Hardball anchor Chris Matthews was forced off the air in disgrace Monday night after it became known he complimented one of his guests on her looks.
But that’s not really why.
Until last night, Matthews had been a prominent political commentator, starting in 1988 with his book, Hardball: How Politics is Played, Told by One Who Knows the Game. The book covered his career as a speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter, and six years as Chief of Staff for Tip O’Neil, the legendary Democrat and Speaker of the House during the Reagan administration.
Matthews television career launched in 1994, when Hardball with Chris Matthews premiered on the now-defunct America’s Talking cable network. From there, in 1997, it went to CNBC, and then to MSNBC in 1999, where it has been a part of the cable news fabric for 20 years — until Monday night, when Matthews abruptly announced his retirement.
“The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins,” Matthews said at the opening of his final show. “We’ve seen them in politics, in the media, and fighting for the causes. They’re improving the workplace. We’re talking here about better standards than we grew up with. Fair standards.”
“A lot of it has to do with how we talk to each other,” he added. “Compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK, were never OK. Not then and certainly not today. And for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.”
And after that groveling apology, that pathetic public confession, Matthews was gone, disgraced — a 30 year public career annihilated over a compliment and a few other misdemeanors.
Before we get into the specifics regarding Matthews, keep the following in mind…
Look at Who’s Still Working at NBC
Who’s still got a job at NBC? As Tucker Carlson pointed after the Matthews news broke, Joy Reid! The homophobe who lied to NBC, to all of us, and to the FBI to cover up her homophobia. NBC News chief Andrew Lack still has a job despite much worse harassment allegations. Noah Oppenheim, the president of NBC News, still has a job after being credibly accused of covering up for Harvey Weinstein, who is now a convicted rapist.
CNN’s Don Lemon has been credibly accused of a sexual assault. Still employed.
All four still have jobs. Why? Because their politics are correct.
The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer will write a massive (and massively dishonest) exoneration piece for disgraced former Senator Al Franken, even though eight women — most of them Democrat supporters of his — accused Franken of groping or a forced kiss.
Why? Because his politics are correct.
Let’s now compare the above to the misdemeanors Matthews is accused of, starting with “the compliment.”
Chris Matthews Had a Bad Week
The compliment in question was directed at Laura Bassett, who identifies as a journalist. On Friday, she shared the #MeToo violation Matthews committed against her in GQ:
In 2016, right before I had to go on his show and talk about sexual-assault allegations against Donald Trump, Matthews looked over at me in the makeup chair next to him and said, “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?”
When I laughed nervously and said nothing, he followed up to the makeup artist. “Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.”
Another time, he stood between me and the mirror and complimented the red dress I was wearing for the segment. “You going out tonight?” he asked.
I said I didn’t know, and he said—again to the makeup artist—“Make sure you wipe this off her face after the show. We don’t make her up so some guy at a bar can look at her like this.”
And why did Bassett suddenly decide to come forward? Apparently her final straw was Matthews grilling Elizabeth Warren last week. Here’s how Bassett opened her piece:
MSNBC host Chris Matthews, whose long history of sexist comments and behavior have somehow not yet gotten him fired, tested the boundaries of his own misogyny again on Wednesday night. After the tenth Democratic presidential debate, the Hardball anchor grilled Elizabeth Warren about one of her lines of attack against Mike Bloomberg during the debate: that a pregnant female employee accused Bloomberg of telling her to “kill it.”
“You believe he’s lying?” Matthews asked Warren of Bloomberg’s denial.
“I believe the woman, which means he’s not telling the truth,” said Warren, who recently had to defend her own credible story of pregnancy discrimination.
“And why would he lie?” Matthews said. “Just to protect himself?”
“Yeah, and why would she lie?” Warren responded pointedly.
And it wasn’t only Bassett who criticized him for Warren — the corporate media’s chosen candidate.
To be sure, Matthews had a tumultuous week in other areas. He was criticized for comparing Bernie Sanders’ sudden surge in the presidential primary to the Nazis taking France (he later apologized); and, while on the air, he confused one black man (Democrat Senate candidate Jaime Harrison) with another black man (U.S. Sen. Tim Scott).
He was also heavily criticized for expressing his discomfort with Bernie Sanders’ brand of socialism. This not only offended Bernie fans, it likely offended the many Marxists at MSNBC and elsewhere in the corporate media who embrace socialism.
Finally, in 1999, we now know NBC paid a woman $40,000 who accused Matthews of sexual harassment. The allegation is that he made a series of “inappropriate comments and jokes about her while in the company of others.” NBC’s investigation said none of the comments were of a sexual nature.
That’s the rap sheet.
This Was a Political Hit
This was a political hit against Matthews, a guy who dared to question the socialist super-train the far-left media want to steer directly into a Brave New World.
This was a political hit on Matthews, a guy who dared challenge Warren’s chilling fealty to today’s fashionable #BelieveAllWomen tyranny, a guy who dared to give the corporate media’s favorite candidate (after Kamala Harris dropped out) a tough interview. This is not allowed, and Matthews’ willingness to do what’s not allowed sent a chill up everyone’s spine, that going into 2020, an election the media will do anything to win, he might stray from the approved talking points.
This was a political hit on Matthews, a guy who might — and this can never-ever-ever be allowed — stray off the Thought Plantation if Bernie wins the nomination. Matthews voted for Bush in 2000. Can you imagine if someone on MSNBC, much less a primetime anchor, said he was going for Trump in 2020?
Oh, no… Matthews had to go.
More proof this is a political hit comes from the fact MSNBC contributors have been describing political opponents as Nazis going back to the George W. Bush administration. Trump, whose daughter is Jewish, has been compared to a Nazi, as have Trump’s supporters, plenty of whom are Jewish. Donny Deutsch wasn’t reprimanded. He was never forced to apologize. But Deutsch, like Joy Reid and Andy Lack and Noah Oppenheim all think correctly.
The Punishment Doesn’t Fit the Crime
Chris Matthews was all set to retire in November. But now he’s been executed and disgraced in full view of the public — and over what?
A few misdemeanors…
As far as the 1999 harassment complaint, that was 20 years ago, and a $40,000 payout screams nuisance suit.
That thing about Bernie and the Nazis…? Only in today’s stupid, hyper-sensitive, victim-culture was it an “incorrect” comparison (Bernie is Jewish). Anyone with half a brain and a dollop of grace knows what Matthews meant, and even knows it was a solid analogy. And as I mentioned above, MSNBC contributors describing people as Nazis is the norm, not the exception.
As far as Matthews grilling Warren… Isn’t that the job? Isn’t that what the host of Hardball is supposed to do?
That’s how depraved and warped the corporate media have become in Digital Salem, in the tyranny of #BelieveAllWoman. Matthews not only did nothing wrong during that exchange with Warren, he should be commended for a legitimately brave act of journalism. Instead, he’s being executed over it.
The Jaime Harrison/Tim Scott is embarrassing, no question, but also something that happens all the time in the left-wing media. No one’s ever reprimanded over it, much less fired.
As far as Bassett’s complaint about the flirting… It’s now harassment to compliment a woman’s beauty? Such a thing will not only result in your termination, but the annihilation of a 30-year career?
What is going on here?
If a woman doesn’t want to be complimented in that way, she should say so. Out of a hundred boors, I promise you 99 will meekly apologize out of legitimate regret if a woman expresses her discomfort. Women have been dealing with boorish men for centuries without sending them to the electric chair. If that doesn’t work, by all means make a stink. Then it is harassment, and no one should have to put up with that.
What’s more, Matthews didn’t make a pass at Bassett, he didn’t come on to her, he didn’t persist after she said no. He’s just an older guy smitten by a young woman. Harmless, older men have been doing this to feel their oats since time began. The only thing that’s changed is that younger women used to be more generous towards them.
You didn’t have to murder the guy.
I’m not a fan of Chris Matthews. When Hardball first aired, I certainly was. Back then, Matthews was a talented and capable broadcaster who was always interesting and more human than the others. He seemed like a regular guy. You could tell he thought things through, had an open mind, and was willing to question the media’s chosen Narrative of the Day. He was always a Democrat, no question, and he could be overbearing, but he was also interested in ideas, in history, and in people.
Then along came Keith Olbermann… A dogmatic demagogue who forever changed cable news for the worse, especially MSNBC … including Matthews, who suddenly became predictably left-wing and by extension, dull. He still had his moments. He was one of the few in the corporate media to defend Andrew Breitbart during the Shirley Sherrod episode, something that so horrified his MSNBC masters that rather than rerun the episode later that night (as was the practice then), a whole new episode was filmed without the offending defense.
Nevertheless, I’m not a fan, and I have spent plenty of time on these here digital pages expressing that fact.
In the spirit of full disclosure, let me add this… When I did Meet the Press a few years ago, I met Matthews. He was a fellow guest that Sunday, he knew I was from Breitbart, and still he went out of his way to make me feel welcome (as did Chuck Todd). After the taping, Matthews even took the time to tell me about the history of the studio we were standing in, that the first Nixon-Kennedy debates took place right there, something I never would have known. So on a human level, I like the guy. In a heartbeat, I’d buy him a steak and shoot the shit till the place closes.
That’s as transparent as I can be, but I’m still looking at this as objectively as possible, and objectively I find what happened to Matthews to be obscene and un-American.
Human nature is suddenly a crime. There are a hundred ways a woman can handle a situation like this, and do it like a human being instead of plotting a sniper attack.
If such a thing violates company policy, by all means reprimand him.
With the other stuff that week, the Tim Scott thing, etc, maybe you send him on vacation for a few days…
But that’s not what happened here.
Instead of handling this like human beings, after 30 years of service, NBC News stripped Chris Matthews naked, marched him up the gallows, and forced him to put the noose around his own neck — while the neo-McCarthyites in the Social Justice Mob cheered.
“Chris Matthews is a friend of mine,” tweeted Washington Post Kathleen Parker after the news broke. “He and I have flirted unabashedly for 20 years. This is an atrocious end to a noble, happy-warrior career. I will continue to be his friend.”
Finally, an adult. A grown up. Dare is say it…? A real dame.
Some people are going to argue I shouldn’t defend Matthews because he wouldn’t defend me.
Don’t you understand, those are the very people we should be defending…
If they ever come for me with their lies and misdemeanors; if they ever succeed in ruining me, living with that injustice will be a little easier knowing I’m not a victim of a petard that has my own fingerprints on it.
To spare his dignity, they couldn’t even let the man stick around a few months. They didn’t even have the decency to do that — not even for his family. Instead they did the cruelest thing possible: tossed him on the Harvey Weinstein pile. That wasn’t just unfair, it was monstrous and not a little heartbreaking.
More information might come out. If so, I reserve the right to modify my opinion, but as of now…
What are we doing to ourselves?