When a network news anchor loses his mind, going so far as to call his own producer a “whore,” what is the first thing a company would likely do? Intervention, expulsion, even rehab?
Despite ever increasing indications that Chris Matthews has gone stark raving mad, MSNBC has not only kept him on the air but continues to promote the man who got that infamous “thrill going up [his] leg…seriously.”
While one could write a master’s thesis on the evolution of Matthews’ derangement, in the wake of the “Hardball” host’s attempt to pin blame on Anthony Weiner’s wife for playing a part in “Weinergate,” The Daily Caller felt it was high time to take a stroll down crazy lane.
“He goes a thousand miles an hour and just picks things out of thin air,” one former guest told TheDC, recalling how the show provided 10 issues they were going to discuss, only to have Matthews rarely reference any of the prepared topics.
“Every commercial break he would shout, ’What do you want to talk about! What do you want to talk about! What do you want to talk about!’” the guest added.
One young conservative female guest who appeared several times on Matthews’ show told TheDC that bizarre comments toward women were part of his off air banter as well.
“During one appearance, during the commercial break, Matthews informed me he loves it when women wear baby doll dresses,” she said. “It’s his favorite thing to see women wear.”
Matthews was not always the emotional liberal that America now sees each afternoon at 5:00 p.m. EST. Back during the Clinton era, he was centrist enough to guest host for Rush Limbaugh. Nearly two decades later Matthews hoped for the popular mid-day host’s death.
It was Fox News Channel President Roger Ailes, ironically enough, who gave Matthews his first television job in 1994 with “Politics with Chris Matthews” on America’s Talking Network. Seventeen years later Matthews derided Ailes as “pathetic.”
His emotional rants have become commonplace on “Hardball,” and made his show must-watch TV for the likes of Mediate, NewsBusters, Real Clear Politics and even The Daily Caller — all waiting with bated breath for Matthews to inevitably say something “insane.”
When asked by TheDC why he watches so religiously, Ian Schwartz, Real Clear Politics video editor, did not mince words.
“‘Hardball’ is a reminder that I am sane,” said Schwartz. “Chris Matthews is more of a gaffe machine than Joe Biden and the ignorance of his sexism and bigotry makes the show entertaining to watch.”
“He’s a freak show” said another media reporter.
And Matthews’ comments prove the media pair’s points, as the examples are myriad.
From suggesting the country should “put Exxon signs up over Arlington Cemetery” to calling Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell “showcase appointment[s],” and even speculating that America was “the bad guys” in the Iraq war, Matthews rarely fails to create a stir.
Frequent “Hardball” guest John Feehery, President of Quinn Gillespie Communications, told The Daily Caller that he really likes the unpredictability of “Hardball” and added that one of the reasons he finds Matthews’ show enjoyable is because he is such a knowledgeable host.
“You get to see Chris being Chris,” Feehery said of Matthews’ unscripted, haphazard approach to the show. “He’s going to say whatever comes on his mind. Now, that makes for interesting television, but it also means people are going to be angry at him. Because sometimes what is going on in his mind is not politically correct.”
Feehery was on the show for Matthews’ now infamous attempt to link Anthony Weiner’s wife to Weinergate.
“Last night [for example] they had me on and he was saying that Weiner’s wife might have known about this or something and should be complicit and I said that was completely ridiculous,” he said.
According to Geoffrey Dickens, deputy research director for the Media Research Center, it was the beginning of the Iraq war that sent Matthews off the deep end.
“It used to be you could turn on Chris Matthews to, at the very least, get an insightful take on what was really happening behind the Democratic scenes in Washington,” Dickens told TheDC. “He was actually very tough on Bill Clinton in his coverage of his fundraising and personal scandals in the ’90s. But when MSNBC made the decision in the 2000’s to stake its claim to be the most liberal cable news channel Matthews regressed into a hyper-partisan agitator for the Dems.”
Much of Matthews’ perceived derangement has been his treatment of and attitude toward women.
In a meeting several years ago at NBC’s headquarters in Washington, Matthews shocked newsroom staff by calling one of his own producers a “whore” during a meeting.
Feminists, at times, have chided Matthews for his sexist language when it comes to discussions of female politicians, especially Hillary Clinton, who he has called a “she devil,” “witchy,” “anti-male,” and “uppity.”
Nancy Pelosi has also been a victim of Matthews’ sharp tongue. He once described her as “scary” and suggested that she would “castrate” Maryland Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer if he became majority leader, in 2006.
Media Matters noted Matthews’ poor math in trying to figure out how many women governors there were in 2008.
“Where are the big-state women governors? Where are they? Name one. They don’t exist,” Matthews said of the potential for a future female presidential candidate.
Media Matters subsequently pointed out that in 2008 there were in fact many female governors with populations comparable to the big name former governor presidential candidates, such as Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell, and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.
Despite the wrist slaps from his ideological brethren, Matthews continues to push the sexist boundaries. What was Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity again?
Conservative women have felt the brunt of Matthews’ condescension. One of his favorite targets has been Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, who he has referred to as, among other things, “balloon head,” and in a memorable exchange, “hypnotized.”
“He’s a known sexist pig. It’s not misogyny based on political party,” Amy Siskind, president of the women’s advocacy group The New Agenda, wrote at TheDC. “No, Matthews has a familiar pattern: he purposefully strikes out at any woman who is rising in power.”
In one of the more awkward moments on cable TV, Matthews attempted to flirt with former CNBC “Street Signs” anchor Erin Burnett but failed miserably.
“Come on in closer,” he said while the pair was on the screen. “No, come in — come in further — come in closer. Really close … No, you’re beautiful. I’m just kidding. I’m just kidding. You’re a knockout. Anyway, thank you, Erin Burnett … It’s all right getting bad news from you, even, OK?”
Needless to say, media reporters were pigs in slop with that exchange.
“It would help him to have more women on the show, but I don’t do the booking,” Feehery noted. “I’m not defending what he says [about women], I just enjoy the show. My role on the show is to provide my perspective.”
Neither Chris Matthews nor MSNBC replied to requests for comment.