A liberal panel led by MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews injected sexism into the Kagan confirmation hearings on Tuesday morning, suggesting that Republican senators should curtail the tenacity of their questioning because the Supreme Court nominee happens to be a woman.

Invoking the Clarence Thomas hearings, which focused on the testimony of Anita Hill, who accused Thomas of making inappropriate sexual comments, Matthews asked, "Am I wrong in hearing flashes here of the Anita Hill testimony way back when in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings?"

Despite the absence of a sexual scandal, Matthews persisted with the bizarre analogy: "Are we past the sensitivity about a male member of the Senate grilling a female?"

The "Hardball" host failed to clarify exactly who in 2010 is sensitive about male senators posing tough but legitimate questions to a woman nominated to the nation's highest court.

The BP oil spill - millions of gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, coastal businesses from Houston to Tampa shuttered, the potential for higher energy costs across the country and untold ecological damage. But according to Mother Jones magazine's David Corn, there is a silver-lining in all of this - that is, if you're a Democrat. 

MSNBC's June 21 "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" deviated from its usual efforts to blame the previous administration for the oil spill and instead gave thanks that the spill led to Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward in a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.

"I think it's every single Democrat in America - they're saying, ‘Joe Barton, you go for it,'" Corn said. "You keep that ranking member position. Don't - you know, stick to your guns. I mean, after all, I mean, you made this point, I've written about this, others have made this point - It wasn't a gaffe. Joe Barton said what he believed."

If Chris Matthews' preview, on Tuesday's Hardball, of his heavily promoted MSNBC documentary Rise of the New Right, is an indicator of what his special will be like expect a lot of rehashing of Matthews' various attacks on the Tea Party over the past year as he links them and Rush Limbaugh with the birther movement and ominously warns of their potential for violence. Matthews told his viewers that his special "will stun you" and that the "voices you'll hear" and "the guns you see" will explain why "you're seeing men at political rallies for the first time ever, wearing guns." [audio available here]

In a segment that featured conservative Pat Buchanan and leftist David Corn of Mother Jones, Matthews named Limbaugh as a member of the "new right" that is "justifying violence."

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Pat these people are saying things about the country that just aren't true. The President is not legitimate. That the, that the federal government is a tyranny. They are justifying violence.

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Don't forget secret FEMA camps!

PAT BUCHANAN: Well look that's, I think that's preposterous. Look now, I'm sure you can go out there, you've got a country of 300 million and find people-

MATTHEWS: Okay I'm talking about people like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, I'm not talking about strangers here.

Time's Joe Klein, no fan of the present Israeli government he, has weighed in on Helen Thomas's now infamous "get the hell out of Palestine" comments.

Writing for his magazine's Swampland blog yesterday, Klein denounced the Hearst columnist's comments as "odious," but stopped short of demanding her ouster from the White House press briefing room. Instead, Klein urged in his June 6 post that Thomas should forego her front row seat and get pushed towards the back of the room:

[I]t's not unprecedented for journalists with odious views to have access to the press room. What is unprecedented is for such a journalist to have a front-row center seat. Thomas should no longer have that privilege. The front row should be occupied by working reporters, not columnists. The WHCA should sanction Thomas by sending her back to the cheap seats. This would accurately reflect her current status as a journalist while preserving her First Amendment right to be as obnoxious as she wants.

Of course Thomas has a First Amendment right to be obnoxious, but that doesn't mean she has a constitutional right to a slot in the press briefing room. Perhaps Klein thinks his is a reasonable middle ground for the WHCA to stake out, but there were plenty of reasons to boot Thomas from the front row long before her anti-Semitic ranting made for viral video.

A desperate-sounding Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's Hardball, put out a call to a Republican, any Republican, to come on his airwaves to denounce Rush Limbaugh as a liar. At the top of the show the MSNBC host issued the following challenge:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: And out on a Limbaugh! We're issuing a challenge tonight and every night to elected Republicans. Come on Hardball please sir and madam and tell us you disagree with Rush on anything! Tell us you've had it with his distortions, his misrepresentations, his outright falsehoods. We invite you to tell us he's not the leader of the Republican Party. It's our standing offer. Come on Hardball and tell us Rush isn't telling the truth. 

Later on in the program Matthews, in a segment full of cheap shots and out-of-context analysis, invited on Eric Burns from Media Matters and David Corn of Mother Jones to examine the conservative talk radio host's "ramblings," as Burns declared "most of what comes out of his mouth is a lie," and Corn implied Limbaugh was inciting violence against Obama as he decried the radio giant for being "full of untruths and lies and it's hateful...he's confirming perhaps the worst impulses that people might have, towards the Obama administration." [extended video clip here] [abbreviated audio available here] [extended audio clip here]

Throughout the show Matthews, repeatedly requested Republicans to come on his program to denounce Limbaugh as he charged: "I wonder if the Republican Party is not just in bed with Rush. They're under the covers."

The following teaser and full segment were aired on the May 11 edition of Hardball:

Campbell Brown, CNN Anchor; Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader; & House Speaker Nancy Pelosi | NewsBusters.orgCNN, both on-air and on its website, highlighted how Democratic leaders and President Obama spoke more than twice as long as Republican leaders at Thursday's health care summit. CNN.com's Political Ticker on Thursday noted how Republicans "spoke for just 111 minutes, about 30 percent of the total speaking time." The statistic was also cited on Campbell Brown on Thursday and American Morning on Friday.

The network's Jeff Simon and Charles Riley put up a six-paragraph article on the lopsided figures on CNN.com at 7:12 pm Eastern time: "A CNN analysis of the meeting shows that Democrats - including President Obama, who helmed the meeting - were granted more than twice the amount of speaking time as Republicans. Democrats spoke for a total of 135 minutes while President Obama spoke for 122 minutes, for a total of 257 minutes. Republicans, meanwhile, spoke for just 111 minutes, about 30 percent of the total speaking time."

There's something about these big events that cause MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews to go off script and say something seemingly ridiculous.

Matthews has publicly admitted President Barack Obama has given him a thrill up his leg after a campaign speech in Feb. 2008, and uttered "oh God," earlier this year after an Obama address to Congress, prior to the Republican response from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal earlier this year. And on Dec. 1, he referred to West Point as "the enemy camp" in coverage following a speech from Obama announcing his intentions to increase troops in Afghanistan. And, later that night - Matthews took a shot at former Vice President Dick Cheney (emphasis added).

"The president said tonight that we're fighting in Afghanistan because al Qaeda is in Pakistan," Matthews said. "Is that what this is all about? Is that why we're fighting and some are dying in Afghanistan? To deliver the message to the government over in Pakistan to fight harder against al Qaeda. It sounds more Rube Goldberg than ‘Remember the Alamo.' Also try tonight to workout whether the president's goals in Afghanistan are achievable. Are they? And of course, there's always Dick Cheney who jumped it from under his bridge to bite the president's ankle even before he made the speech tonight."

Michael Calderone at Politico reports that the White House press corps is evolving to the left in the Obama era.

An offended Chris Matthews, on Thursday night's "Hardball," was so shocked by Sarah Palin's claim that there wasn't anybody to pray with on the McCain campaign, that he hurled multiple insults Palin's way, calling her, "a little scary," and asked if Palin thought McCain was, "the Anti-Christ?" Matthews was appalled by Palin's recent revelation that she had trouble finding someone to pray with before her vice presidential debate and the MSNBC host worried such talk about "The Deity in a political environment," wasn't "normal."

Matthews' guest panelists also joined in the fray as the Washington Post's Lois Romano declared, "I think it's bizarre and I think it's judgmental," and Mother Jones magazine's David Corn cackled it was "mean and catty." RNC chair Michael Steele was also knocked for a recent profession of faith, as Matthews blurted: "Why does everything sound like the '700 Club,' with this party now? I mean everything seems to be a religious discussion."

Matthews and his panel didn't just stop at insulting Palin's religious beliefs, they also belittled Palin for her hand gestures and attractiveness. Over video of Palin waving at a campaign rally Matthews ridiculed: "You know, doing that windshield wiper wave though is not serious. That's not a serious wave. I'm sorry that's not what you do when you want to lead the free world. That's, that's more like, 'I'm a celebrity and people like me.'

And just before that snide comment from Matthews, Romano and Corn dismissed Palin for her looks:

"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" host David Shuster continued to obsess over and taunt Karl Rove on Tuesday's program, even taking the fight to Twitter. Shuster, who has named Rove a hypocrite three times so far in his daily "Hypocrisy Watch" segment, appeared gleeful that "Bush's Brain finally did respond via Twitter." The political operative told Shuster, through the social networking site, simply to "wait until the book. You're in there."

Shuster retorted on his Twitter page by sarcastically instructing Rove, "Next time, try defending yourself 'like a man,' - mano y mano as I've repeatedly invited you to do." It's odd that Shuster would expect Rove to come on the MSNBC program, considering that he has heaped nothing but invective on the former Bush aide.

As NewsBusters previously reported, Chris Matthews and Ari Fleischer had quite a debate Wednesday evening wherein the "Hardball" host acted like a shameless Democrat operative and the former White House press secretary behaved with grace and aplomb as he wiped the floor with his poorly-matched opponent.

Matthews must have realized how foolish he looked, for on Thursday he continued his debate with Fleischer, but curiously didn't invite Ari back to defend himself:

I didn`t catch something he said right at the end of his appearance just as I was thanking him for coming on. I didn`t hear it until I watched the 7:00 o`clock edition last night. But a lot of people caught it when it first aired and didn`t like it.

At issue was the following statement by Fleischer (video embedded below the fold along with full transcript):

On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews led a not-so-balanced panel of lefties that included Mother Jones's David Corn and Salon's Joan Walsh, in hammering Dick Cheney's concerns, relayed in an interview with Politico, about the Obama administration's softer stance in the war on terror. The "Hardball," host led the attack on Cheney as he charged the former Vice President: "Was wrong in a way that was lethal. 100,000 people dead including 4,000 Americans are dead, something like 15,000 wounded because he was wrong."

Walsh piped in: "We have a situation where it's vintage Dick Cheney. It's dark, it's dire, it's creepy, it's kooky, it's very scary, but there's absolutely no evidence. And so you're right to point to the fact that this is a man who's gotten everything wrong. There was no connection between the 9/11 hijackers and Saddam Hussein. There was, there were no weapons of mass destruction. We were not greeted by a mushroom cloud as the smoking gun. He got everything wrong, thousands are dead and now he's back."

And for his part Corn wondered: "How detached from reality is he?"

Then Matthews, parroting a line his NBC colleague Tom Brokaw made on Inauguration Day, remarked: "He does seem like a character out of 'Dr. Strangelove.'"

The following exchanges were aired on the February 4 edition of "Hardball":