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Monday, June 08, 2009

 
Refusing To Pander

by digby

I had to read this twice this morning because I simply couldn't believe it the first time. Stuart Rothenberg has had it. he won't appear on Chris Matthews anymore.

But it's not what you think:

America's cable "news" networks have concluded - on the basis of considerable research and evidence, I'm sure - that most viewers don't want straight news and analysis as much as they want to hear what they already think or to watch predictable partisan attacks.

The three big cable "news" networks don't exist to provide a public service, after all. They have corporate officers and stockholders to answer to, which means they need more and more eyeballs to generate more advertising dollars.

Their answer: talk radio on TV. Forget about the serious implications and political fallout that follow an event or policy, and instead attack your opponents repeatedly using half-truths, glittering generalities and inapplicable analogies. Given the high ratings of Fox News Channel and MSNBC, the cable gurus probably are right. Advocacy has won out over neutrality.

Chris Matthews is a smart, politically astute observer of politics, but my last appearance convinced me that "Hardball" has evolved from a straight political news program with quality guests to one that has more in common with its network's prime-time slant. Like most of the evening programming on MSNBC and the Fox News Channel, "Hardball" has become a partisan, heavily ideological sledgehammer clearly intended to beat up one party and one point of view.

During the show on which I appeared, Matthews referred more than once to Republicans as "Luddites" and took every opportunity imaginable to portray them as crackpots. The show's topics inevitably pander to the most liberal Democratic viewers and present Republicans and conservatives in the least flattering of terms.

I don't mean to single out Matthews for criticism because he actually understands politics and I believe that he would prefer to do a serious political show.


Yes, that's right.Rothenberg believes that Chris Matthews prefers to do a serious political show but these days he has no choice but to pander to liberal Democratic viewers and that's just wrong. Jamison Foser asks:

Uh, when, exactly, was Chris Matthews's Hardball a "straight political news program"? When has anything about Matthews ever been "straight"?

When he was insisting that "everybody" likes George W. Bush, except "the real whack jobs"? (Bush's approval ratings at the time were in the 30s.)

When he was comparing Bush to Atticus Finch?

When he said Bush "glimmers" with "sunny nobility"? Or when he gushed over Bush's "mission accomplished" stunt, revealing what could only be described as a crush on the president?

When he derided Democratic critics of Bush's handling of Iraq as "carpers and complainers"?

Or when he ridiculed Barack Obama for ordering orange juice in a diner and said Obama's bowling was insufficiently "macho"? When he called Obama an elitist who had trouble connecting with "regular people" -- by which he meant "white people"?

Or when he called Hillary Clinton a "She Devil" and said she was "witchy"? Or when he said of Clinton "I hate her. I hate her. All that she stands for"?

Or when he spent two years absolutely trashing Al Gore, helping to hand the presidency to George W. Bush? Or when he turned over his airwaves to Gennifer Flowers, allowing her to accuse President Clinton of murder?

But that was when he was just speaking to "regular" people, telling it like it is. Now that he's trashing Republicans he's being a partisan. And Stu Rothenberg wants no part of such unseemly pandering.

Can these Villagers possibly be more obtuse?

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