What a pleasant surprise to have another mainstream journalist receive this week’s HWA. Regular TSM readers know that I have little patience for the pablum and apologetics that most networks peddle as news, straining so hard to be “fair” that they invite lunatics and hatemongers to “balance” facts. Lately, however, the media seem to have realized their jobs again, from the many news outlets actually calling out Ryan and Romney for their outright falsehoods to Soledad O’Brien‘s recent refusals to let her interviewees get away with bending the truth.
This week it was MSNBC’s Chris Matthews who stood up to the Republican deception and obfuscation engine. In an on-air conversation with Prince of Darkness, oops! RNC Chair Reince Priebus, Matthews interrupted him to call out his party’s race baiting. Referring to Mitt Romney’s wink-and-nod birtherism during a speech in Michigan, Matthews said,
That cheap shot about “I don’t have a problem with my birth certificate” was awful. You are playing that little ethnic card there. You can play your games and giggle about it, but the fact is your side is playing that card.
Priebus quickly became defensive and tried to move on. When he accused the President of “European” policies — a standard GOP talking point to make Obama seem foreign — Matthews stopped him cold.
You mean the fact that every president we’ve had has tried to offset the economic cycle with stimulus going the other direction is somehow European? […] What does that have to do with Europe and this foreignization of the government? You’re doing it now. Saying that he’s influenced by foreign influences.
After a heated exchange, the interview ended. Priebus later accused Matthews of being an Obama mouthpiece and — ironically — of being “the biggest jerk in the room.” He’s tried hard to paint Matthews as a fool and a bully, not realizing that his rubber and glue game isn’t working. Matthews, in turn, stands by his words.
There come times when the passion should be reflective in the tone. There are a couple issues like peace and war, and race relations — this is, deeply, not something we should be revisiting in the 21st century. It isn’t even covert any more, its overt. Race is the San Andreas Fault in this country, and this is dividing this country along racial lines.
So true, Mr. Matthews. So sadly true. Thank you for calling it out and for refusing to apologize for simply doing your job.