How to treat liberals like fools: For our money, Rachel Maddow’s opening segment last night was just appallingly bad.
That said, Chris and Lawrence were even worse in their discussions of the possible coverage of Candidate Hillary Clinton. Each was assisted by a gaggle of corporate cable stooges.
At issue was a directive from a private group about potential sexist coverage of Clinton. On Hardball and on The Last Word, panels of pundits rolled their eyes at the amateurish directive.
The irony was especially strong on Hardball. This is the way the loathsome Matthews started the discussion, helped along by the repellent Ruth Marcus:
MATTHEWS (3/30/15): Let’s get to the hottest stuff, Ruth. This is something that I want you to start with because this is a wildfire, potentially.On and on—and on and on—these relentless cable hacks went.
A group of Hillary Clinton supporters, not associated with her, calling itself the HRC Supervolunteers, is out with a list of 13 words—reminds me of George Carlin—and phrases that they say are sexist if anyone uses them to describe Hillary Clinton.
Now, these are the list. I want you to jump on these. I want to take each one at a time.
Is the word “polarizing” sexist?
MATTHEWS: OK. And by the way, jump in here—
MARCUS: I like being the ruler here.
MATTHEWS: Well, I’ve only got one woman here.
FINEMAN: Go ahead.
MATTHEWS: OK. Entitled?
MATTHEWS: Possibly what?
MARCUS: Possibly she is overconfident.
MATTHEWS: But is it sexist?
MARCUS: It has nothing to do with gender.
MATTHEWS: None of these sexist so far! Secretive?
MARCUS: True, and not gender-related.
Will Hillary Clinton face sexist coverage in the upcoming campaign? We have no idea. Truth to tell, there was no particular reason to discuss the press release by the unaffiliated, amateurish advocacy group.
That said, all the pundits, Marcus included, understood that Matthews trashed Clinton for many years, in openly misogynistic ways, from the late 1990s right through the 2008 campaign.
He was hardly alone at MSNBC. In 2008, Keith Olbermann had to apologize on the air for one especially egregious suggestion.
By 2008, Matthews’ conduct bad been so egregious, for so many years, that it finally got profiled by the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz. The man was an undisguished, decade-long cesspool of misogyny and loathing.
A person like Marcus won’t tell you that. Instead, she will simper on command.
She’ll happily tell you the words which aren’t sexist. She will be careful not to recall what Matthews used to call Clinton.
Over on The Last Word, Lawrence’s childish cable stars were every bit as bad, Josh Barro almost excepted. All his panelists understand the history of the channel’s stars. They also know that, above all else, they mustn’t tell you the truth.
Will Hillary Clinton face sexist coverage? By June 2008, Maureen Dowd’s conduct had been so bad that she was savaged for her misogyny by Clark Hoyt, the New York Times public editor. Matthews’ insults down through the years couldn’t have been more clear.
This is the history of the topic the stooges pretended to analyze. On both programs, they knew the rules—they are the children, and children must always keep their pretty traps shuts.
To watch Lawrence’s segment, just click here. For the clowning on Hardball, click this.
You’ll be watching two gaggles of stooges. They all understand their top assignment:
They must cover for their hosts. They must never tell you the truth.
Barely scratching the surface: Kurtz profiled Matthews' long-standing attacks on the “witchy” woman he called “Nurse Ratched” in February 2008.
This was part of his profile. It barely scratched the surface:
KURTZ (2/14/08): [T]he Hardball host has been particularly hard on the former first lady, to the point where some of her advisers have glared at him at parties. And there is a history here. In 1999, amid speculation that Clinton might seek a Senate seat in New York, Matthews told viewers: “No man would say, ‘Make me a U.S. senator because my wife's been cheating on me.’ ”Kurtz was barely scratching the surface. Indeed, Matthews had been comparing Clinton to Evita Peron at least since 1999, when his coverage of senate Candidate Clinton sometimes crossed over the line to the realm of the deranged.
The following year, he said: “Hillary Clinton bugs a lot of guys, I mean, really bugs people—like maybe me on occasion. . . . She drives some of us absolutely nuts.”
In 2005, when Clinton criticized the administration on homeland security the day after terrorist bombings in London, Matthews said: “It's a fact: You look more witchy when you're doing it like this.”
In recent weeks, he has asked whether Clinton's criticism of Obama makes her “look like Nurse Ratched.” He has said that “Hillary's loyal lieutenants are ready to scratch the eyes out of the opposition” and likened her to Evita Peron, “the one who gives gifts to the little people, and then they come and bring me flowers and they worship at me because I am the great Evita.”
It was against that backdrop that Matthews sparked a furor last month when he said: “I'll be brutal: The reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner, is her husband messed around.”
In fairness, he did that on behalf of Saint Rudy. So at least in 1999 and 2000, he had a very good cause!
Last night, Matthews' guests all knew this history. They also knew that, above all else, they must never tell.