Matthews Blasts ‘Kremlin-Style’ WH Press Office; Appears to Attack FNC’s Roberts for Not Backing Acosta

MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews threw a fit Wednesday night in defense of the liberal media, gushing over a reporter delaying his questions in the White House Press Briefing to give NBC’s Hallie Jackson more time and accusing the White House of running “Kremlin-style” communications office.

In another cheap shot, Matthews misidentified but clearly took a shot at Fox News chief White House correspondent John Roberts for insufficently standing up for CNN’s Jim Acosta during Friday’s Trump press conference in Chequers, England in what was another Acosta meltdown.

 

 

With Jackson a guest in Hardball’s A-Block, Matthews told her that he “saw something of a profile in courage, that was the reporter from The Hill refusing to be used by the White House PR operation to shut up the reporters” and “refused to offer up a question to the Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, unless she continued to listen to your question.”

“I thought that was great. It was so much different than the reporter from CNN [sic], who was glad to go along with the White House clamming of reporters,” Matthews gushed in addition to throwing in the clear dig at Roberts (who used to work at CNN).

Jackson responded by giving another shout-out to the reporter in question (The Hill’s Jordan Fabian) for his “classy move” before explaining how important follow up questions are and particularly at the White House (which, in addition, is a basic tent of journalism). 

She went onto explain that reporters often directly acknowledge each other and parrot one others questions as “not a matter of members of the press corps, for example, ganging up on the press secretary,” but to “get some of those answers out of officials in the White House.”

This was here that Matthews went on his Kremlin tangent, comparing Sanders and her colleagues to officials to Russian stooges. To Jackson’s credit, she appeared to be totally caught off guard and didn’t endorse this nutty assertion:

MATTHEWS: Do you think you're breaking the Kremlin-style press coverage? Kremlin-style press tutelage by the White House? 

JACKSON: In what sense? What do you mean? 

MATTHEWS: Well, it seems like they think they have the right to decide what questions they're going to take. How’s that?

JACKSON: Sarah Sanders can choose —

MATTHEWS: And that seems like a Kremlin-style of PR relations. Go ahead.

JACKSON: — Sarah Sanders, any other administration official can choose which questions to answer and which questions they would not like to answer. President Trump can do the same thing. When we're in these pool sprays, yelling questions to him, like what happened today. He can choose not to answer questions. That is the prerogative of these officials.

Sure, White House officials might not give you answers to questions you expected or any answer at all. That being said, lashing out at public officials as Russian agents isn’t exactly how you win the argument about government-press relations in America. 

But you do you, Chris. Whatever that looks like each night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on July 18, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
July 18, 2018
7:12 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Hallie. I thought today I saw something of a profile in courage, that was the reporter from The Hill refusing to be used by the White House PR operation to shut up the reporters. That person refused to offer up a question to the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, unless she continued to listen to your question. I thought that was great. It was so much different than the reporter from CNN [sic], who was glad to go along with the White House clamming of reporters. Your thought.

HALLIE JACKSON: You're talking about today, Jordan Fabian from The Hill who, when Sarah Sanders turned to him after our question and answer session said, hey you know what? I'll let Hallie finish her thought and I was able. I thought it was a — as I tweeted out, a classy move by Jordan. Follow up questions are a really important part of our jobs, covering this White House, and it is really good, really helpful to ask them. I will also say that there have been instances in the past when reporters will ask the same question that another reporter has been asking. So, there is another way to get these follow-up questions in and it is not a matter of members of the press corps, for example, ganging up on the press secretary. It is simply a function of questions perhaps not getting answered to a satisfactory degree —

MATTHEWS: I understand.

JACKSON: — and reporters trying on get some of those answers out of officials in the White House. 

MATTHEWS: Do you think you're breaking the Kremlin-style press coverage? Kremlin-style press tutelage by the White House? 

JACKSON: In what sense? What do you mean? 

MATTHEWS: Well, it seems like they think they have the right to decide what questions they're going to take. How’s that?

JACKSON: Sarah Sanders can choose —

MATTHEWS: And that seems like a Kremlin-style of PR relations. Go ahead.

JACKSON: — Sarah Sanders, any other administration official can choose which questions to answer and which questions they would not like to answer. President Trump can do the same thing. When we're in these pool sprays, yelling questions to him, like what happened today

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

JACKSON: — he can choose not to answer questions. That is the prerogative of these officials. It does, I think, speak to the importance of what we saw happen multiple times overseas — three times, which is the President holding a news conference and being essentially required to answer question from these reporters, who were directly asking him, as you saw, I think, most vividly in Helsinki. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah and then denying what he just said.


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