Women’s Group Calls for Hairball Host’s Head

Contributor to domestic violence?

It might be a bit of a delayed reaction, but a group called the New Agenda has had it with Chris Matthews, host of the show, “Hairball with Chris Matthews.” Their statement of Matthews’ sins is a little vague, which makes me wonder if it isn’t really all about Hillary.

Amy Siskind of Westchester, N.Y., a founder and Clinton supporter, said the group was urging that Matthews’ contract not be renewed because “the kind of language he uses and the kind of behavior he exhibits in the public domain toward women objectifies them and leads to bad things for our society and to domestic violence.”

I’m not sure being a boorish clod leads directly to domestic violence among the masses, but I think Matthews could stand to tone it down a little. Of course, I guess it wouldn’t be “hardball” if he did.

In 2007, Matthews was talking on the air with Erin Burnett, a CNBC business news anchor, when he asked her to lean into the camera. “Come in closer — really close,” he told a flustered Burnett. He then laughed and said: “Just kidding. You look great…You’re a knockout.”

In January, Matthews apologized on the air for a comment he had made about Clinton’s political achievements. He said she owed her Senate seat and presidential bid to the fact that her husband had “messed around.”



  • nikolai
    August 14, 2008 - 2:05 pm | Permalink

    As far as Burnett goes, Matthews is just a dopey dork with a bad sense of humor. I don’t believe he was TRYING to be a sexist pig, but still, he had better behave as the rest of us must in the business environment and cut the sexist remarks.

    As far as the Hillary remarks, THAT was unacceptable! Hillary had a political edge because she was first lady for 8 years, but not because of Bill’s BJ. That probably HURT her more than anything, and Matthews showed his lack of common sense in saying this. (And we’re supposed to listen to this guy politically???) I’d say an apology was in order alright.

  • CC
    August 15, 2008 - 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Whether or not you agree, a lot of people think that but for her husband’s sexual misbehavior, and impeachment, Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have a political career at all. I understand that it makes you mad, but until the second amendment is repealed, he’s allowed to say it. BTW, he did apologize, and it happened over a year ago. Now he has pneumonia, and these people choose a moment when he has pneumonia to try to push him out of his job. What do you suppose that’s about?

  • August 15, 2008 - 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure you mean the First Amendment.

    An equally credible hypothetical could be made that if Bill Clinton hadn’t been persecuted by Republican hacks, Hillary would be the Democratic nominee right now.

    I’ve been watching Hardball since the Clinton era, and my take is Chris is very old school in his way of thinking about women. He objectifies younger women he finds attractive but he also genuinely respects some women whom he recognizes as his peers — Andrea Mitchell, for example. Part of it seems to be that he comes from a conservative background but somehow, even though he’s run around in Democratic circles all his life, he’s avoided challenging himself about his ingrained attitudes toward women until now, when he’s what?, pushing 60.

    But I don’t think Chris’ animus to Hillary is based completely on sexism. Like Maureen Dowd, his obsession with both Clintons is way out of scale to their newsworthiness. He does a segment on them every day, whether they’ve done anything that warrants discussion or not. A couple of weeks ago, Chris trashed Bill for staying out of the news!

    I sometimes wonder if it’s an Irish thing — that Bill’s a Protestant and Chris and MoDo are Catholic? Lordy. More likely, they see Bill as a climber and feel he doesn’t deserve his success. It must gall them to know he’ll be remembered as a successful president, the impeachment notwithstanding, long after they’ve been forgotten.

    What we know for sure is that Chris is an extremely poor judge of character. In particular, he’s had deep, blinding man crushes on both Bush and McCain.

    I’ll leave you with my favorite Chris Matthews’ peroration. This is from May 1, 2003, “Mission Accomplished” day, when Chris, like most of the media, swooned over Bush’s stunt of riding a fighter jet onto the deck of the Abraham Lincoln:

    MATTHEWS: We’re proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who’s physical, who’s not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who’s president. Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president.

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