Monday, June 25, 2012

Trouble with Matthews - Those Blind Spots

Chris Matthews can be amusing or frustrating to watch on TV. Sometimes it can be a matter of your or his politics. And sometimes it can be how seriously he's taking the job.

I have been seeing him on the TV since the days of Clinton, and what you get from him will vary. Some days it is silly season, with everything a joke or a laugh (When he was covering talk of Al Gore's "exaggerations" during the '00 campaign, he'd just get giddy.). Or, he can get reverential, which we've seen a bit with Obama or GW Bush, and a hell of a lot with talk of Kennedy or Tip O'Neill. Or the Odd Guy, obsessed with minutia, like how you say Dick Cheney's name. Then you get Mr. Serious, who won't take answer as given and will keep pushing. It is a mixed bag.

But he's done good in his time, chased after liars and blowhards.

But he's also been inured of them at certain times, and been them at others. Eh. I hate to go be critical of him, seeing as the Right Wing love to skewer him so...But they skewer everyone not on the payroll.

An issue I do have with Matthews is his obliviousness at time. He loves to act the role of Know It All, he's been there, seen that. But he hasn't really. He is so often clueless about topics.

I remember when he was explaining to us all how Hispanics were natural Republicans, what with their inclination to open bodegas. (Yeah, I know some Hispanics that opened "bodegas", and I know some that are bankers, professors, school teachers, and doctors. It's a sad lack of understanding of Hispanics or the difference between Dems and Reps.) I also remember a time, years back, when he lectured a guest on how Planned Parenthood was mostly about abortion. The man talks piffle.

But that can be true of many of us. What I have a hard time forgiving a journalist is how he chooses to be oblivious to his own past actions and their repercussions. He just reworks it all into a new narrative to his liking.

In talking recently about the Catholic Church, Sandusky, and child abuse (I caught a discussion of this on the June 22nd, The Jimmy Dore Show), he remarked that people had no idea what was really going on all these years because the press didn't use visceral language about sex abuse. If only journalist had used graphic language, people would have acted...really. It is pathetic. "Someone said a priest abused a kid." "Abuse? That is meaningless to me. Go away, you've given me a headache." He doesn't want to admit to himself that HE was silent as he heard the stories of abuse. He was a part of this press all this time, and he did act.

But an even better example of this denial can be seen in him talking about the Iraq War, which apparently to him occurred in the Age of Elves. (Again, I caught this thanks to The Jimmy Dore Show on June 1. Starts at about 32 minutes, 20 seconds.) At a media event he began explaining how we got into the war, how those journalism failed us then, and how the business was wildly different today. Now, you might think this is about how we have blogs and twitter now...No. It is because NOW we have 24-hour cable news. Yeah. The big invention of this decade.

Really! For Matthews the Iraq War was sold to the American people because people relied on TV networks (ABC, NBC, CBS), back in the day (2003). And those journalist didn't do the hard work, ask the hard questions, challenge authority. So, we went to war.

But NOW it's different, cable news is a new beast. 24 hour coverage, going in depth, asking hard questions...Has he seen cable news, ever? Has he seen his own show? (Oh, ye gods, I could go on a tirade about the failure of the 24-hour news scheme.)

But, you may ask, what was Chris Matthews doing in 2003? He wasn't born yesterday, was he?! No. At the time he was, gasp, hosting a cable news show (and hosting another syndicated one, that covered the build up to and start of and end of the Iraq War. He was on a cable news show the whole time. Imagine that.

We must obviously think then that he chased these stories down, right? He fought that noble fight, right?

No. He did the opposite. He attacked people doubting the "evidence." He mocked the antiwar groups. He called the lot kooks and losers. And, he praised GW Bush for his leadership.

At with that, cable news failed, in reality...Uh, no. There actually was one, top rated, show chasing these hard questions down, the Phil Donahue Show on MSNBC (Matthews may be familiar with the network.). It got cancelled for asking those hard questions. Who helped get it cancelled? Chris Matthews, who didn't care for the trouble maker.

That is damn pathetic.

So, now, years on, he ponders. What happen? Why weren't people like him there to act. He ponders why those people listened to GW Bush, an idiot. He ponders why those people were not willing to be critical and ask questions.

He wonders why he failed at his fucking occupation.

But he can't admit to this. So he escapes into a reworked fantasy history.

I almost been sorry.

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