We had a different reaction: We were struck by several things Chris Hayes said on last night's All In.
For starters, we were struck by this:
HAYES (5/16/13): Let’s talk about Benghazi first. Here is my take on Benghazi. It is what we like to call in the business a nothing-burger. There is nothing there.We were struck by this airy dismissal because we remembered Hayes’ original take on this topic. Last October, he wolfed that nothing-burger down, complete with all the condiments.
Everybody makes mistakes. Hayes’ mistake concerning Benghazi came with the cheese and the onions:
HAYES (10/13/12): The attack continues to be a political issue because it is now clear to just about everyone that the story that we heard, the American people, in wake of the attack, was simply not accurate.One month after the killing attack, Hayes had completely purchased the Fox line on the topic.
We were told, we all read the reports and the government was saying this was in response to the video and now, it’s just clear that it wasn’t in response to the video. In fact, it was a pretty well premeditated plan. I’ve read some reports that say 100 men overran the embassy with guns. I mean, this was a militarized attack.
The question is, why the gap? Why did the people who should have known not know?
One week later, he took it all back. But good lord! Before seeing this as a nothing-burger, Hayes got massively conned. Fox served him his burger with fries.
Everybody makes mistakes! That said, we were even less impressed by the next part of Hayes’ statement last night:
HAYES (5/16/13): Let’s talk about Benghazi first. Here is my take on Benghazi. It is what we like to call in the business a nothing-burger. There is nothing there. And I think the—We’re glad that Hayes enjoyed Wednesday night’s Hardball. We had a very different reaction to that horrible program.
Well OK, here’s 91 percent of very conservative self-identified Americans say it is worse than Watergate.
Howard, you were sitting at Chris Matthews’ table yesterday in what was my favorite, probably my favorite ten minutes of television all week, and I’m not saying that facetiously, which was you and David Corn and Michael Isikoff and Chris with papers spread out before you reading e-mails, looking for nuggets. But do you agree there is nothing here?
Simply put, Matthews was off his meds Wednesday night. One hundred pages of e-mails had just been released, and Christopher Matthews was badly in need of a calming injection.
Like his pal Maureen Dowd before him, Matthews seemed to have reverted to the bad old days of the Clinton Rules, in which he spent many years attacking both Clintons, then Gore.
As he started Wednesday’s program, Matthews seemed to see acts of deception under every bed. In his program’s opening minutes, he threw this pile of paranoia at poor Alex Wagner:
MATTHEWS (5/15/13): The weird thing here, Alex—and I know you look at politics the way I look at it—the weird thing is the absence of the main players. Where was the president when Susan Rice went on Meet the Press? Did he call her up afterwards and say, “Good work, you covered my butt, you did a great job today?” Did he talk to her before the performance?This was the same under-medicated fellow who spent twenty months smut-talking Candidate Gore, then smut-talked Hillary Clinton right through the spring of 2008.
This was her audition to be secretary of state—of course, with Valerie helping her and Michelle Obama rooting for her and everybody rooting for her on that side of the White House. And they act like they had nothing to do with it!
Where was Hillary Clinton in prepping her for that? What is this "the leadership," this weird, spooky language about who approved or didn’t approve the talking points, the leadership in the building, the “building leadership.” What kind of talk is that? Why don’t they say “the secretary of state” if they mean that? If not, why didn’t they use a term to suggest that?
And also, what role did Hillary Clinton play in all this? We found out she was on the phone to Benghazi hours after the attack, and she never said so. It’s all this stepping back. Where was Tom Donilon, the national security adviser? All these principals have stepped into the darkness, and that’s why we’re reaching around like blind people trying to find out what happened with all these nobody staffers that nobody cares about being brought. Now we’re looking at their e-mails! How about bringing the bosses in?
This president has faded into the woodwork, along with his top people, it looks to me, for their convenience.
No tape of this segment is available. To read the full transcript, click here.
In recent years, it seemed that Matthews had been repurposed through trips to re-education camp. But on Wednesday night, an earlier version of the man seemed to be on the air.
Matthews seemed full of paranoia. As usual, he also seemed to be light on his basic facts. Later in the 5 PM hour, the unprepared fellow asked this:
MATTHEWS (5/15/13): OK, let’s take a middle case. They didn’t want to mention al Qaeda. They didn’t want to mention the previous attacks. But why did they continue to say through the mouth of Susan Rice on Meet the Press that it was basically a demonstration that evolved into a terrorist attack, or into an attack? Why are they still trying to play down it was terrorism?Matthews still seemed to think that Rice had only appeared on Meet the Press. Beyond that, he didn’t know why “they” had continued to say, through her mouth, “that it was basically a demonstration that evolved into an attack.”
The previous Friday, that question had been answered. As usual, Matthews showed no sign of knowing this.
Why did Rice say a spontaneous demonstration occurred in reaction to the protest in Cairo? Duh! Because that’s what the CIA said it believed, right from its first proposed talking points forward.
Five days after that fact became clear, Matthews still didn’t seem to know it. And we’ll have to say that his younger sidekicks didn’t rush to tell him.
Being “in the business” and all, Hayes enjoyed that program. We didn’t enjoy the return of the ranting Matthew from the very bad old days when a whole lot people like Hayes purchased a whole string of burgers.
But then, we’ve told you the truth about Matthews’ work since Day One. On The One True Liberal Channel, the young TV stars never will.
In search of the missing tapes: Tapes of Hardball’s 5 PM hour are largely AWOL at the show’s site. To watch Matthews rant at Peter Alexander about the scrubbing of Ansar al-Sharia, just click here.
Matthews didn’t know that the original cite of Ansar al-Sharia was sourced to “initial press reporting.” In typical fashion, Alexander didn’t tell him.
Gaze on the miracle of your press corps! Five days later, no one had noticed how crazy that sourcing was.
To read the full transcript, click this. Not being in the business ourselves, we’d call this program very bad—a nasty reminder of the years that were governed by Clinton Rules.