MSNBC Brain Damage

by digby

So Joe Scarborough and the boys were all up in arms yesterday morning that Chris Matthews had to apologize for one teeny tiny little gaffe about Hillary Clinton:

SCARBOROUGH: Pat, I suppose I should guard my words here. I am not going to do it. This is offensive to me, that Chris Matthews said something that op-ed writers wrote about in '98, in '99, in 2000. That Bill Clinton scandal with Monica Lewinsky clearly helped Hillary Clinton politically because she showed enormous grace under fire, she showed just how strong she was, she continued doing her job. It was a very good moment for her. It was a bit like -- let's just say New Hampshire was a microcosm of that time, when she was getting abused last week. And we saw her the night before, when she thought she was going to lose by 15 points, she still showed an enormous strength -- and I've said this on the air before -- an enormous strength that I hope may be an example to my daughter, who -- or any woman who goes through so much -- so many problems but stays that strong.

Now, I've said all of that just to say, I think it's outrageous that Chris Matthews has to apologize for saying something, inartfully perhaps, so many years later that op-ed writers were talking about in '99 and 2000 because Gloria Steinem, who wrote an op-ed supporting Hillary Clinton before New Hampshire, Media Matters, who many people have called a front group for Hillary Clinton, just because they're attacking Chris Matthews, who has obviously been critical of Hillary Clinton. What's your take?


SHUSTER: Just one comment about Chris Matthews. I've worked with him for five and a half years. I've been alongside him, on camera, off, good times and bad. Nobody is more gracious and has a bigger heart, and has contributed more in a positive way to our political discourse than Chris Matthews.

SCARBOROUGH: Now, let me say, let me say --

SHUSTER: And to see him have to go through this is absolutely infuriating, to see the way these groups used him for pure political gain is absolutely infuriating.

(Who's the "castrato in the boys chorus" now?)

Look, I was willing to give Tweety a pass for the 126,989 other sexist slurs he's made --- and which were documented in the letter these "groups" sent to NBC --- and accept his apology for that one nasty insult as a sort of symbolic gesture.

I see that was a mistake.

If you haven't read the full dossier on Matthews' disgusting commentary, you can get it here. He's a sick, misogynist head case who sees politics almost exclusively as an expression of "male/female" dynamics. (Often its manly men vs girly men, but it's the same thing.)

On last night's Hardball he said to Shuster, "thanks for what you said on that show this morning. You're my pal." Shuster smiled and said, "sure." I guess that's what he meant when he said he "get's it."

Clearly, Matthews still has no clue why his behavior is so revolting. And the fact that Shuster has interpreted this event as something that "groups" did as for political gain (i.e. to help Clinton) shows that he is a biased and unreliable reporter, which is very disappointing. That both Shuster and Scarborough felt perfectly comfortable lying on television about this episode in solidarity with their sick "pal" says everything you need to know about the village press corps.

This is one case that I can say was absolutely not a Clinton campaign operation or done for political gain and I resent the hell out of those alleged "analysts" and "journalists" for making that charge. I was involved in this as were dozens of other bloggers and writers, all of whom were tracking Matthews' disgusting behavior and complained, wrote letters and signed petitions, not because we have affiliation with Clinton but because we were genuinely outraged on behalf of the human race. Media Matters has been documenting Matthews' outrageous behavior for years, as has been the Daily Howler and the entire blogosphere, going all the way back to the late MediawhoresOnline, (which originally dubbed him Tweety.) He is legendarily biased, crude, sexist and wrong, over and over again. After Iowa, his disrespectful, leering schadenfreude (and that of many others in the press corps) may have actually affected the outcome of the election in New Hampshire by creating a backlash.

The idea that this was about one little comment on the day after the primary is ridiculous and what's more, both Scarborough and Shuster know it, or they are a couple of idiots. At this point I'm leaning toward the latter.

I've always thought that Shuster, at least, was a good reporter. It doesn't even bother me all that much that he defended Matthews as being a great guy. He works for him and he may very well truly like him personally. But to say this was some sort of Clinton conspiracy or done for political advantage is a perfect illustration of the way the press just makes stuff up out of their own animus and preconceptions. It just isn't true.

If Shuster knows for a fact, (as he asserted with no qualifiers in that comment) that this outrage was manufactured for political reasons then he should put up or shut up.

Update: Jamison Foser at Media Matters takes them downtown.