the moment, when Matthews and Warren sparred over that exchange, that women took serious offense to the questioning that Matthews was leveling at Warren.

Then came reports about Matthews hitting on women on his show, telling one of them how he had failed to “fall in love” with her. She reportedly took offense at the seeming come-on.

Matthews quit suddenly while admitting that times have changed from when the now 74-year-old was coming of age. Things that men said back then are no longer acceptable, he said. He apologized for what he had said.

I have commented already how I will miss his commentary. Yes, I have enjoyed watching him spar and joust with politicians. I have admired his ability to challenge those with whom agrees politically as readily as he does with those on the other side of the fence. To be candid, I didn’t pick up on the issues that others have identified as offensive.

When he wondered aloud about Bernie Sanders’ win in Nevada was akin to the Nazi conquest of France during World War II, I thought: Oh, that’s an interesting analogy. I didn’t cringe as others have done.

So now he’s gone from the air. Matthews could be abrasive, brash and loud. I heard all of that. It didn’t phase me.

I don’t know if any of this will sharpen my intuitive instincts. Maybe it will. If it doesn’t, I want to apologize in advance for any offense that I won’t take when someone pops off.

Thanks for the memories, Chris Matthews

Now that I have caught my breath — more or less — I want to say a word or two about a stunning announcement that hit me like a slap in the chops as I waited to hear from one of my favorite TV commentators.

Chris Matthews instead came on the air and said he was leaving a show I’ve been watching for the past two decades. That would be “Hardball.”

Matthews is gone. Just like that.

Well, my first reaction was: What in the name of unwelcomed surprises was that all about ? It turns out that Matthews and his MSNBC bosses thought they should part company over some on-air and off-air missteps.

Tonight the host apologized for saying something complimentary about a woman’s appearance, which someone must have thought was inappropriate. He earlier apologized correctly for invoking a Nazi Holocaust reference to Bernie Sanders’ stunning Nevada caucus victory.

Now he’s gone.

He spoke of the many fans of his who have enjoyed watching his commentary on the air. I am one of them. I long have gotten much about this man’s snappy, staccato rhetoric that he delivered at times over the voices of his guests. Still, this guy always has something interesting to say and he says it in a sort of regular-guy sort of manner that I find so amazingly appealing.

Matthews is no stranger to politics. He wrote speeches for President Carter, worked as an aide to House Speaker Tip O’Neill. He’s been at the center of power for decades. He has reported on the center of power as a reporter and columnist for the San Francisco Examiner.

The man’s knowledge is obvious. His love of politics and his belief in politics as a noble profession is equally so.

I am going to miss Chris Matthews’ perspective, which he delivered to us nightly with courage and ferocity.

MSNBC host needs to issue a full-throated apology

Chris Matthews has stepped in it. Big time.

The MSNBC “Hardball” host is taking intense social media fire over a remark he made over the weekend in which he likened Sen. Bernie Sanders’ big win in the Nevada caucus to the Nazi invasion and conquest of France during World War II.

One serious problem has emerged immediately after Matthews shot off his loud and boisterous mouth. Sanders, who is Jewish, lost many of his family members during the Holocaust.

Social media have gone berserk. Viewers are calling for Matthews, a veteran newspaper columnist, a former congressional aide and a longtime cable TV broadcast personality, to resign. Short of resignation, social media critics are calling on MSBNC to fire Matthews for his display of extreme insensitivity.

Here’s what I think ought to happen.

Chris Matthews needs to go on the air and issue an apology. And I don’t mean one of those phony “If I offended anyone” non-apologies. He needs to say something like this: “I made a terrible mistake. I am sorry for what I said. I engaged my motor mouth without turning on my sensitivity filter. I blew it and I apologize to everyone who heard me make that hideous comparison on the air.”

If the apology doesn’t stem the criticism, then he should quit. My hope would be that a full-throated, sincere apology might do the job.

What’s more, Matthews — who is known for his machine-gun delivery — needs to re-calibrate the manner in which he delivers his commentary.

Time of My Life, Part 42: I met him before he was famous

Chris Matthews is celebrating 20 years as host of an MSNBC news/commentary talk show, “Hardball.” He has been getting salutes from fellow media stars, politicians and entertainers.

I don’t qualify as any of those categories of individuals, but I want to offer a salute of my own.

You see, I met Chris Matthews once before he was, well, “Chris Matthews.”

It was the summer of 1992 in sweltering Houston, Texas. Matthews and I worked for the same media corporate employer, the Hearst Corporation. I was attending the Republican National Convention at the Houston Astrodome while working as editorial page editor of the Beaumont Enterprise; Matthews was there as a columnist for the San Francisco Examiner. He hadn’t yet made his big splash on cable news TV, although Matthews was a frequent guest — as I remember it — on the PBS program “The McLaughlin Group.”

The Hearst Newspapers had a work station deep in the bowels of the Astrodome. We all had our areas where we could organize our notes and send stories back to our newspapers through the primitive computer systems we used at the time.

One morning, I went to the small coffee bar we had set up in our work stations. Who do you think joined me there? Chris Matthews, that’s who. We chatted for a few minutes. I told him I enjoyed publishing his column in the Beaumont Enterprise; he thanked me for the exposure was getting in Southeast Texas. We had a laugh or two about what we had seen the previous day. Then our encounter ended.

My recollection of this guy, whose media personality is loud, brash, borderline rude is that he was much quieter when he was chatting with a fellow Hearst-oid. Yes, he is a gentleman.

OK, I admit to being a bit star struck as I recall that brief meeting. I doubt Chris Matthews would remember it, given the journeys our respective lives took after that encounter in the Houston Astrodome.

If he would remember, I would be flattered to the max. If he doesn’t, that’s all right. I do.

Trump’s record ‘too controversial’? Hmmm …

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This is too good to keep to myself.

OK, it’s already out there in the public domain, but I have to share a bit of it here. It involves something Donald J. Trump told columnist/TV commentator Chris Matthews in 1998.

It comes from the Guardian in Australia. A friend of mine sent it to me overnight in an e-mail. To wit:

“During a 1998 appearance on CNBC with host Chris Matthews, current Republican presidential nominee and then simple tycoon Donald Trump declared that if Bill Clinton’s personal peccadillos were enough to prompt impeachment proceedings, his own history with women was more than sufficient to keep him out of the White House.

“‘Can you imagine how controversial I’d be?’ Trump said at the time. ‘You think about him with women. How about me with women? Can you imagine?

“Trump was still confident that ‘his women’ would be better received by the American public. ‘Yeah. They might like my women better, too, you know?'”

Hmm. Well, time will tell — probably around, oh, Nov. 8 — whether Americans like Trump’s women better. My strong hunch tells me the decision voters make — once they get past his utter ignorance of the substance of anything at all — will also be based on Trump’s “own history with women.”

Gary, we hardly knew ye

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Pity poor Gary Johnson.

He (almost) had me, then he lost me.

The former New Mexico governor is running for president as a Libertarian. His running mate is former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld. They’re both Republicans, actually.

Johnson’s main claim to notoriety has been his long-standing belief that we should legalize marijuana.

He’s now known as a presidential candidate who, in short order, froze up when asked about Aleppo. “What’s Aleppo?” he asked when quizzed about the largest city in Syria, the epicenter of the refugee crisis that has erupted in the Middle East and Europe.

Then, when he was asked this week by MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews to name his “favorite world leader,” he couldn’t come up with a single world leader who he admires. Oh, he finally blurted out “Shimon Peres,” the former Israeli prime minister and president — who died this week of a stroke.

I had considered backing this guy for president, hoping he might exhibit some semblance of knowledge of issues other than legalizing grass. Alas, it’s not to be.

‘Talk show’ becomes ‘scream show’

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Chris Matthews is a loud, sometimes-abrasive TV commentator who opines for MSNBC.

He often, though, has learned guests on his nightly cable TV talk show “Hardball,” in which individuals are invited to make their cases with knowledge and a healthy dose of respect for others’ points of view.

Matthews invited Donald Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro and Hillary Clinton economic guru Jared Bernstein to discuss Trump’s economic plan for the nation.

It didn’t go well.

I now will let the video speak — or scream — for itself.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/08/08/hardball_fireworks_jared_bernstein_vs_trump_economist_peter_navarro_on_trumps_tax_plan.html

 

Trump’s dark picture turns on beacon for Democrats

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Vice President Joe Biden just finished speaking to the Democratic National Convention crowd.

I now shall echo something that MSNBC’s Chris Matthews just said about Biden’s speech. It is that Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump’s dark, foreboding and gloomy picture of America has given Democrats license to yell “USA! USA!” at their national convention.

It’s “cool to be corny,” said Matthews, who added that Trump has “opened the door” for Democrats to cheer their country.

What does all — or any — of this mean to the outcome of the election?

I haven’t a clue.

All of what we’re hearing tonight and likely Thursday at the DNC is that the nation that Republicans have described — a country in decline, with a military that’s a “disaster” — is one that I do not recognize.

JFK becomes part of this campaign?

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Chris Matthews is a well-known liberal commentator with a reputation of talking over anyone he’s interviewing.

When the MSNBC pundit gets his dander up, he’s quite capable of delivering profound analysis of all things political.

Consider this: Matthews is incensed at Donald J. Trump’s assertion that Ted Cruz’s father somehow was complicit in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Matthews’ point? It is that Trump has crossed yet another boundary of good taste as he campaigns for the Republican Party presidential nomination. This time he has invoked a tragic memory that has burned itself indelibly into the minds of Americans old enough to remember the Nov. 22, 1963 murder of a president.

And for what purpose? Matthews called it cheap politics. Trump has cheapened Americans’ heartbreak by using the JFK murder as a political cudgel with which he seeks to beat a political opponent.

Trump remembers that day, just like the rest of us who were old enough to recall it.

I have to agree wholeheartedly with Matthews’ belief that Trump once again has displayed an utter and absolute lack of respect for historical context.

Matthews also believes Trump’s preposterous assertion about Cruz’s father’s relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald is going to “matter.”

I’m not sure about that.

I do believe, though, that Trump lacks a fundamental trait necessary to become the head of state of the world’s greatest nation.

It is decency.

 

Memo to Trump: Abortion is not an ‘off the cuff’ issue

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Here comes the defense of Donald J. Trump’s hideous declaration on national TV this week that women should be “punished” if they obtain an illegal abortion.

He was speaking “off the cuff” during a town hall meeting that was televised by MSNBC. That’s what the Republican presidential campaign frontrunner’s spokeswoman told Fox News.

Many of us heard Trump make the statement under intense questioning from Chris Matthews. We also heard about his immediate reversal.

Trump needs to understand something if he has a prayer of avoiding a complete implosion of his presidential candidacy.

It is that there are a number of issues that require deep thought and nuance when the candidate is pressed to discuss them.

They include, oh: nuclear proliferation, climate change, immigration reform, health care reform and, yes, abortion.

I’m sure others are out there, too.

Trump’s flack, Katrina Pierson, told the Fox News Channel, “Well I say when you are a political candidate for eight months, you are speaking off the cuff. That’s one of his appeals, that he’s not a scripted politician.“

What is so wrong with thoughtfulness?

Scripted pols learn that their words matter. Unscripted pols need to get that, too. When the subject turns to abortion — an issue that gets zealots on both sides of the divide worked up into a frothing frenzy — then those words matter a great deal.

Trump hasn’t gotten it. He likely never will get it. He’ll keep on speaking “off the cuff” on issues that require some study, soul-searching and a comprehensive understanding.

Pierson is right about Trump’s “appeal” to those who keep laughing off this stuff.

It’s not funny.