September 19, 2015

Chris Matthews has been doing this for at least a decade now, so I guess it should come as no surprise that he's still trying to pretend that he was some outspoken critic of the invasion of Iraq during his television appearances on MSNBC.

Matthews was a guest on this Friday's Real Time With Bill Maher, and during the Overtime segment which airs on You Tube following the show, Matthews once again claimed that he was an outspoken critic of the invasion of Iraq from the beginning and got downright hostile with Univision's Jorge Ramos when he suggested that the media fell down on the job when it came to challenging the Bush administration -- which they did and is the understatement of the year when it comes to the propaganda the country was subjected to when they lied us into invading that country.

While discussing the election of the U.K. Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn and his statement that they should apologize for the invasion of Iraq, Maher asked his panel whether the United States should apologize as well. Here's the exchange that followed where Matthews attacked Ramos and would barely let him get a word in:

RAMOS: It was clearly a mistake. We made a huge mistake and as journalists, I think it is also part of our responsibility. We were silent we didn't challenge...

MATTHEWS: No. That's not true.

RAMOS: We didn't challenge George W. Bush and we didn't...

MATTHEWS: Keep that “we” to yourself.

RAMOS: No, no, no.

MATTHEWS: No, keep that “we” to yourself. I opposed the war. The we doesn't work here.

RAMOS: The fact is that as journalists...

MATTHEWS: No! No! No. No. (crosstalk) I opposed the war in every column I wrote and every time I was on television.

MAHER: I did too.

RAMOS: I'm sure you did.

MATTHEWS: You're wrong.

MAHER: And Michael Moore got up at the Oscars.

MATTHEWS: What do you mean, you're sure I did? Don't be condescending. We were against the war.

RAMOS: But what I'm saying is that as journalists

MAHER: You don't like this guy. (crosstalk)

RAMOS: As journalists we should have done much better...


RAMOS: … challenging the Bush administration.

MATTHEWS: But we did challenge it.

Maher told Ramos he should not be lumping all of them in together, which is fair generally, but not in Chris Matthews' case. We've discussed this here before. I don't care if he wrote some op-eds opposing the war in the run up, as has been documented over and over again, his behavior on the air following that was not so noble.

This is the guy who helped get Phil Donahue, the one vocal opponent of the invasion on his network, kicked off the air. Here's our post from a few years ago, where BuzzFeed dug up some old footage of the two of them arguing: Chris Matthews Vs Phil Donahue On Iraq Invasion. Here's what I quoted from Digby at the time:

Did Chris Matthews bravely stand against the war?:

With all the memories floating around about the start of the Iraq war ten years ago, I think the thing that surprises me the most is the idea that Chris Matthews was some kind of stalwart opponent of the war who stood up bravely against the establishment. While it's true that he wrote a column (maybe two) in which he expressed opposition, what he portrayed on TV was something entirely different. Indeed, I thought it was well known that he was extremely nervous about being perceived as anti-war, so much so that he endorsed the firing of Phil Donohue:


I think what people misunderstand about that is not that he was personally for the war, but rather that he was a careerist who didn't want to endanger his very lucrative gig.

Back before I was blogging I used to hang out on various message boards and one of them was Bartcop, who is still around. So did other early bloggers like Atrios and Avedon Carol. Anyway, I kept this post from a prolific commenter named Samela, whose insights I often quoted on this blog in the early years. This is from December of 2002, when she attended a small gathering at which Matthews and his wife spoke:


So, you know, it's nice that Matthews said privately and in his newspaper column that he was against the war. But on his TV show he was helping the right wingers because that's who he perceived his audience to be.

Here's more from Media Matters back in 2006: Matthews claimed he has opposed Iraq war "from the beginning," that media coverage of war "sucks" -- but he has frequently contributed to problematic war reporting:

Chris Matthews complained that the news media "sucks lately in covering the Iraq war," later asserting, "I have been a voice out there against this bullshit war from the beginning." But Media Matters has documented numerous instances during the past three years in which Matthews lauded President Bush's handling of the war, advanced false and misleading claims about the war, and attacked Democratic critics of the war.

On the September 21 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, Hardball host Chris Matthews complained that the news media "sucks lately in covering the Iraq war," later asserting, "I have been a voice out there against this bullshit war from the beginning." Matthews further challenged host Don Imus to "check everything -- get your Nexis-Lexis out, get your Google out ... every column I've written from the day they started talking about Iraq has been against it."

However, Media Matters for America has documented numerous instances during the past three years in which Matthews lauded President Bush's handling of the war, advanced false and misleading claims about the war, and attacked Democratic critics of the war. Matthews has also repeatedly expressed support in recent months for two potential 2008 Republican presidential candidates, Sen. John R. McCain (AZ) and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, each of whom has been supportive of the war and Bush.

In fact, as recently as September 19, Matthews wondered "whether there is a strong, serious alternative to the president's philosophy, which is this sort of neoconservative, we're going to go around the world and democratize other countries with force. I don't know whether there's a strong counter to that at a time of terrorism, and I'm waiting to see if there is one, a strong alternative which says, 'We can create peace, create less enemies, and we can have less terrorism if we do a different thing than he's doing.' "

Go read the rest for their list of some of Matthews' greatest hits. The post debunks his claim that he was always vocal about his opposition to the war during his television show. As most of us know here, he had his finger up in the air to see which way the wind was blowing, whatever his personal views might have been.

And let's not forget his praise of George W. Bush looking so manly in that codpiece. From Digby in 2007: It Comes Faster Every Year:

Happy Codpiece Day!

It seems like only yesterday that the country was enthralled with the president in his sexy flightsuit. Women were swooning, manly GOP men were commenting enviously on his package. But there were none so awestruck by the sheer, testosterone glory of Bush's codpiece as Tweety:

MATTHEWS: Let's go to this sub--what happened to this week, which was to me was astounding as a student of politics, like all of us. Lights, camera, action. This week the president landed the best photo op in a very long time. Other great visuals: Ronald Reagan at the D-Day cemetery in Normandy, Bill Clinton on horseback in Wyoming. Nothing compared to this, I've got to say.

Katty, for visual, the president of the United States arriving in an F-18, looking like he flew it in himself. The GIs, the women on--onboard that ship loved this guy.

Ms. KAY: He looked great. Look, I'm not a Bush man. I mean, he doesn't do it for me personally, especially not when he's in a suit, but he arrived there...

MATTHEWS: No one would call you a Bush man, by the way.

Ms. KAY: ...he arrived there in his flight suit, in a jumpsuit. He should wear that all the time. Why doesn't he do all his campaign speeches in that jumpsuit? He just looks so great.

MATTHEWS: I want him to wa--I want to see him debate somebody like John Kerry or Lieberman or somebody wearing that jumpsuit.

Mr. DOBBS: Well, it was just--I can't think of any, any stunt by the White House--and I'll call it a stunt--that has come close. I mean, this is not only a home run; the ball is still flying out beyond the park.

MATTHEWS: Well, you know what, it was like throwing that strike in Yankee Stadium a while back after 9/11. It's not a stunt if it works and it's real. And I felt the faces of those guys--I thought most of our guys were looking up like they were looking at Bob Hope and John Wayne combined on that ship.

Mr. GIGOT: The reason it works is because of--the reason it works is because Bush looks authentic and he felt that he--you could feel the connection with the troops. He looked like he was sincere. People trust him. That's what he has going for him.

MATTHEWS: Fareed, you're watching that from--say you were over in the Middle East watching the president of the United States on this humongous aircraft carrier. It looks like it could take down Syria just one boat, right, and the president of the United States is pointing a finger and saying, `You people with the weapons of mass destruction, you people backing terrorism, look out. We're coming.' Do you think that picture mattered over there?

Mr. ZAKARIA: Oh yeah. Look, this is a part of the war where we have not--we've allowed a lot of states to do some very nasty stuff, traffic with nasty people and nasty material, and I think it's time to tell them, you know what, `You're going to be help accountable for this.'

MATTHEWS: Well, it was a powerful statement and picture as well.

Two weeks later, They were still talking about it:

MATTHEWS: What do you make of this broadside against the USS Abraham Lincoln and its chief visitor last week?

LIDDY: Well, I-- in the first place, I think it's envy. I mean, after all, Al Gore had to go get some woman to tell him how to be a man [Official Naomi Wolf Spin-Point]. And here comes George Bush. You know, he's in his flight suit, he's striding across the deck, and he's wearing his parachute harness, you know --- and I've worn those because I parachute --- and it makes the best of his manly characteristic. You go run those, run that stuff again of him walking across there with the parachute. He has just won every woman's vote in the United States of America. You know, all those women who say size doesn't count --- they're all liars. Check that out. I hope the Democrats keep ratting on him and all of this stuff so that they keep showing that tape.

"You know, it's funny. I shouldn't talk about ratings," he [Matthews] said, also gazing at Bush's crotch. "But last night was a riot because ... these pictures were showing last night, and everybody's tuning in to see these pictures again."

And they wonder why we no longer take them seriously.

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