Following up on my post from last week with Phil Donahue discussing being fired from MSNBC for his anti-war stance, Buzzfeed came across this segment from Donahue's show, pre-Iraq war, with Donahue and Matthews going at it over Donahue's criticism of the Bush administration and the war drums being beaten during the run up to our invasion.
The HuffPost Live interview featured an old snippet from a very tense episode of Donahue's MSNBC show where he and Chris Matthews duked it out over the Iraq War. Matthews went so far as to accuse Donahue of "being negative" which Mathews found to be a "problem." A quick search on YouTube found the full Donahue segment. It should be required viewing for all media junkies:
Here's more as well from Digby on the same topic: 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:
Go read the whole account in her column, but here's how she summed up the gist of it:
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.
That's painfully obvious in the clip above. Buzzfeed has the very end of the interview posted as well as an interview Donahue did with the Huffington Post talking about his time at MSNBC.
UPDATE: MSNBC reaired their documentary special Hubris: Selling the Iraq War on Friday evening, followed up by a panel discussion in the next hour which included Chris Matthews.
Chris Hayes actually brings up his network firing Phil Donahue in the second segment, but Matthews gets a huge pass during both for how he handled himself on the air.