WMD smackdown on MSNBC?
February 8, 2006 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Hardball's Chris Matthews beats the crap out of former Pentagon spokesperson Torie Clark on the WMD issue. I've never heard a member of the mainstream media so outspoken and heated in slamming the Admin's position on this before. Is the tide turning? (Video-WMP; Video-QT)
posted by darkstar (53 comments total)
The tide turned for today. But I fear it will wash back out tomorrow and everything will be the same.

Chris Matthews is completely schizophrenic, maybe he's off his meds?
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 8:34 PM on February 8, 2006

Holy crap she got owned.
posted by wakko at 8:36 PM on February 8, 2006

It reflects Bush's poll numbers. The media gives the people want they want to hear. Check it out.
posted by stbalbach at 8:42 PM on February 8, 2006

Having seen Tweety act as a wholly owned GOP tool time and again, these rare glimpses of actual challenge to administration flacks just aren't gonna get me to cheer.

Example, just yesterday he permitted Kate O'Beirne to lay into Rev. Lowery unchallenged, even pulling out a ridiculous near-sob at the horror that someone would dare use such an occasion to bring up everything that Coretta Scott King ever stood for (in somebody else's apt words). That's common fare on his show these days.
posted by dhartung at 8:44 PM on February 8, 2006

He's still a GOP tool, no question--he gets hard for the "tough, manly, strong" Bush and all his pals. His ratings have been tanking for ages, and he recently upped the asshole ante--maybe now he realized it didn't work, is going back to trying to appear "moderate"? The repressed homo-longing when Matthews is talking about his big butch GOPers is almost enough reason to watch.

Or the Open Letter to Chris Matthews blog has been successful in persuading advertisers and others to drop him?
posted by amberglow at 8:49 PM on February 8, 2006

dhartung: You left out him comparing the anti-war crowd to Osama, not to mention suggesting that the recent church burnings were the work of gay liberals.
posted by brundlefly at 8:50 PM on February 8, 2006

I'm hesitant to applaud Chris Matthews, even for this...it's fun to see the "interrupt and fluster" method used against those I disagree with politically, but I know that it's just as effective when used against my side. It shouldn't be encouraged or accepted as debate.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 8:50 PM on February 8, 2006

WTF? Matthews was last seen slobbering all over Tom Delay. The dude is totally off his meds.
posted by wfrgms at 8:55 PM on February 8, 2006

Isn't this the same woman who went on The Daily Show and proudly proclaimed that we were in an era of no spin and then was promptly made to eat her words by John Steward.

I wonder if that has anything to do with it.
posted by 517 at 8:59 PM on February 8, 2006

I loved how, as soon as he stopped speaking, she started in with the "rant" ad hominem instead of actually using the time to address any of his points.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:13 PM on February 8, 2006

It's "Jon Stewart". A true fanboy knows this. And I thought Jon was pretty easy on her.
posted by LordSludge at 9:13 PM on February 8, 2006

I guess you're the true fan boy.
posted by 517 at 9:21 PM on February 8, 2006

I thought that was self-evident.
posted by LordSludge at 9:22 PM on February 8, 2006

I like Chris Matthews -- he stirs it up with guests from both sides of the aisle. I like the fact that it's hard to tell where he stands politically (although, I believe he's a long time fairly liberal Democrat -- he was a Carter staffer, for example). He's been an outspoken opponent of the the Iraq war -- the ONLY one, I think it's fair to say, in mainstream media who strongly opposed the invasion before it happened and said so repeatedly on his show.
posted by Toecutter at 9:33 PM on February 8, 2006

I recall Matthews poking a hole in an extremely puffed-up Zell Miller following Zell's tirade at the RNC in '04.

That was fun to watch.
posted by darkstar at 9:43 PM on February 8, 2006

Is the tide turning?

No. Chris Matthews is an idiot. He probably did, quite literally, forget his meds that day.
posted by teece at 9:46 PM on February 8, 2006

I think it's spelled John
posted by dwordle at 9:48 PM on February 8, 2006

John Stewart allowed this woman hang herself on his show. She's obviously an idiot. Typical Chris Matthews, pick on the weak woman who can't shame him into shutting up. All she had to do was bring up the troops and Islamofacism and he would've started slobbering over her.
posted by cell divide at 9:48 PM on February 8, 2006

I'm just watching the Stewart interview of Torie Clark now. He was pretty easy on her, but also pretty effective at leading her to explicitly undermine the whole premise of her own book (i.e., that because of rapid, global communication, falsehood can't hide and so spin has become obsolete).


Clark: "...so we're in a spin-free era..."

...a minute later...

Stewart: "Um...so you're saying that spin is pervasive."

Clark: "Yes."

Stewart: "Oh! I thought you were saying that we're in a spin-free era."

Clark: "My BOOK says that."
posted by darkstar at 9:54 PM on February 8, 2006

[Jon Stewart] was pretty easy on her, but also pretty effective at leading her to explicitly undermine the whole premise of her own book

In his best moments, this is Stewart's interview style when he's "on." We might want him to lay into some of his more loathsome guests with some loud, deserved berating, but what he actually does is much, much more valuable when he gets his guests to hang themselves. Another great example of this was when he got William Kristol (!) to say that Bush had "driven us into a ditch" when it came to Iraq.
posted by deanc at 10:00 PM on February 8, 2006

Bah. It's all about the mighty Colbert, now.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:03 PM on February 8, 2006

Also, back in '03, Torie Clark gallantly tried to single-handedly start an 80s New Wave Fashion Revival at the Pentagon. Sadly, her efforts did not bear fruit.
posted by deanc at 10:08 PM on February 8, 2006

There's a post every few weeks asking "Is the tide turning?". Not insofar as I can tell.
posted by baklavabaklava at 10:12 PM on February 8, 2006

You never know what you're going to see on Hardball. Some nights, Chris slobbers a little and laughs at something nobody else understands, much less finds funny.

Other nights, he gets upset about a particular point made by one guest or another, and focuses intensely on that point until it's clear that the guest is completely broken or they somehow come up with the appropriate combination of words to change his focus.

It doesn't seem to matter what the topic is.

The most fun is when Norah O'Donnell is on, and you can see the fantasies running though Chris Matthews' eyes. Somewhere in his home there's a small room plastered with photos of her.

I think this interview is a combination of low hanging fruit and random mood swing. If she had come one another night, he might have played kissy face for fifteen minutes.

If the EXACT SAME book had been written by Peggy Noonan, he'd have held it over his head and proclaimed it poetry for our times.

I really want to like the guy, but Chris Matthews is like a box of chocolates laced with Prozac. You REALLY never know what you're going to get.
posted by JWright at 10:21 PM on February 8, 2006

Chris Matthews is about the worst of the idiots, if only because he's not as obviously a conservative tool as O'Reliey, etc.

He affects this working class shtick, but then consistently skirts issues of significance, to discuss who looked how on tv and with the DC in-crowd. It's really disgusting.

And it was at its worst in the 2000 election, when he with his droning and repetitive stupidity talked unendingly on every single one of his shows about how Al Gore was a robotic Mr. Smarty pants, while GW was a fella you'd like to have a beer with.

Every night he pushed the stupidest lies about Gore (laughing about how Gore "claimed to have invented the Internet," and such), and bubbled about Bush's manly attractiveness.

Matthews did more than any other media personality to ensure that the 2000 election was a massive glob of stupidity and misdirection that ended up spitting up GWB as president.

I will not easily forgive or forget this.
posted by washburn at 10:21 PM on February 8, 2006

Big deal. This is pretty standard for CM - he plays softball (if not outright assuming the role of GOP "fluffer") with all of the big name guests. Honestly, these political talk show types literally cannot afford to slam high ranking GOP members because they will get blacklisted and find it difficult if not impossible to continue to book any Republicans of significance.

However, GOP political nobodies (relatively speaking) and people like Torie Clark who are no longer in the inner circle (read: expendable) are fair game.

PS In the video, Matthews sounds like he's slightly slurring his speech. A cold? Recent dental work? Meds? Doesn't sound like his usual self.
posted by Davenhill at 11:10 PM on February 8, 2006

Chris Matthews is just one another talk show who is more interested in talking than listening (Bill "Falafel" O'Reilly is another prime example). His guests are mere props so that he can hear himself talk. Rather than a smackdown this is Matthews spouting off without really giving his guest a chance to respond.
posted by caddis at 11:25 PM on February 8, 2006

let's get our daily dose of rudeness:
Watching Chris "Behold My Lipless Shit-Eating Grin" Matthews and John "I'm Not On Your Side" McCain, who happen to be white, discuss the dust-up between McCain and freshman Senator Barack Obama, who happens to be black, on My Balls Are Hard last night was uncomfortable, in one of those "oh-shit-I-just-saw-my-sister-naked-and-she's-hot" kind of ways. The two pasty-faced assholes chuckled and chortled about the letter that McCain sent to Obama, essentially treating a fellow Senator like a syphilitic Saigon whore. You can read the letters on Obama's Senate website; he's posted them without comment, which is the subtle way of saying of McCain, "God, what a wad of fuck."

Beyond the issue itself, that of how to proceed (not even on what to do, but what steps to take to get to doing something) on "ethics reform," which will be gutted and fileted like a mercury-ridden trout by the House before it's over, the whole kerfuffle seems to be over McCain misreading Obama. It's all about McCain's posturing, a little dance he can do, a happy, if gimpy, jig before the GOP faithful, where he can sway and say, "Look how I can take out the uppity negro."
as dhart, amberglow and others have said: Matthews is a tool
posted by matteo at 11:46 PM on February 8, 2006

she's got iraqi kids blood on her hands.

she deserves worse that this.

posted by specialk420 at 12:11 AM on February 9, 2006

meanwhile Iraq is getting worse off than it was BEFORE THE WAR.

"Virtually every measure of the performance of Iraq's oil, electricity, water and sewerage sectors has fallen below pre-invasion values even though $16 billion of U.S. taxpayer money has already been disbursed in the Iraq reconstruction program, several government witnesses told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday."
posted by specialk420 at 12:17 AM on February 9, 2006

I like how she bristles when he calls her a PR flack.

It takes a lot to get all macho on someone who, as he constantly reminds us, is no longer in govt. It's also very big of him to offer her no time to respond at the end.

By the way: Cheney (hawk), Rummy (hawk), Condi (hawk), Bush (hawk).
posted by minkll at 12:20 AM on February 9, 2006


Cheney (chickenhawk), Rummy (chickenhawk), Condi (chickenhawk), Bush (chickenhawk).
posted by specialk420 at 12:23 AM on February 9, 2006

While Don, Cheney and Bush are all in the chickhawk database, Dr. Condolezza Rice isn't listed.
posted by Jerub at 1:07 AM on February 9, 2006

Why is it that Clark, Rice, Rumsfeld et al physically look like tight-lipped villains? I wonder if they had softer features and their politics made them ugly, or if they always looked like that and decided to act the part.

When she was manning the podium at the Pentagon, Clark always looked like she was doing her best to mimic Rumsfeld's mannerisms and delivery, and she seemed like she was creaming her clown attire whenever she was standing behind her hero Rumsfeld as he spoke.

The rogues gallery are living it up now, but history won't be kind to them.

Btw, Matthews was raked over the coals by Stewart when he appeared on the daily show too. Stewart made fun of his heavy-handed tactics and lumped him in with Crossfire and the rest of the combat "debate" idiots. Matthews didn't really have any comebacks. All his smugness and aggression gave way to basically a shrug and a "Well, that's what people want to see".
posted by Devils Slide at 2:59 AM on February 9, 2006

Not that it's really important, but it is Jon Stewart.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:17 AM on February 9, 2006

I would pay good good money for Jack Germond to rise up, smite Chris Matthews and lead us all to The Promised Land (tm).

Whatever that is.
posted by willmize at 3:59 AM on February 9, 2006

"Hardball's Chris Matthews beats the crap out of former Pentagon spokesperson Torie Clark"

I hope Matthews was wearing goggles and rubber gloves.
posted by troutfishing at 4:44 AM on February 9, 2006

Wow -- what an unfair pile on Matthews. Maybe this is why we liberals (and yes, I'm a long time socially liberal democrat) have had so much trouble connecting with the electorate: liberals (and I include myself) have a tendency to make knee jerk judgments about people based on whether they look and act liberal enough -- that is, whether they drive, say, to the vegan food co-op in volvo covered with Gore and Nature Conservancy stickers. As result we unnecesarily alienate people who may share our views but don't like to be, well, bossed around.

I've been a Hardball watcher for years and the simple truth is that Matthews, bluster aside, comes down on the socially liberal side of the argument every time. Every time. But he also calls it like he sees it. So when Gore (whom I voted for!) acted like a robotic smarty pants, which he did, Matthews called him on it. And when Bush gave the (phoney in my opinion) impression that he was a regular fella you could have a beer with, Matthews acknowledged it. What the knee jerk crowd fails to see is that, having said that, Matthews would then ask whether we really need a beer buddy for president. And he's the only mainstream political show host who asks those kind of questions.

How can we argue that O'Reilly is a partisan hack if we in turn demand a faux news talk show on the left? Matthews is the antithesis of O'Reilly -- as demonstrated by the fact that someone could come away from watching his show (once or twice I imagine) with the wholly inaccurate impression that he's a republican fluffer.
posted by Toecutter at 5:40 AM on February 9, 2006

Willmize -- I'm a big fan of Jack Germand too. Remember the golden age of the Mclaughlin Group with him squaring off against Pat Buchanan? Man that was a good show.
posted by Toecutter at 5:49 AM on February 9, 2006

Germond said he left The McLaughlin group because he finally had an assful of McLaughlin's abrasive personality. Anyone who can sit around the table with McLaughlin and people like Buchanon for fifteen years and not strangle them is a saint.
posted by Devils Slide at 6:58 AM on February 9, 2006

I think it's spelled Johann Steaghtwardt.
posted by fungible at 7:01 AM on February 9, 2006

Toecutter -- Nobody's judging Matthews because he doesn't drive a Volvo. The problem in 2000 was his obsessive focus on trivial matters of style in an election where matters of deadly seriousness were at stake. Sure, Matthews might shrug his shoulders at some point during his show and ask whether his desire to go pal about with GW is really all that good a reason to vote for the guy; however he'd ask that question after spending 20 of his 22 minutes on GW's personal attractiveness and voicing a genuinely creepy locker-room desire to kick Al Gore in the face.

Matthews is just a lazy pundit. It takes preparation and a certain amount of skill and knowledge to conduct an interesting and informative discussion on substantive policy issues. Week after week however Matthews spent his airtime laughing at Al Gore's beard or Naomi Campbell or repeating well-knows lies about Gore.

Yeah Matthews worked for the Carter administration. Maybe in the privacy of the voting booth he sometimes pulls the lever for a Democratic candidate---who knows? But his show (which was getting beaten in the ratings by Phil Donahue when MSNBC canceled the old liberal guy) is surely the lowest form of political discussion on TV. Honestly, I'd rather watch O'Reiley, who at least makes up and lies about fake issues, than Matthews, who can never get beyond discussing who looks cool on tv.

You write that critics of Matthews have the wholly inaccurate impression that he's a republican fluffer. The problem is that it doesn't matter what lever Matthews pulls in the voting booth, when all the world sees from him week after week is an unending repetition of Republican fluff jobs.
posted by washburn at 7:13 AM on February 9, 2006

I thought he spelled it T-O-D-D L-O-K-E-N?

It's interesting that her book is called "Lipstick on a Pig" is she referring to herself or her job at the Pentagon with that title.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:28 AM on February 9, 2006

I've been a Hardball watcher for years and the simple truth is that Matthews, bluster aside, comes down on the socially liberal side of the argument every time. Every time.

This is not true, and hasn't been true for years---i'd say since the "Mission Accomplished" flightdeck moment. Accusing gays and liberals of burning Baptist Churches? not socially liberal at all. Making fag jokes with Imus on air? not socially liberal at all. Caliing one entire political party (the socially liberal one, btw) weak over and over and over? not socially liberal at all. making fun of Hillary and other women and minority democrats? not socially liberal at all.

Matthews only comes down on the socially liberal side of the argument when he's up against a batshit insane rightwinger like Zell or a some white Reverend--otherwise he's a Republican. He admitted on air to voting for Bush twice, and has given endless fluffing blowjobs to every single person with any power in the GOP, while all the while slamming every single Democratic person with power.
posted by amberglow at 8:49 AM on February 9, 2006

and socially liberal people do not admire criminals like DeLay and Rove, nor do they provide cover for them on air daily.
posted by amberglow at 8:53 AM on February 9, 2006

“Matthews...comes down on the socially liberal side of the argument every time.”

Reason enough to dislike him right there.
I really can’t stand this talking head crap on t.v. anyway. Anyone with an agenda ultimately gets their ass handed to them.
Mostly because you can’t make a priori static judgements in a dynamic system.

Which is why Raymond Luxury Yacht (It’s pronounced “Jheown Steewargnt” but spelt “Raymond Luxury Yacht”) is so good at clairifying issues and exposing the truth.

Basic truth in comedy. In risi veritas.
(Or the Colbert version: In risi veridiciness)

But anyone with out an agenda can employ the same tactics devoid of humor and clairify and argument to make it self-reveal. If it’s flawed or ego-filled, it’s gonna show.
And given the saturation of spin on t.v. it’s a target rich environment.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:47 AM on February 9, 2006

Amberglow, I see it differently. I've read a lot of your Metafilter comments over, well, I guess the past months and tend to agree with most of them. I've even chimed in on occasion to say ditto. But in this case it's almost like we've been watching different shows.

As far as gay jokes on Imus, I didn't hear those, although I listen to Imus on MSNBC as background noise in the morning -- my impression on his show is that everyone makes gay jokes (and black jokes, white, straight, lesbian, asian, you name it) because that's the kind of show it is -- no one is safe. Hell, there are gay jokes on Metafilter in the form of links to Brokeback parodies. The important thing is Matthews has defended gay rights and gay marriage on his show.

Calling Democrats weak is calling a spade a spade. That's why Dean resonated with so many before he imploded. Surely you aren't saying that support of Hillary is the litmus test for whether one holds socially liberal views, especially in light of her support for the Iraq invasion. Matthews has been far to the left of her on that issue (and others I think it's fair to say since her rather grotesque pandering to Walmart America began in earnest on hot button issues like flag burning -- even Ariana Huffington makes fun of Hillary because of this) having been an outspoken critic of the Iraq invasion both before and after it occured.

Admire DeLay and Rove? What? Really, amberglow, we just haven't been watching the same show. Matthews took all kinds of heat from the right late last fall for the nightly and tenacious coverage of both the Delay scandal(s) and Plamegate.

Anyway, amberglow, we are on the same team. I'm just suggesting we pick our battles carefully.
posted by Toecutter at 10:04 AM on February 9, 2006

"He admitted on air to voting for Bush twice"

Well, then. Not surprising.
posted by washburn at 11:15 AM on February 9, 2006

I'm just suggesting we pick our battles carefully.

Toecutter: I'd caution you here, too. Matthews is not on "our side." If you want someone on our side, go to Kos or The Nation

Those people are liberals.

Matthews is a (supposed) journalist in America -- as such, he should not be on any side. Yet time and again, I've seen Matthews show absolutely horrible judgement. He makes no effort to make sure that the issues on his show get a fair hearing -- he gives them whatever hearing suits him, in a entirely capricious manner.

"Our side" does not need friends like this. He is neither a liberal (nor conservative), nor Democrat (nor a Republican), but neither is he a journalist. He's something much worse than any of those things, even if he occasionally pulls his head out of his ass.

In short, Matthews is an entertainer. As such, it's very dangerous to assume anything seen on his show has a straightforward relationship with the truth. He aims to entertain, not elucidate.
posted by teece at 1:31 PM on February 9, 2006

I can't site any stats but every time I turn on Softball, Matthews is busy fellating as many as four or five Republican apologists at a time, while hardly allowing any time for the opposite side. True, once in a great while he'll rail at the Republicans for something (Katrina really frosted his shorts) but the wind has been mostly blowing in one direction on Softball for years.
posted by Ber at 2:04 PM on February 9, 2006

No. no, no. It's spelled "Jon Stewart," but it's pronounced throat warbler mangrove.
posted by jaronson at 9:00 PM on February 9, 2006

Toecutter, i'd just suggest you read Media Matters on Matthews--it's all there (and it's not at all in any way liberal, socially or otherwise)
posted by amberglow at 7:14 AM on February 10, 2006

« Older Limited Edition Candy   |   Anatomy of an Affair Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments