I have tried my best not to look at the television today. Last night was just so infuriating. The celebratory champagne-uncorking of MSNBC pundits over their chosen candidate, Joe Biden, finally, finally winning a primary, was just revolting. Above you can see the facial expressions that characterized the coverage when Bernie won.
I was, however, pleased to see that Chris Matthews was not included in the coverage last night. I thought that perhaps (oh how naïve I am) that Matthews had been left out because of his outrageous attacks on Bernie Sanders. But, evidently, even though similar attacks were enough to get the pundit Jason Johnson fired, they were not enough to get the serial offender Chris Matthews fired. This is a true tragedy for all of us.
Matthews managed to escape being called to task over 1) likening Bernie’s win in Nevada to the Nazis invading France, 2) saying that Bernie would happily preside over Matthews being shot in Times Square, and 3) that Bernie would be the last person to stop and help if you were stranded on the side of the road. But, he has been removed from the air temporarily because he has been accused of inappropriate behavior with yet another woman.
According to the Hill, GQ columnist Laura Bassett accused Matthews of sexual harassment. In an opinion piece published Friday, Bassett claimed that Matthews told a network makeup artist to “keep putting makeup on her” and asked “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?”
Bassett evidently wrote about the behavior, which occurred four years ago, previously but wasn’t confident enough to mention Matthews’ name. She said, however, that a number of women knew immediately who she was talking about.
“In 2016, right before I had to go on his show and talk about sexual-assault allegations against Donald Trump, Matthews looked over at me in the makeup chair next to him and said, ‘Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet,’” Bassett wrote. “When I laughed nervously and said nothing, he followed up to the makeup artist. ‘Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.”
“Another time, he stood between me and the mirror and complimented the red dress I was wearing for the segment. ‘You going out tonight?’ he asked. I said I didn’t know, and he said — again to the makeup artist — ‘Make sure you wipe this off her face after the show. We don’t make her up so some guy at a bar can look at her like this,’” Bassett also wrote.
Any woman who has even casually watched Matthews’ show recognizes this behavior. I try to avoid Matthews, but I can remember him conducting a weird voyeuristic and coercive direction of the camera on a woman one night. He kept telling the cameraman to come in closer and closer on the woman’s face. This started while the woman was talking. He finally made it into some joke, like they all do, but it was creepy, just creepy, disrespectful and juvenile.
According to Antony Leonardi and Mike Brest in the Examiner (2/2920), Matthews:
- has been known to “rate female guests on a numerical scale based on appearance;
- has been reprimanded for comments directed to a subordinate that led to a separation-related payment;
- was caught on camera joking about a “Bill cosby pill” which was a reference to a date rape drug.
Matthews also referred to Sarah Palin and Salley Yates as “attractive.”
At this point in time, I don’t particularly care what’s gotten him off the air. I’m just grateful, but his behavior especially towards Sanders is just part of a larger network wide attempt to destroy one of the candidates for the Democratic nomination.
Also participating in this campaign have been Chuck Todd, Brian Williams, Nicolle Wallace, Joy Reid (who has been carrying this on since at least 2016) and now Rachael Maddow who participated in the general laughter of the panel when Brian Williams mocked the Sanders campaign last night. All of these people are complicit. Chris Hayes and Maddow have for the most part stayed out of the overt attacks indulged in by the likes of Joy Reid, but Maddow, as I said joined in the contempt for Sanders expressed by the panel last night and Chris Hayes has spent time repeating every negative trope about Sanders saying that this is what “people are saying.” People may be saying a lot of things but that doesn’t mean you have to repeat them on your television program.
But, I have no doubt that Chris Matthews will be at it again tomorrow night. He will perhaps apologize AGAIN, for his behavior, but I doubt they will fire him.
MSNBC has shown its true colors since Bernie Sanders demonstrated he was a viable candidate. The anchors mentioned above plus innumerable guests have slandered, mocked, distorted, ridiculed and generally propagandized in an effort to destroy Sanders’ campaign.
I am 69 years old and I have never, ever seen an entire news network participate in such an overt effort to distort the political process. If we survive as a democratic country, something I rather doubt at this point, this course of coverage engaged in by MSNBC will be studied and written about as a deplorable exercise in media interference in an election.