MSNBC’s Matthews, Corn Meltdown, Claim Susan Rice ‘Unmasking’ Controversy Is Racist and Sexist

On Tuesday’s edition of Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews and MSNBC political analyst/Mother Jones D.C. bureau chief David Corn were unglued over the Susan Rice “unmasking” controversy, suggesting that it was racist and sexist for these accusations to be leveled at the former National Security Adviser because she’s never done anything wrong.

Matthews was off his rocker from the show’s opening minute, denouncing the Rice story as something pushed by the President to “distract attention from the investigation” even though he immediately touted colleague Andrea Mitchell’s lengthy interview with Rice hours earlier.

“Why is he going after Susan Rice? It’s like he pulls out — he’s like an old deejay. He pulls out the old records from 20 years ago and plays them again,” Matthews later wondered to Corn and fellow panelist Simon Marks (who unsuccessfully tried to argue that Rice has done herself no favors in giving contradictory statements).

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After a series of clips from Republican Senators Rand Paul (Ky.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and Tom Cotton (Ark.), Matthews quipped, “okay, Bates Motel.” He then read a Mike Huckabee tweet about Rice being in an orange jumpsuit, and it was at this point that the three panelists lost their minds:

DAVID CORN: Oh god!

MATTHEWS: I mean, Huckabee has no shame. These guys are trooping along, like camp followers of Trump.

MARKS: They’re looking for a pinata? They found one in Susan Rice. I do think — 

MATTHEWS: Notice it's always a female? Just a thought. 

MARKS: — well, that’s true. That's also true. But I do think she slightly played into her hand — into their hands.

MATTHEWS: Typhoid Mary? 

MARKS: No. Clearly not. But the best things Susan Rice could do is not —

MATTHEWS: Susan Rice's job is to watch national security. As she told Andrea today, our colleague, she made it very clear what she was doing was when she saw an American name show up in a surveillance of a foreign perhaps agent, she wanted to know who that was. What's wrong with that? 

Corn replied that Rice hasn’t done a single thing wrong and when Marks again tried unsuccessfully to suggest Rice isn’t entirely blameless on the Trump surveillance, Matthews did Rice’s bidding by parroting without reservation: “She said there was no surveillance. She wasn't saying she didn't pick up some names by asking through proper authorities who's are they talking about...By the way, this is all after the election. This wasn't politics.”

While Matthews had already uncorked charges of sexism, Corn reiterated those and went further by suggesting those covering it are racists:

At the end of the day, we need some element of decency. When Rand Paul gets out there and says she's abused this right, there is not an iota of evidence that she's abused anything. Calling her Typhoid Mary? She — all we know now is that she did her job. Did she do something wrong? There is no information indicating that. So they are making her, you know, basically they're defaming her without any reason to do so because she's a woman. Maybe because she's a black woman. Maybe because they didn't like her during Benghazi.

In typical Matthews fashion, he sprinted out of left field with this bizarre analogy film analogy:

A little British commentary from me right now. Remember that scene in Man for All Seasons where Henry the Eighth, Robert Shaw, steps into the muddy water when he gets off the boat and all the courtiers jump into the water with him. That’s what we’re watching, led by Huckabee.

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on April 4:

MSNBC’s Hardball
April 4, 2017
7:01 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Meanwhile as the investigation of Trump-Putin connections moves forward, Trump pushes stories that distract attention from the investigation....Today, President Trump re-tweeted a Drudge Report headline about that story. In an exclusive interview with Andrea Mitchell, by the way, Susan Rice today explained there is a big difference between requesting information about sources in intelligence reports and surveilling political opponents as President Trump has alleged.

(....)

7:06 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: But I also know from a former member of the House who is now in the Senate once told me that when you go into markup and you actually have to write bills, you can sometimes realize that one of your colleagues is in the tank with some corporation. They just begin to behave like they're not really their own person. We've seen pretty adequate evidence that Mr. Nunes is not his own person. What's he doing hanging around picking up the laundry from the White House and taking it back to the White House after he's cleaned it by saying he's an investigator? He wasn't an investigator. He was a delivery boy, bringing this stuff back that they gave him and saying it was news, alarming news. If that isn't show boating for the president, I don't know what is. What do you think it was? 

(....)

7:10 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Why is he going after Susan Rice? It’s like he pulls out — he’s like an old deejay. He pulls out the old records from 20 years ago and plays them again. 

SIMON MARKS: Well, he's like the magician who's saying don't look over here. Look over here. He's desperate to get everybody to divert their attention away. I do think Susan Rice has played into his hands a little bit in that regard. 

(....)

REPUBLICAN SENATOR RAND PAUL (Ky.): I believe Susan Rice abused the system, and she did it for political purposes. She needs to be brought in and questioned under oath. 

(....)

REPUBLICAN SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (S.C.): When it comes to Susan Rice, you need to verify, not trust. 

REPUBLICAN SENATOR TOM COTTON (Ark.): Susan Rice is the Typhoid Mary of the Obama administration foreign policy. Every time something went wrong, she seemed to turn up in the middle of it. 

MATTHEWS: Okay, Bates Motel. Anyway, Mike Huckabee tweeted yesterday: “[Donald Trump] will await apology from the media now that revealed that Susan Rice unmasked names. Orange jumpsuit in her size?” 

DAVID CORN: Oh god!

MATTHEWS: I mean, Huckabee has no shame. These guys are trooping along, like camp followers of Trump.

MARKS: They’re looking for a pinata? They found one in Susan Rice. I do think — 

MATTHEWS: Notice it's always a female? Just a thought. 

MARKS: — well, that’s true. That's also true. But I do think she slightly played into her hand — into their hands.

MATTHEWS: Typhoid Mary? 

MARKS: No. Clearly not. But the best things Susan Rice could do is not —

MATTHEWS: Susan Rice's job is to watch national security. As she told Andrea today, our colleague, she made it very clear what she was doing was when she saw an American name show up in a surveillance of a foreign perhaps agent, she wanted to know who that was. What's wrong with that? 

CORN: There’s nothing wrong.

MATTHEWS: What’s wrong with that?

MARKS: I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with it. I think, unfortunately for Susan Rice, she's given two contradictory interviews, an interview to PBS a couple weeks ago where she said nothing to see here and then this interview.

MATTHEWS: She said there was no surveillance. She wasn't saying she didn't pick up some names by asking through proper authorities who's are they talking about. 

CORN: You know and at —

MATTHEWS: By the way, this is all after the election. This wasn't politics. Go ahead.

CORN: — at the end of the day, we need some element of decency. When Rand Paul gets out there and says she's abused this right, there is not an iota of evidence that she's abused anything. Calling her Typhoid Mary? She — all we know now is that she did her job. Did she do something wrong? There is no information indicating that. So they are making her, you know, basically they're defaming her without any reason to do so because she's a woman. Maybe because she's a black woman. Maybe because they didn't like her during Benghazi. This is all about the —

MATTHEWS: A little British commentary from me right now. Remember that scene in Man for All Seasons where Henry the Eighth, Robert Shaw, steps ento the muddy water when he gets off the boat and all the courtiers jump into the water with him. That’s what we’re watching, led by Huckabee. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center