An uncomfortable moment occurred on Tuesday's "Hardball" when Chris Matthews and guest Roger Simon of Politico disagreed with the meaning of something Barack Obama said during a "backyard chat" in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
After playing a clip of the President talking about his mother not being much of a churchgoer when he was a child, Simon asked, "Did he really have to throw his family under the bus to make this point?"
"To me this is the worst thing he's done since comparing his grandmother to Reverend Wright," he continued.
At that point, Matthews can be seen in the split-screen grimacing and shaking his head before flatly disagreeing with his guest (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Chris Matthews is still getting a thrill up his leg, and even further, when he hears Barack Obama speak, as the MSNBCer, on Monday's Hardball, announced to the world "I get the same thrill up my leg, all over me," whenever he listens to Obama's 2004 Democratic convention speech. Matthews also revealed he is really sensitive about how his "thrill" moments are described, as he took offense when a guest inaccurately labeled it a "tingle" as Matthews shot back: "It wasn't a tingle, up my leg, that's what right wing fascists say. I got a thrill up my leg. Okay? You're reading the right wing blogs. Start tuning your station." [audio available here]
Matthews, however, is quite aware that the rest of the country doesn't share the same all over body thrill he does as he asked his guests, Roger Simon of the Politico and Jim Kessler of Third Way, "Can President Obama stir us again and help his party keep power this November?"
The following is the full segment as it was aired on the September 7 Hardball:
Rich Noyes at NewsBusters covered one aspect of Simon's column on Wednesday, namely the deliciously hypocritical outrage of NBC/MSNBC reporter Chuck Todd over how the Journolist scandal "has been keeping him up nights, and he's especially frustrated that 'the right' would use it as 'a sledgehammer' against everyday journalists, 'those of us who don't practice advocacy journalism.'"
I'll suggest that Simon's rendition of journalistic history is at least as offensive as Todd's reaction, in that it's laughably and obviously false on so many fronts (numbered tags are mine):
... when I became a reporter, it was almost a holy calling. (1)
NBC News White House correspondent and MSNBC daytime anchor Chuck Todd told Politico's Roger Simon that the Journolist scandal has been keeping him up nights, and he's especially frustrated that "the right" would use it as "a sledgehammer" against everyday journalists, "those of us who don't practice advocacy journalism."
Todd fretted: "Journolist was pretty offensive. Those of us who are mainstream journalists got mixed in with journalists with an agenda. Those folks who thought they were improving journalism are destroying the credibility of journalism. This has kept me up nights. I try to be fair. It’s very depressing."
The only problem, of course, is that Todd and other ostensibly neutral reporters at NBC have gotten "mixed in with journalists with an agenda" via the entire MSNBC project. Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, the upcoming Larry O'Donnell show -- these are not programs designed to boost the "credibility of journalism." They are liberal agenda shows designed to push one side -- Journolist on TV, as it were.
For his part, Simon seems critical of Journolist for tainting the media's professionalism -- a "holy calling" (although the most directly critical statement is the headline, "Journolist veers out of bounds"). An excerpt:
On the very day America learned so-called journalists conspired to destroy Sarah Palin from the moment John McCain chose her as his running mate, Politico's Roger Simon declared she's at the top of the Republican Party.
Assuming he's correct, what does that tell us about all those in the mainstream media that have been looking down their noses for almost two years as they worked overtime to smear this woman?Before we attempt to answer that question, let's see what Simon had to say:
Howard Kurtz on Sunday used a Keith Olbermann tactic of selectively editing and cherry picking from a Rush Limbaugh radio transcript to make the conservative talk show host look racist.
In a "Reliable Sources" segment dealing with the embattled Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, Kurtz played a highly-edited clip of statements Limbaugh made Tuesday about this issue.
Unfortunately, just as MSNBC's Olbermann did on his "Countdown" program, Kurtz never told his viewers that Limbaugh was referring specifically to comments that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker made on last Sunday's "This Week" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Simon was discussing a quote from Obama in that interview, in which the President whined: "Some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying do something are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much." Apparently, asking the federal government to do its job in a national emergency but not take over people's health care is the liberal definition of hypocrisy.
Earlier, Mitchell asked Simon to preview the President's prime time address on the oil spill. Simon gushed: "...he's cool and collected about things but he also realizes that he has to break through that, and tonight is his chance. You know, speeches have never failed Barack Obama. They started his presidential career. They've always rescued him at tough times.... I think he wants to re-establish that personal bond he once had with voters." He could hardly wait for Obama's performance: "I think tonight we saw a preview of it in Pensacola. He likes to preview the speeches like opening a play out of town before you go to Broadway."
Newsweek's Howard Fineman, on Monday's Hardball, pushed Barack Obama to "overdo" and "overstep" in his efforts to get BP to plug the leak and stop the oil spill in the Gulf, something Fineman claimed Obama hadn't done yet because "he's usefully and rightfully dangerous about power. I think he thought...George W. Bush overstepped in terms of executive power...he's an observer by nature." This observation from Fineman seems particularly odd, as it comes at the same time the President has pushed for a $50 billion in additional domestic spending.
Fineman made the comment after the Politico's Roger Simon insisted there's only so much Obama can do, as he insisted: "He's not Iron Man. He cannot dive a mile underwater and stop this by himself." However host Chris Matthews asserted Obama could do more and he asked if the President will be "tough" and "really threaten BP" and openly wondered: "Does he know he's a powerful man?" After Fineman responded that Obama needs to "overstep" a concerned Matthews questioned: "Even at the risk of being called a socialist again?"
While Matthews felt Grayson's Nazi comparison was over-the-top, Matthews cheered Grayson's display of "cojones," even chuckling at video of Grayson calling Republicans "knuckle-dragging Neanderthals."
Matthews made clear to guests James Warren of the Huffington Post and Politico's Roger Simon that he thought Grayson was just the shot in the arm liberals needed for their health care push (audio available here, video embedded at right):
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's "Hardball," ominously warned that the "activists on the radio," are "gonna pay," if "we have violence in this country against our president of any form," for having "encouraged the craziness." Matthews made that charge in a segment, with NBC News' Chuck Todd and the Politico, that began by the MSNBC host wondering if the GOP was "jumping the shark," with "these crazy town meetings," and declared "the clown show is over."
The following exchange was aired on the September 22 edition of "Hardball":
On Sunday, CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer praised President Obama’s recent media blitz for health care reform: "There’s no question he is the best salesman on the staff," but wondered: "Does he run the risk of overexposing himself?" Politco.com’s Roger Simon dispelled that fear: "It is a risk, but he keeps topping himself."
Simon elaborated on Obama’s oratory skill: "Every time you think this guy can’t give another speech that’s better than the last one, he gives another speech that’s better than the last one. And he’s achieving his purpose." He added that the President’s address to Congress last Wednesday: "was to unite Democrats around him. As a man who can get this job done."
In the same segment, Schieffer also spoke with syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, who gushed: "There is always that risk of overexposure. And yet, if you watched his speech yesterday in Minneapolis, he sort of redeems himself every time he goes out there in front of the public, because he is so good."