Liberal host Chris Matthews on Tuesday anchored live coverage of a cop killer on the run, making bizarre and offensive comments about the situation. Talking to Los Angeles Times journalist Andrew Blankstein, Matthews agonized about being fair to Chris Dorner, the man who has allegedly murdered three people and wounded several others: "How do you write a story like this that's objective for the big metropolitan paper, the Los Angeles Times?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He continued, "Are there people in your newsroom, editors who are saying, 'We have to be careful here. It's not simple. This man may have a complaint.'" He may have a complaint? Matthews did not allow Tea Partiers, who, it should be pointed out, haven't slaughtered people, the same considerations. No, the MSNBC host would foam about racism and compare them to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Blankstein insisted, "I mean, I think you have to look at all aspects to be objective."
Dorner, who is African American, is apparently cornered in Big Bear Lake, California. Earlier in the coverage, Matthews asked the city's mayor: "Are there any African-Americans that live there or is it largely a white community, largely?"
Matthews did later concede, "...The conflict here is that even if he was badly, badly handled, his case over the years, you know, unfairly treated, the way he's reacted shows a man unstable to begin with."
A transcript of the February 12 segment, which aired at 5:52pm EST, follows:
JAY OLBERNOTLE (Bib Bear Lake, CA): The city of Big Bear Lake and the surrounding communities, we have a community of full-time residents and a larger community of vacation homes.
MATTHEWS: Are there any African-Americans that live there or is it largely a white community, largely?
OLBERNOLTE: There are a few. You know, I don't think we notice the color of people's skin to be honest with you.
MATTHEWS: Okay, good for you.
MATTHEWS: How do you write a story like this that's objective for the big metropolitan paper, the Los Angeles Times? Are there people in your newsroom, editors, who are saying, "We have to be careful here. It's not simple. This man may have a complaint."
ANDREW BLANKSTEIN (L.A. Times): Well, you know, I think we did a story this past Monday that really looked at the board of rights hearing which seems to be kind of center stage in his complaints against the LAPD that led to his firing. I mean, I think you have to look at all aspects to be objective. Certainly the big story today is what unfolded in this drama in the manhunt. But, that doesn't preclude other important stories that, what's the lead-up to why this happened. And I think we've already done a couple stories in that. And there's going to be more in the coming days. Because, I think certainly the chief of police for the LAPD, Charlie Beck, has heard from people in the community that are worried about the way the disciplinary-- not only disciplinary system in general but how this case was handled. And so, this is kind of where we're heading. But right now we have this unfolding situation. So I think those will be stories for the coming days for sure.
MATTHEWS: And, of course, the conflict here is that even if he was badly, badly handled, his case over the years, you know, unfairly treated, the way he's reacted shows a man unstable to begin with.