RealClearPolitics Media Watch

« MSNBC To Give 10PM Slot To Liberal Analyst Lawrence O'Donnell | Media Watch Home Page | FOX News Channel Beats MSNBC And CNN Combined During Obama Address »

Matthews Proves He Is a Chip Off the Ol' Beck

I rolled out of bed with a roaring headache, so I figure it can get no worse for me as I bang away at the big, dense rock that is cable news' evening political theatrics.

What has my morbid interest today is a looming documentary by MSNBC's Chris Matthews titled, "Rise of the New Right." It airs tonight at 7 EST.

As the title suggests Matthews will take a chilling look at the evil-doers leading the far-right side of the political spectrum, and their efforts to co-opt people's minds in the hope of making them do outlandish and sinister deeds to the country he so loves.

He'll do this, of course, by following the cable news inflammatory playbook which says very early in Chapter One that to take the steam out of the other side you must first turn up the rhetorical heat to blaring on your end, and then claim you are simply trying to cool things down by letting about 50 percent of the truth shine in. Context is forbidden.

Or you can just pitch a lighted match atop a pile of dynamite ...

In the "Rise of the New Right," Matthews has taken hold of his shovel and unearthed grainy, black-and-white archives of conservative monsters from days gone by such as Joe McCarthy and Barry Goldwater, and then tunneled his way to the present-day gatekeepers of the right-wing fringe, like Sarah Palin and those hellbent-on-destruction Tea-tippers.

Based on what I saw in the ample tease(s) for the "Rise of the New Right" it's chilling, chilling stuff, and might even spur you into taking some kind of action.

There's just one monumental problem with it: Chris Matthews.

If for some reason you aren't familiar with Matthews, who hosts the nightly show, "Hardball" on MSNBC, I'll give you his down-and-dirty bio as I'd write it: Most likely an attention-seeker from an early age; dripping-wet lefty; passionate, if not often misguided; smart, just not THAT smart; leads too often with his lip; intense; a willing shill for the Democratic Party; wannabe journalist; grudging entertainer.

About the "wannabe journalist" part ...

Because Matthews has worked so bloody hard to make it clear that he is first a detractor of the right followed closely by being a defender of the left, he has painted himself into an unbelievable corner where fantasy becomes fact if you holler loud enough.

Even if large chunks of his arguments sometimes have merit, they are lost in his sea of unsubstantiated claims and overheated rants. Why give two sides to anything (er, like real journalists do) when you can make your point just fine by raising your voice to a screech?

What Matthews is doing is really no different than what the unhinged Glenn Beck pulls on his nightly horror show on Fox. And Beck gets plenty of well-deserved criticism for it.

Amazingly, he also gets plenty of viewers.

Is it any wonder these guys often compete against each other in the same 5 p.m. ET time slot? And by 'compete' I mean Beck stomping Matthews into the ground in the all-important ratings game.

In a perfect world -- one without oil wells, politicians, and vuvuzela horns -- Beck and Matthews would be strapped into cast-iron chairs, and forced to listen to each other read from their cooked political playbooks 24 hours a day.

Only when they came to some sort of agreement on anything would they be given a two-week furlough of water-boarding.

I know you are now shocked to discover that I won't be watching Matthews' theatrics tonight any more than I will watch Beck rewind images of Hitler. Instead, I will put my earplugs in and hope for a goal or two to break out in a World Cup rerun.

In the end, Matthews' work will undoubtedly resonate with the brigade of Blue-coats on the far-left side of the political battlefield, infuriate the Reds, and leave those in the middle reaching for the channel-changer and a bottle of aspirin.

Whether now enticed or mortified by this program, you have been properly warned.

(Got a tip, a gripe, or some kudos? Send 'em along.)