Chris Matthews Disgraces Media Journalists With Disturbing Remarks

Chris Matthews, host of the MSNBC political show "Hardball" doesn't know how to keep himself from getting into trouble.

Matthews fired a salvo at the Clinton campaign this morning after both he and his MSNBC colleague Shuster were privately and publicly rebuked for recent comments deemed misogynistic or inappropriate.

Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe, the Hardball host went off on the Clinton press shop, calling them "knee cappers" who were "lousy" and delve in the business of "intimidation."
This man has become a total disgrace to the media networks, and his bias towards Clinton is rampantly evident. I think the time has come for Matthews to be censured for his insensitive and inappropriate comments, and the network needs to set an example with all journalists that work for their organization, that these type of comments have no place in the news and media framework of journalistic broadcasting. /matthews-calls-clinton-pr_n_86812.html

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Sad days for Journalism

Just a rant.

I'm watching MSNBC right now. Or not really watching, but it's on in the background as I'm working on my laptop.

The anchor goes live to a town hall in Wisconsin with Chelsea Clinton, where she is taking questions at Marquette University.

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PBS or Fox? What's the purpose of progressive TV?

Whenever I write about progressive TV, I inevitably get a healthy dose of criticism in the comments from folks who think that progressive TV should be dispassionate, non-partisan, objective, and truth-focused - essentially, a recreation of PBS.  (In fact, the last post featured a commenter who asked why more progressives don't just support PBS.)  I also get a reasonable amount of pushback every time I suggest some variant on the notion that progressives should develop a mirror image of Fox News - a hyper-partisan, foaming-at-the-mouth progressive channel.

For the record, I don't think that creating a mirror image of Fox News is a good idea, for several reasons.  One, I don't think progressives react well to that style of news, and a progressive channel that can't do well within the progressive base is a non-starter.  Two, I think Fox News isn't so much a conservative channel as a Republican Party establishment channel.  As Eric Boehlert pointed out earlier this week, Fox's cozy relationship with the Republican Party is now putting its audience share at risk, and I'm not sure I want that kind of future for a progressive TV channel.  Finally, I think the core tenet of progressivism - "we're all in this together" - simply doesn't have room for Fox's aggressive, divisive, insipid style.

On the other hand, I firmly disagree with the notion that progressives need to build their own PBS.  Many progressives seem to think that it's possible to build a TV channel which trades in fully objective journalism, and that doing so would benefit the progressive movement as much as Fox has benefited the conservative movement.  I think that it's both impossible and non-beneficial for the progressive movement besides. Follow me across the flip for details.

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Mitt Romney and Signs of Life in the World of Journalism

Yesterday while at a campaign stop in SC, Governor Mitt Romney had a "heated" exchange with AP reporter Glen Johnson. The video can be found here.

Johnson interrupted Governor Romney's pontification on not having lobbyists "running" his campaign. Johnson observed that Ron Kaufman is a lobbyist and is a Senior Adviser to the Romney Campaign. Romney defended his point, not contesting that Kaufman was a lobbyist (he undeniably is) but saying that if Johnson had listened he said that there were no lobbyists "running" his campaign, citing his campaign manager and deputy campaign managers were not lobbyists. Romney later continued the confrontation and his staffers told Johnson that he should "Be Professional".

And they're right, Romney was mid-sentence when he was interrupted saying, "I don't have lobbyists tied to my..." and there are any innumerable ways that sentence could end.

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Media Matters, Columbia Journalism Review Slam Washington Post

Yesterday, as we all know, the Washington Post saw fit to elevate a whisper campaign to the front page of the newspaper.  The Post quoted extensively from charges about Obama's background without bothering to call them false or to refute them.

CBS featured the Post article on its website with the headline "Obama Dogged by Muslim Rumors."  As Greg Sargent put it:

Look -- Obama is not"dogged by Muslim rumors." He is the victim of a smear campaign based on lies. These two things are not the same. And incidentally, to whatever extent Obama is "dogged" by these rumors, surely this will only be facilitated when news orgs like WaPo fail to make a serious effort to knock them down before printing them.

The Washington Post tried to defend itself yesterday.  The author, Perry Bacon, sent out this email:

I thought the facts that 1. these falsehoods persist and 2. Obama make mentions of his time living in a Muslim country on the campaign trail as part of his foreign policy were both worth remarking. I think the story makes clear, including in the candidate's own words, he is a Christian.

This is precisely the problem.  Nowhere in the Washington Post story, of course, are these stories called false. 

The Post quotes the "candidate's own words" and nothing but the candidate's own words.  It does absolutely no reporting as to whether one side or the other is speaking the truth, even implying through its quoting of multiple sources of the smear that the charge has some basis.  And the Post calls Obama's words "denials," as Steve Benen puts it, "as if the attacks might have some merit."

Second, Bacon essentially blames Obama for the smear campaign against him, citing Obama's mentions of his childhood in Indonesia, as if they provoked and justified the response.

The Columbia Journalism Review slammed the article last night, calling it "the single worst campaign ‘08 piece to appear in any American newspaper so far this election cycle." 

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