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Friday, January 11, 2008

Hardball Freakshow

by digby

He just can't help himself. Raw Story has the latest on Matthews (w/video):

"Let’s not forget, and I’ll be brutal, the reason she’s a US Senator, the reason she’s a candidate for President, the reason she may be a front runner, is that her husband messed around," Matthews pronounced Wednesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

That observation opened the oft-criticized Hardball host to another round of criticism in the blogosphere. The hosts of The View, ABC's daytime chat show aimed at women, weighed in on Matthew's punditry as well.

"I'm very careful here as you know ... not to give my personal opinions," Barbara Walters said. "I had thought that people in news didn't do that. Forget it. The way to get ratings: Come out and slam."

Joy Behar chimed in: "It's almost like a pile-on of these men against her, and I think they're going to get the real backlash for it."

Matthews took offense at Walters' insinuation and took to Morning Joe Friday morning to defend himself. Host Joe Scarborough began with a nice ad hominem attack on Walters.

"Chris, we don't want to take sides," former GOP congressman Scarborough said innocently. "So I'm not gonna bring up the fact that Barbara Walters, a journalist, told Nancy Pelosi she wanted to have sex with Nancy Pelosi's husband. We also will not bring up that journalist Barbara Walters told Faith Hill she wanted to have sex, on air, with Tim McGraw. Instead, I'm just going to ask you this straight question: Does Barbara Walters have a point?"

(For the record, Walters told Hill, "We'd all like to do your husband [Tim McGraw]," but she said it was co-host Whoopie Goldberg who "would like to do" Pelosi's husband.) [And what in the hell does any of that have to do with politics anyway? WTF? --- d]

Matthews said it was Clinton's performance campaigning for New York Sen. Chuck Schumer in 1998, after revelations of her husband's affair with Monica Lewinsky, that launched her own senate bid two years later. He said Walters and Behar -- whose name he either was unable to remember or refused to acknowledge -- had their facts wrong.

"Those are this historic facts, Barbara and the other woman, those are the historic facts. I know how you play to a crowd, I know how talk radio works, which is the way a lot of programs work, where you find something to argue about," Matthews said.

"If Barbara Walters wants to debate history, and politics and what's happened in this country the last 50 years, if she wants to go on Jeopardy and see what she knows and what I know, I'll take her on," Matthews promised. "If any of the women on that show want to take me on on historic political information ... let's talk political history. Let's talk facts, not opinions, facts, and I'll take them on."

This is a very interesting thesis. But it's a little chicken or the egg, don't you think? It's just as likely that it was the pathological desire of the press corps to flay Bill Clinton for something the rest of the country believed was trivial that propelled Hillary's run --- and win -- for the Senate. (The Tweety Effect.)

In any case, his thesis is not a matter of "fact" or "historical political information." Indeed, if you want to get a load of what Matthews thinks he knows about recent political history, all you have to do is look at this:

Michael, Michael, there's a big difference between what happened to Al Gore and John Kerry. John Kerry got hit unfairly by the Swift Boats attacking his service to his country. They conflated his opposition to the war when he came back which we can all argue about, and his service to his country which is not really arguable. They trashed him.

But in terms of Al Gore, he's the one who said he created the internet, he's the one who put out the word that he's the subject or the role model for Love Story, that he pointed the country's attention to Love Canal. He stuck himself into that story.

And when Marty Peretz's daughter wrote that story in Vanity Fair a couple of months ago, I'm sorry, she didn't make the case. Gore got himself in those problem areas by vanity and showing off an trying to make himself cool. But John Kerry got unfair treatment. I think it's a big difference guys.

I don't think I need to point out the "facts" he gets wrong on that. (Not to mention that he gave endless free airtime to the swiftboaters to "make their case" so his late realization that they were a bunch of frauds rings a little bit hollow as well.)

One of the things the village idiots like Matthews continuously fail to understand is that voters don't like the media trying to "take down" politicians on their own, against the will of the people. We inconvenient citizens don't have much in this system but the right to vote for our representatives --- when these elites decide all on their own that we've made the wrong choice (or that we're about to) we tend to get a little bit testy.

Bob Somerby, Media Matters and the blogosphere have been documenting the Matthews dementia for years. The man has serious psychological issues with gender and sexuality, from embarrassing codpiece worship to blatant sexism, which seems to be the prism through which he views American politics and which he cannot seem to control. Since we are dealing with the first serious female candidate for president, his public neuroses made him the poster boy for the general misogynistic coverage of her candidacy and a biased, wrongly called election. A badly called election, by the way, which is largely believed to have been the result, at least in part, of a backlash against the media's premature obituary and stomach churning arrogant schaudenfreude.

If Walters and Behar want to "take him on" all they need to do is read the archives of The Daily Howler and Media Matters for all the "facts" and "data" they need. There's a paper trail all the way to upstate New York.

The other day I posted about a Working Assets petition about Matthews. Media Matters has also launched an email drive today.