Possible Senate Candidate Chris Matthews Pressured To Quit MSNBC

December 5th, 2008 10:42 AM

If "Hardball" host Chris Matthews is indeed going to challenge Arlen Specter for his senate seat in 2010, he must resign his position with MSNBC.

So say a growing chorus of observers from both sides of the aisle.

As reported by Politico's Michael Calderone Thursday:

After Politico reported Thursday that Matthews had taken steps to establish residency in Pennsylvania and been advised by partisan operatives to quit MSNBC and begin his campaign, the network took incoming flak from all sides. 

“Should Chris Matthews use his air time to fawn over the voters and governor of Pennsylvania while also weighing a run for Senate in Pennsylvania?” asked Eric Burns, president of Media Matters, a liberal watchdog group. “Of course not, and these are issues [NBC News President] Steve Capus should address.” 

In a strange bedfellows moment, Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group, had a similar view.

“MSNBC has tarnished NBC’s reputation so badly, that the last thing NBC needs is a new controversy caused by MSNBC,” Bozell said, mentioning the perception of biased coverage during the presidential race brought on by the sister network’s commentators.

Commentary magazine's Jennifer Rubin agreed:

[H]is nightly presence on ‘Hardball’ provides easy fodder to critics fueling the narrative that MSNBC is in the tank for the Democratic party. [Query– isn’t that true without the Senate run?] After NBC News was stung by criticism during the presidential campaign — charged with bias resulting from the antics of more outspoken personalities on MSNBC — staffers worry the situation will be repeated over the next six months.”

When Media Matters and Brent Bozell both agree on something — Matthews’ departure — maybe it’s time for NBC to consider if its journalistic brand is becoming as worthless as GM’s stock.

Well, Jennifer, NBC's parent company GE did trade as low as $12.58 a few weeks ago. So, anything's possible.