The "Let Me Finish" segment on Hardball is usually devoted to condemning conservatives as hateful bigots. Over the last six weeks, however, Chris Matthews has turned his program into an infomercial, obsessively exhorting his viewers to purchase Tip and the Gipper. The MSNBC anchor praised his own book as though he was blurbing someone else: "Tip and The Gipper: When Politics Worked, a perfect book, a perfect gift this season for the true Hardball fan." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
From the book's release on September 30 through November 11, Matthews used 19 "Let Me Finish" closing commentaries to promote the book. Falling in love with his own prose, the host on October 17 contrasted it to the then-ongoing government shutdown. He gushed, "I never knew that [my] book coming out just now would be so relevant, such an upbeat, enjoyable, antidote, if you will, to the times we've just been living."
On November 1, Matthews seemed to give himself a thrill up his own leg, hyping, "So, go out this weekend and get a copy. It'll restore your faith in American government and raise your love that's already there for American- style politics."
The book chronicles Matthews's time as a Democratic aide to liberal House Speaker Tip O'Neil. The journalist recounts battles with Ronald Reagan and contrasts them with today's politics.
On October 24, the anchor reminded, "You can get it right now online from Amazon, of course, right now, or at Barnes & Noble and other bookstores when you're out there this weekend."
Recounting anonymous praise, Matthews enthused, "The people who have read it told me it's the best book I've written. I like that."
The segment is called "Let Me Finish." But over the last six weeks, it's been "Let Me Shill."