For the liberal media, an unofficial part of any job title must include attacking Fox News in an either occasional or permanent capacity for all that ills America. The task fell to MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle and Chris Matthews on Tuesday afternoon as the pair blamed FNC for the lack of overwhelming public support for impeaching and removing President Trump from office.
Matthews correctly noted that “[t]his bitterness and this division” in America “is not new” because it “took decades to develop” with it emanating in the Vietnam War. Matthews added that Trump (as opposed to the left and their media allies) has “exploited” the increased polarization.
Instead of looking inward, Ruhle replied that “what is new is the way news is consumed” before fretting that “[t]he poll numbers aren’t changing and we can say, ‘hasn’t anybody watched these impeachment hearings over the last two weeks?’”
Right on cue, Matthews interjected: “Well, there was no Fox back then. There was no Fox.”
Merging both points about attacking FNC and the lack of a movement in polling toward supporting impeachment (laid out earlier by the knowledgeable and touch-screen extraordinaire Steve Kornacki), Ruhle lamented:
But today, half the country is watching a completely different version of these events of news. How much does that impact the way all this has been absorbed? That wasn’t the case in the last two impeachments.
Matthews agreed, bemoaned that The New York Herald Tribune’s 1966 death signaled the death of “the moderate Republican Party,” boiling the major newspaper scene to The New York Times “for liberals” and The Wall Street Journal “for conservatives.”
“I think you need a medium to fight your case. And the Republican right-wingers found one, it’s called Fox. It’s smart, they got one. Roger Ailes gave it to them,” Matthews added.
As the segment wound down, Ruhle wondered: “Would Richard Nixon have had a different outcome had Fox News existed?”
Instead of considering whether the facts of the case were seen by millions as not impeachable, the partisanship of people like Adam Schiff had poisoned the well, or that an entire side of the political spectrum had wanted to impeach Trump since he was elected, Matthews and Ruhle took aim at FNC. Over at CNN, Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter must have been smiling.
Typical. Is there any other profession that self-examines itself less than the news media?
To see the relevant transcript from December 10's MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle, click “expand.”
MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle
December 10, 2019
1:41 p.m. Eastern
STEPHANIE RUHLE: But, Chris, in the last two years, there have been countless days when the three of us have said things on television, like, “This is a dramatic event, this is it.” And what the President is masterful at is rebranding, marketing, and twisting things.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, I think he exploited that reality. The fact is, there are alternative views of things, and we know this. And what the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have tried to do the last several days is to get people back to their tribal corners. Don’t argue about the facts, they don’t challenge the main charge against the President, that he traded public trust for private political gain. They don’t talk about that. They talk about issues – “Are you a Democrat or a Republican?” That’s all they’re asking, “Are you a Democrat or a Republican?” And if you’re a Republican, you’re with Trump. They keep it really tribal. This is what Lee Atwater back when they thought they were going to lose the second debate with Mondale. The “fog machine,” they call it. Stop talking about the evidence, stop talking about who won the debate, and focus on the simple question of “Which side are you on?” And that’s what they do now. It’s a very smart move because the country’s 50/50. So if you just say, “What side are you on, the answer’s good for the side that’s losing the evidentiary argument because it breaks about even. Look at the latest polls, 49 - 46.
RUHLE: Well, let’s talk about them.
MATTHEWS: It’s a plurality for impeachment and removal, but my god, it’s narrow. It’s not bad if you’re a Republican, it’s 50-50.
RUHLE: And Steve, the poll numbers aren’t moving, despite the public hearings that we watched for the last two weeks. So what does that mean if you’re Nancy Pelosi?
STEVE KORNACKI: Right, and Chris just mentioned it, if you look at the average of all the polls that are out there right now on that question of impeaching Trump, the average is 48% say, “Yes, impeach him,” 46 percent say, “No, don’t.” 48/46 was the popular vote margin in 2016. It was 48 Clinton, 46 Trump. And what it tells me is all of the attention, everything Chris is talking about there, people have sort of synced up in their opinion on this where they were in 2016 and where they’ve been for the last three years. We don’t see a process that on either side is changing minds. We a process that is causing both sides to dig in.
1:43 p.m. Eastern
MATTHEWS: This bitterness and this division is not new. And then Watergate came along and you know what the average Democrat thought, “We have chance here to screw this guy and get this guy.” Nixon said, “We gave them a sword and they plunged it in with relish.” And most Republicans –
RUHLE: And you think that’s what Democrats are doing today?
MATTHEWS: No, I’m saying this bitterness and division in this country took decades to develop, it’s not new under Trump. Trump’s exploited it.
RUHLE: But what is new is the way news is consumed. The poll numbers aren’t changing and we can say, “Hasn’t anybody watched these impeachment hearings over the last two weeks?”
MATTHEWS: Well, there was no Fox back then. There was no Fox.
RUHLE: But today, half the country is watching a completely different version of these events of news. How much does that impact the way all this has been absorbed? That wasn’t the case in the last two impeachments.
MATTHEWS: No, there wasn’t a Fox, that’s different. But there was – you know, I agree, a lot of it has to do with medium. You know, back in the ’60s, ’50s, there was a moderate Republican newspaper, The New York Herald Tribune. And when they died, the moderate Republican Party, the modern Republican moderate party died. So you do need a medium. The New York Times is for liberals, The Wall Street Journal’s for conservatives. I think you need a medium to fight your case. And the Republican right-wingers found one, it’s called Fox. It’s smart, they got one. Roger Ailes gave it to them.
RUHLE: Would Richard Nixon have had a different outcome had Fox News existed?
MATTHEWS: Nixon’s problem is he didn’t have any friends.