Facing scrutiny about his wife’s campaign donors from no fewer than a dozen media outlets, “Hardball” host Chris Matthews has yet to offer any sort of explanation.
It’s been over a month since The Daily Caller first reported that Hillary Clinton’s top donors are funding Kathleen Matthews’ congressional campaign and two days since The Intercept revealed a flood of timely donations flowing from Chris Matthews’ “Hardball” guests to Kathleen’s campaign. To date, more than 17,000 progressives have signed a MoveOn petition calling on MSNBC to suspend the host of “Hardball.”
From the very beginning of Kathleen Matthews’ campaign, there were questions about her husband’s ability to remain unbiased with such a vested interest in the 2016 election. MSNBC countered by promising “transparent coverage” from Chris Matthews. For his part, Matthews promised to respect “certain boundaries” in his coverage but said he would still “offer Kathleen whatever help I can.”
It didn’t take long for Bernie Sanders’ supporters to point out the obvious differences in the way Matthews has covered Clinton and the way he’s covered Bernie Sanders. After Clinton and Sanders raced to a virtual tie in Iowa, Matthews invited Clinton on “Hardball” for an interview that looked more like a promotional gig than anything else. While talking up Clinton, Matthews blasted Sanders, saying he can’t “be taught” and congratulated Clinton for her victory. Esquire Magazine called the interview “historical and out of bounds.”
By early February, progressive activists had had enough and started a petition demanding MSNBC suspend Chris Matthews for his “constant shilling for Hillary Clinton.”
On February 9th, TheDC reported that scores of top Clinton donors were pouring money into Kathleen Matthews’ campaign from all over the country. Media members on both sides of the aisle cried foul, some calling on Matthews to recuse himself. The petition demanding MSNBC suspend Matthews soared past 17,000 signatures. Many of the petitioners pointed to Kathleen Matthews’ campaign donors as their reason for signing.
On February 21, progressive YouTube channel The Young Turks released a video breaking down the Matthews’ Clinton ties, including Kathleen’s campaign donors. To date, the video has garnered more than 171,000 views on YouTube. Chris Matthews remained silent.
On March 10, the Washington Free Beacon dug up even more Clinton allies among Kathleen Matthews’ donors, many of whom were from out-of-state, yet Chris Matthews remained silent.
On March 11, The Intercept reported that 48 frequent guests on “Hardball” had given $79,050 to Kathleen Matthews campaign. Many of the guests also gave donations through their spouse or PAC. Some “Hardball” guests gave money to Kathleen just days after coming onto the show.
Several news organizations including the New York Post and the The Daily Mail have now also reported on the flow of money from Chris’ “Hardball” guests into his wife’s campaign. Some have raised the question about whether guests were buying their way onto “Hardball” with donations to Kathleen’s campaign.
MSNBC responded by issuing a statement stating that the network “does not book guests on the basis of political contributions. That would violate not only our ethical obligation as journalists, but also violate the standards of NBC News.” But by press time, Chris Matthews had still given no comment on his wife’s campaign donors.