To want to be on television requires an odd blend of hubris, drive and insecurity. The industry itself feeds into that seemingly contradictory concoction and exacerbates it the more successful you become. Some television news figures can hide it better than others from the camera. Chris Matthews quite clearly cannot:
What do you want in a newscaster? Accuracy? Ethics? A voice of reason in times of duress?
Or do you just want to like your anchor?
If the last part is most important to you, then channel-surf no further than Scott Pelley of the “CBS Evening News.” The newsman topped TheWrap‘s list of most and least-liked newscasters, based on survey results from the Q Scores company.
Pelley's 19 Positive Q Score, which measures likeability, helped him just beat the No. 2 guy, CNN's Anderson Cooper, who had an 18. Cooper's 56 Recognizability score places him among the highest on this list.
“Hardball” host Chris Matthews struck out with the lowest likeability score of all.
To create Q Scores, executive vice president Henry Schafer and his team provides a personality's name and a brief description to more than 1,800 viewers. The viewers are asked if they recognize the person, and how they feel about him or her.
Matthews' "Q" score was just 6, putting him behind the Fox News gang (although they still scored below average) and his colleague Andrea Mitchell.
To be fair to Tweety, there's no political breakdown of the questionees. Matthews has been taking a fairly serious drubbing in the conservative/tea party media for saying that the tea party is racist, which given their proclivity for signs depicting President Obama as a witch doctor, shouldn't be that controversial. It's entirely possible that his likability has been damaged for that, although no Fox News personality scores above average, which would argue against partisanship.
The other possibility is that being the anchor on the lowest rated news channel that isn't even offered as a choice in many areas where you'll see television news playing (my gym offers Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN, but no MSNBC; the pizza place down the street plays ESPN and Fox News) has left many viewers unsure who Matthews is. Certainly, the students of Ohio State were less-than-impressed when they discovered Matthews would be their commencement speaker:
News that Matthews will speak hasn’t been well-received among students, said Taylor Stepp, president of the undergraduate student government. Complaints about Matthews’s liberal views are common, Stepp said, but students are equally upset that the university didn’t draw a bigger name.
“The response from students is simply that we don’t know who this guy is, we don’t care about this guy,” Stepp said. “And the fact that Mr. Matthews obviously has a very liberal leaning and he’s not even a public official was irksome to me.”