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MEMO TO MATTHEWS! Hey you big dumb stupid f*ck-wad! HRC told her joke about you! // link // print // previous // next //
TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2007

MATTHEWS SCANS THE LOBBY: To help you grasp the soul of your “press corps,” let’s return to the charity event we glancingly described in October 2005. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/24/05. Scroll down to “Culture Corner.”) The emcee that night was Kathleen Matthews, then of Washington’s Channel 7. On the way out of the Mayflower Hotel, we saw her husband, TV talker Chris Matthews, chatting with DC journo Mark Plotkin. We don’t know Plotkin, but we know Chris a tad. So we decided to stop for a chat rather than walking on by.

“Tough crowd tonight,” we thoughtfully said. Chris then offered us a look at the odd soul of the Washington press corps. His eyes stared past ours, scanning the Mayflower’s block-long lobby in a classic thousand-yard stare. “I just saw the most incredible prostitute,” he weirdly said. (Instead of “prostitute,” he may have said “hooker.”)

To Plotkin’s credit—again, we don’t know him—he seemed to be just as surprised as we were by Chris’ oddball comment. But Chris wasn’t through with his weird discussion; his eyes continued to scan the long hall as he said something like, “Yeah, you have to ask for the ‘pink sheet’ rooms when you check in.” (Not an exact quote.) At no point did Plotkin seem to think that this was a recognizable topic. For ourselves, we’d have to say it was the strangest thing any man has ever said to us. No, it simply isn’t our experience that men make such weird comments to other men—much less, to men whom they barely know. Men like Matthews apparently think that this is standard male discussion. (We googled and Nexised “pink sheet” the next day. We found no usage which conformed to what Chris had said.)

We mention this oddness, fifteen months later, because we’ve finally come to feel that people simply must get the fullest picture of the people who run their “press corps.” We also mention it in the face of Matthews’ endless rude remarks about Hillary Clinton—rude, sneering, gender-based insults which continue to show one part of the soul of this millionaire cohort. We’ll review Matthews’ most recent such comments later in this post.

Yes, Matthews has a jones about Clinton which just won’t let his soul go. When we hear him make his sneering remarks—and yes, they’ll continue until he’s stopped—we often think back to his conduct that evening. Repeat: In all our years, we’ve never seen a man make such weird, unsolicited remarks about women. People need to ponder hard—how did such odd and empty men ever get into their troubling spot at the top of our national discourse?

IN SEARCH OF THOSE EVIL, BAD MEN: That’s right. Until the day he’s made to stop, Matthews will continue his sneering remarks about Clinton. He’ll call her “Dukakis in a dress.” He’ll say she reminds him of “a stripteaser.” He’ll pretend, as he did last Thursday and Friday, that Bill Clinton has called her an “uppity woman” (text below). These sneering, gender-based comments and insults will be available each evening on Hardball. And this worthless man will sing the praises of the twin virile saints, John and Rudy. He insulted Gore for twenty straight months until he got George Bush to the White House. (“Al Gore would lick the floor to be president.” “Al Gore is Clinton’s bathtub ring.” ) And make no mistake—he’ll degrade and sneer at Hillary Clinton for as long as it takes.

What lies at the soul of the celebrity press corps? Consider Clinton’s joke this Sunday about “evil/bad men.”

Clinton had been asked an (unrecorded) question by someone in an Iowa audience. Here’s Candy Crowley’s account on CNN, complete with Clinton’s full remarks:
CROWLEY (1/29/07): The question was about her ability to stand up to dictators.

CLINTON (videotape): And, in the gentleman's words, we face a lot of evil men. You know, people like Osama bin Laden come to mind. [Pause] And what in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)

CROWLEY: Why were they laughing? And what did she have in mind?
What did Clinton have in mind? Empty pundits—people like Matthews—were instantly sure that they knew. The war in Iraq continues to rage—but this was Matthews’ first topic last night. Who was Clinton joking about? He asked Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times—and Sweet embarrassed herself:
SWEET (1/29/07): Well, what I think they were laughing at is the thought that cropped into my mind, Chris, and that is Bill Clinton`s name did come into my mind. There are some people who I interviewed, and that`s what they said. It’s a Rorschach. And what is interesting here—I don’t think it matters so much what she was thinking. I think what was instructive for all of us is what people who were out there were thinking. That’s what’s the key here.
What a perfect press corps moment! Bill Clinton’s name “came into Sweet’s mind!” And not only that—she also interviewed “some people” who had the same reaction. (Were these “people” other journalists? Sweet didn’t specifically say.) To Sweet, this pretty much settled the matter. Good God! It doesn’t matter what Clinton was thinking, Sweet told her host; what really matters is what occurred to Lynn Sweet! Let us translate: Sweet wants to talk about Bill Clinton’s d*ck, and because that d*ck came into her head, she assumed that it came into everyone else’s—and she says, therefore, that this is what“matters.” Obviously, Sweet doesn’t know what the other thousand people in that crowd were actually thinking. But it’s perfect! Because Bill Clinton popped into her head, she says that is “what is interesting.”

From that point on, Matthews assumed that the Iowa audience was laughing about Bill Clinton. At last! This empty, prostitute-gazing throwback could discuss his favorite topic! “That audience, though, was keyed to laugh, thinking she was kidding about her husband`s philandering, Monica Lewinsky and all that,” he quickly said. “What I’m asking is, is she that unaware of that 800-pound gorilla stalking behind her, the baggage of her husband?”

From that point on, Matthews built the entire discussion around the Lewinsky narrative—the theme he finds most exciting. Sadly, the Wall Street Journal’s John Harwood also said that he assumed that Clinton had referred to her husband. Only David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register refused to express a view on the plainly unknowable matter. But then, Yepsen is a dignified man, not a Washington media nutcase. It’s sad to see him lower himself on Hardball every four years.

Was Clinton talking about her husband? Matthews proceeded as if she was, and so did fatuous frat boy Tucker Carlson, one hour later on Tucker. (It was his first topic, too.) It was sad to see his guest, Rosa Brooks, play along with his frat boy follies. Sadly, people like Brooks will play along with any damn-fool thing to get on TV—to make themselves famous. Brooks embarrassed herself last night. We expect that she’ll do so again.

Was Clinton joking about her husband? Matthews, who scans the horizon for hookers, was eager to assume that she was. But just for the record, other observers thought something quite different. On Fox News Channel’s Special Report, Mara Liasson said this notion struck her as nuts. Liasson had a different reaction when she heard Clinton’s joke:

LIASSON (1/29/07): Wait a second. Are you assuming that she was making a joke about her husband?

BRIT HUME: Well, who do you think she was taking about?

FRED BARNES: Well, yeah.

LIASSON: Well, I think all the people—all the men who have attacked her and tormented her. That's just as plausible.

BARNES: No, the press—no, please, please, please!

LIASSON: Wait a minute, you think that's what she meant? Because I don't think that's how people in the room took it.

BARNES: Well, why was she laughing? She laughed even before the crowd did, it looked like. [Note: On the tape, this is plainly false. Not that it would matter.]

LIASSON: I think she was thinking of Newt Gingrich and Republicans.

BARNES: No.

MORTON KONDRACKE: The press thought that she was dealing with, she was reflecting on the bad Bill, you know, that that's who she was talking about. That's who they all—

LIASSON: Well, that's the press.
“Well, that’s the press,” Liasson said—hitting the nail on the head.

Liasson thought Clinton had referred to “all the men who have attacked her and tormented her.” “Well, that’s the press,” she dismissively said, when informed that the press corps thought different. Indeed, on this morning’s Imus program, Jonathan Alter also sided with Liasson’s impression. But Matthews and Carlson deeply enjoy talking about Bill Clinton’s big d*ck. And nothing will stop these empty boys from racing to their favorite topic.

Who was Clinton talking about? We don’t have the slightest idea. Nor would we have wasted ten seconds on such a meaningless topic. But for the record, we’d also assumed, on first hearing, that Clinton was citing the endless people who have tormented her down through the years. Advising Matthews, we’d tell him this, if we could stop him from scanning that lobby: “Hey, you big, dumb stupid f*ck-wad! Hey dumb-ass! She told that joke about you!”

UPPITY WOMEN: Matthews seems to make it a point to aim some gender-based insult at Clinton just about every evening. Last Thursday night, direct from Las Vegas, he stopped leering at college-age girls long enough to offer the following puzzler. He spoke with the Las Vegas Sun’s Jon Ralston:

MATTHEWS (1/25/07): Can [Clinton] beat him on—can she beat a John McCain in Nevada?

RALSTON: Well, I think Hillary could win anywhere. But I think the problem in Nevada is that...so much of the rural vote is still significant here. They turn out much more.

MATTHEWS: Traditional wives?
RALSTON: Yes.

MATTHEWS: And they don’t—do they like, what Bill Clinton calls, "uppity women," like his wife?
We were puzzled. Had Clinton called his wife an “uppity woman?” Had he made that remark about somebody else? We weren’t sure, but one night later, the leering old basket-case went there again. He spoke with Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman—and again, he served up his insult:
MATTHEWS (1/26/07): Let me ask you about this part of the country. My colleague Tim Russert says—and he tries to be smart about these things—he said this is the new Florida, the new Ohio. Out here, this array of states, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, are going to be in play [in 2008], more so perhaps I would argue than the south, which tends to be Republican, or the industrial midwest, which may have a problem with a modern, as Bill Clinton would say, uppity women like his wife. Out here, it seems more friendly to women.
Those are the transcripts as they appear on the MSNBC web site. Yes, we watched both programs.

What was Matthews talking about? Two straight nights, he seemed to say that Bill Clinton had called his wife an “uppity woman.” We’ve searched Nexis for any record of Clinton ever using that phrase in any context. Sorry, we can’t find one. But so what? This leering, empty, sex-baiting man had managed to call HRC “uppity” two consecutive nights.

This is never going to end until we liberals force it to end. Matthews is going to call Clinton names—names that are sneering, gender-based insults. He kept it up with Gore for two years. Once again, he won’t stop till he’s forced.

THE LARGER PICTURE: As we’ve said, cable TV was driven last night by fatuous discussions about Clinton’s joke. But that is precisely what we’ll get as long as we have a press corps like this one—a press corps in which billionaire owners hire boys to peddle their upper-class messages. In the case of Matthews, a near-billionaire named Jack Welch could see that Matthews was a man on the make. He gave him millions; let him move to Nantucket; even let him pal around at the club. And Matthews has repaid these favors for years. His sneering, gender-based insults of Clinton will continue—until they’re stopped.

NOTES ON AN EMPTY OLD FIXER: Last night, of course, this laughable loser was on Country Music Television, judging the Miss America contest. We’ll spare you his most embarrassing moments, such as when he shared his thoughts about the meaning of the swim suit competition. But if you want your cheeks to rouge in embarrassment, read the last two segments of last night’s Hardball, where Matthews fawns to wealthy Las Vegas mogul George Maloof, then to “superstar Hollywood agent Sam Haskell,” “board chairman of the Miss America contest.” At some length, Haskell explains that McCain will beat Clinton in California “because of his centrist views.” This is the foolish-but-wealthy type to whom losers like Matthews are drawn.

Indeed, this is all completely predictable. You simply can’t have a multimillionaire press corps without what we have come to see—the fatuous, empty, vacuous world-view, the pandering to corrupt, throwback values. Uh-oh! Progressives face a long, hard road—helping the public understand the shape of its modern mainstream “press corps.” One night in October 2005, we thought we saw a bit of its soul as Matthews scanned a block-long lobby, hoping to spot some outstanding prostitutes. This is the empty, worthless man who aims nightly insults at Clinton.

She reminds him of “a strip-teaser,” he once said. But then, that pretty much figures.