Friday, May 16, 2008

It's All Over But the Shoutin': Chris Matthews Bitch-Slaps a Right-Wing Blowhard Giving Talking Head

Sit back, relax, and watch Chris Matthews bitch-slap right-wing-nut Kevin James on MSNBC's Hardball, even as James tries to hysterically scream his way out of his own ignorance:

As Alex Koppelman gleefully observes in,

"How much you enjoy watching Chris Matthews sadistically twist the knife into the body of an unprepared political operative probably depends on whether it's your ox that is getting gored or not. But the performance on Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "Hardball" in which Matthews made right wing radio host Kevin James drown in a puddle of his own babbling ignorance was something special."

Koppelman goes on to add: "It gradually became clear, as the two men shouted at each other, that not only did James not have a clue as to what Neville Chamberlain may or may not have done, but it's not all that obvious that he even knew what the word "appeaser" means...Finally, Matthews declared: "You don't know what you're talking about, Kevin," and after a little more back and forth, James conceded that he doesn't actually know what Chamberlain did, upon which Matthews gave him a little history lesson...What Chamberlain did wrong, most people agree, Matthews said, is stand by and let Hitler gobble up half of Czechoslovakia without lifting a hand to stop him. But there's a difference, said Matthews, between talking with someone as opposed to doing nothing while they invade another country...That's a key distinction, and credit goes to Matthews for drawing it out. As for President Bush, who dared liken a political opponent of his party to a Nazi "appeaser" while speaking in Israel, well, it's hard to conceive of how much lower he can go."

Later, as he looked back on the whole sordid exchange, Koppelman reflects:

"I understand this is how the cable shout shows function. In a previous job, I went on a couple occasionally. Sometimes, I'd get a call three hours before they wanted me to be on and a producer would ask me if I had time to read a quick briefing about a subject I'd never heard of before and then come on. The answer, I'm now ashamed to say, was almost always yes. I was on one show where I sat and watched in astonishment as the other two guests (who were clearly friendly off-camera and who clearly had no relation to or real interest in the subject we were discussing) went from zero to screaming bloody murder at each other in just seconds. That's the way these shows work. But if Matthews wanted to have a real discussion of the history here -- and God knows he should, he clearly knows something about it and he made some really sharp points -- then he should have had guests qualified to be valuable participants. Maybe Matthews' takedown of James ultimately enlightened some people; it probably did, in fact, and he deserves some credit for that. But it was still cheap, and ultimately it said more about Matthews, his show and the whole universe of similar programming than it ever could have about James."

Nothing like watching a blowhard getting skewered on his own petard. How refreshing!

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