It’s that time of the year as seemingly every news organization offers reflections on the top stories of 2018. For NewsBusters, we’ve looked at the worst moments from CNN personalities Jim Acosta, Chris Cuomo, ABC’s The View, and White House Press Briefing.
But no year-in-review compilation would be sufficient for a site like this one without a post dedicated to the buffoonery offered to the masses by MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews. Following previous wrap-ups at the end of 2016 and 2017, 2018 offered dozens of possible nominees.
Below represents the ten worst Matthews moments from either Hardball or elsewhere on MSNBC. They are presented in chronological order.
Matthews was in rare form during MSNBC’s State of the Union coverage on January 30, expressing dismay with the President invoking the dangerous, murderous MS-13 gang as being “almost...ugly” and “very tough...saying immigrants are basically killers.”
Well after midnight, he lashed out at Trump for honoring parents of those lost to MS-13 gang violence. Earlier in the hour, he told this to liberal actor Bradley Whitford about former President Barack Obama: “I looked up to Obama. As a journalist, I looked up to Obama. I don't mind saying so. Obviously.”
Remember the February move by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) to release a highly-sensitive intelligence memo? Well, Hardball was beside itself on February 1 as Matthews deemed it symbolic of an “all-out war between the President of the United States and the American justice system.”
He later added that “[w]e’re going to talk about a constitutional crisis some day” as the impending Nunes decision will leave the Constitution “turned on its butt” as Republicans “continue to put party over principle.” Well, America is still humming along over 10 months later and Democrats have taken the House of Representatives. So much for a “constitutional crisis.”
On February 27, Matthews refused to correct Washington Democratic Governor Jay Inslee’s false assertion that the National Rifle Association (NRA) would like to see first graders have guns. This came almost two weeks after the Parkland, Florida school shooting.
Comparing the NRA and Second Amendment supporters to assassins, Matthews suggested this: “It’s almost like the Middle East — it's almost like the Middle East if you sign a treaty and you're Anwar Sadat or Yitzhak Rabin, you do the right thing you get killed. You lost on this. Tom Foley lost on the issue.”
He added that he’s “never brought” into the notion that Paul Ryan was “so great” of a person because he hasn’t been for liberal gun control.
Matthews spent months touting the far-left Parkland students with one of the asinine comparisons coming on February 28 when he declared that the students standing up for gun control had left him “thinking of like when the Doughboys arrived in World War I” because “[a]ll of a sudden, the situation changed and Germany was going to lose and the Brits and French were going to win.”
“This new force of these students and these teachers are so credible that they make — when they go on television, everybody stops and listen — and listens. And Trump knows that,” Matthews explained to friendly journalist Astead Herndon.
A month and a half after Matthews compared these liberal Florida students to American soldiers in World War I, the host declared at the end of April 19’s Hardball that the students led by David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez were just like the colonists who rose up against the British.
Here was Matthews in all his infamy:
Let me finish tonight with this day in history, the anniversary of the Shot Heard Around the World. It was on April 19th, today, 1775 that shots were fired in the Battles of Lexington and Concord, sparking the American Revolution. It was the first time blood was shed in the fight for American Independence, a fight that lasted seven years.
While on the subject of soldiers, Matthews went the other direction in describing Republicans on June 13’s show. He took comments by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) about Trump Republicans acting like they’re in a “cult” a bit too far, insisting that he wasn’t comparing Republicans to Jonestown followers who “[drank] the kool-aid.”
“Anway, Bob Corker’s fought — calling out his fellow Republicans as being like a cult, like Jonestown or something under President Trump,” Matthews stated later, doubling down on this craziness.
In his “Trump Watch” commentary, Matthews described the GOP as having taken orders from Sean Hannity, “all marching along in stiff, locked cadence and regimental discipline, speaking in one voice, smiling in unison, contorting their faces into the same expression as the man next to them, you know, like scared to death soldiers marching in Pyongyang.”
Both the Kavanaugh nomination and hearings marked two other instances for Matthews when he was more than a tad unsettled. When Kavanaugh was first nominated, Matthews had a no good, awful, very bad day on June 27. He didn’t even immediately greet viewers on Hardball that night, first telling them that “[i]t’s time for Democrats to play hardball” and that “[t]here are times to fight and this is one of them.”
In what was an unsuccessful fight for Democrats, Matthews promised that it wouldn’t be “something the progressive Democratic voter will soon forget,” if the left didn’t stop Kavanaugh. Oops.
Here are some other highlights from the show (click “expand”):
If this strikes anyone as a manifesto from me, so be it, but it is in truth a statement of political reality. The Democratic base will not accept failure. It will not listen to arguments how the 49 Senate Democrats could not stop the 50 voting Republicans from picking a Supreme Court for much of the century. Justice Kennedy was the defining force that is saved abortion rights, gave us marriage equality, who led a Court-majority for tolerance and respect for individual decision-making, believes Donald Trump has made clear he doesn’t share....For those who say the Supreme Court is above politics, let me recite to you some cases. Bush v. Gore, that put W. in the White House and the country headed toward war in Iraq. Citizens United that put money in the power seat of American elections, both decisions were 5-4. If Trump gets his way in filling that number five seat, expect a lot more in the decades to come. If the Democrats fail to stop him, put a good share of the blame there.
Throughout the Trump presidency, the liberal media have responded to Trump outbursts and anonymously-sourced stories about a chaotic White House with the same tone that would be more fitting for “Breaking News” reports that the apocalypse was upon us.
At any rate, Matthews opened his July 25 show by bashing the President for exhibiting “behavior over the last week” that served as “yet more evidence that he yearns to be a strong man, more autocratic than democratic, unbound by law, precedent or the truth.”
If that wasn’t enough, he actually compared Trump to Abraham Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth:
This is sort of like John Wilkes Booth will take any question except the question with Ford’s Theater. I mean, this is about sorry, this is about obstruction. It is the first tranche of charges that are expected to come from Robert Mueller’s team. Obstruction of justice charges. He says I won’t talk about obstruction of justice because that gets to motive and I’m not going to give you my motive.
Fast-forwarding to the second Kavanaugh hearing on September 27, Matthews unloaded on Kavanaugh as an “aggressive,” “belligerent drunk” with a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde problem” who’s a potential “criminal” and thus was “uncomfortable” answering questions.
Expressing disappointment with Democrats, Matthews observed that there “there wasn't more questioning of” not only “his belligerence and his drinking” but also “the gang raping” and “a culture of this kind of behavior.” The Michael Avenatti-peddled gang rape story went nowhere, but that didn’t stop the press from running wildly with the flimsy allegations.
And finally, Matthews was speaking to Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA) hours after the Thousand Oaks, California bar shooting when he lashed out the idea of prayer, saying “thoughts and prayers...should be outlawed” as those offering them following tragedies show that don’t “give a damn” about victims.
He also called into question the notion of gun rights being God-given (click “expand”):
For the President, it seems like just another cultural button to push. You know, like moving the embassy in the Middle East. One of these things like it’ll get him some votes in the evangelical community. He says things like protecting your Second Amendment rights. The culture war you're up against is brutal. They just push these buttons and these people: “Oh, yeah, amen. Amen to that, Mr. President. You're one of us. You're one of us.” It's horrible. Not even about actual safety. It's not about people shooting each other, plugging 12 people in a bar. It's about this almost neo-religious notion of the Second Amendment, as if it's God-created.