Chris Matthews, Michele Bachmann Exchange Notes On Photographic Media Bias

November 10th, 2015 8:55 PM

At the end of an interview segment tonight on Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews and former Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) traded stories about their brushes with journalists who used goofy-looking photos of them as cover art to adorn magazine profiles.

After Bachmann chalked up her experience with Newsweek magazine as a matter of liberal media sexism against a Republican woman, Matthews disagreed, recalling a time he felt slighted when a photographer used a goofy-looking photo of him to accompany an interview.

Here's the relevant transcript:

Nov. 10, 2015

CHRIS MATTHEWS, host: Back in 2011, some accused you, in fact Newsweek, of going after you, by using a very unflattering picture of you on their cover. It doesn't look bad from here, but I guess they tried to make you scary. But what did you think of it then, when Newsweek went after you?

Former Rep. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-Minn.): Well, first of all, I wanted to say that Carly Fiorina was brilliant. She cleaned the clock of those  ladies on The View, as she needed to. She did a very good job. She's very professional. You'll see her again hit it out of the park tonight  in the debates. She's very good when she gets up on debates and she knows exactly what she's doing.

When I was in the race back in 2012 and Newsweek came around to do a story, I was happy to do it. We spent a long time, hours and hours, shooting photos. They showed me kind of a short list of photos that they were going to choose from and then at the last minute, the photographer told me to sit on the bottom step of an aluminum ladder, he shined a light in my face, like a strobe light, and my eyes opened up, and that's the photo that they showed. It was a complete setup and that's what Newsweek did. "Newsmax magazine did a beautiful shot, same clothes, everything, and this was just done on purpose.


BACHMANN: And to me, that was a sexist move. Because they wouldn't do that to a man. They would only do something like that to a woman. And the thing is, you rise above it. And that's what I see Carly Fiorina doing. Rising above these kind of things. And I think that's good, because she's a professional, she's not going to get caught up in it, and I think that that speaks really well for her as a woman.

MATTHEWS: Well, I wouldn't rise above it, because I don't believe in rising above things, Congressman, because New York Times Magazine did it to me. They hired a guy from Germany at 10,000 bucks to come over here, spend hours with me 'til they got the shot they wanted, me laughing in a foolish way, they got me to do it, they did it and they put it on the cover.

So, it's not just against women, it's not just against Republicans. It's what it is. It's some kind of people out there that are not very nice.

Anyway, former Congressman Michele Bachmann, by the way, retirement from the House has done you good from all appearances. You look great tonight. Thank you for coming on tonight.

BACHMANN: Ohhh. Thanks so much. It's always fun.

MATTHEWS: I always speak the truth about you.

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As you can see, Matthews is much kinder and gentler with Bachmann now that she's no longer active in electoral politics. You may recall that in December of last year, Matthews fired a parting shot at the departing congresswoman and her entire congressional district for repeatedly sending her to Washington.


As to the photograph that Matthews is referring, it was the cover image for Mark Leibovich's April 2008 profile "The Aria of Chris Matthews"  (see above).