Chris Matthews Never Saw a War He Wouldn’t Cheer Lead for

Chris Matthews: one of the worst fucking people in the worldI’ve been really busy this week, so I haven’t been doing much cooking. And cooking is the only time I watch television. But tonight, I had to cook because I had some Spanish rice and corn tortillas that really needed to be used or they were going to go bad. So I found myself in the kitchen trying to make something like taquitos. I failed miserably, but the result was still delicious. But mostly, I got to watch All In, which was all about the coming Syrian attack. Even though I seem to agree with Chris Hayes on the issue, most of the guest were there cheer leading for war.

I was hoping for something more from The Rachel Maddow Show. The truth is that I’m really depressed about what’s going on. It really does seem that Obama has painted himself into a corner with all that talk of “red lines.” And now he thinks he will look weak if he doesn’t bomb Syria. It’s sad, because to me, he does look weak. He looks weak the same way that bullies always look weak. He looks weak because he cares more about saving face than doing what’s right. So I was hoping that Maddow would make me feel better, even though I thought the odds were long.

Alas. Rachel Maddow was off. In fact, the whole The Rachel Maddow Show was off. Instead, there was a special edition of Hardball with Chris “War Monger” Matthews. But I continued to watch. After all, my pseudo-taquitos were not ready to go into the over. (I know, I know: they are fried, not baked!) Anyway, how bad could Chris Matthews be? Surely he had learned something from being so painfully, so aggressively wrong about the Iraq War. Right? Right?! Right?!!

One thing that Chris Hayes discussed on his show is how disheartening it is to see people pushing for war with Syria by saying exactly the same things proponents of war with Iraq said 10 years ago. The only difference is now they add some obligatory statement about how it is different this time. Sure, the intelligence that was indisputable last time was wrong, but this time it really is indisputable. But other than saying such things really deliberately and forcefully, we have no reason to think anything has changed.

Matthews came out swinging. He said the bombings were about killing. Okay, that got my attention. But it was just a fake. It was just so that he could go on to claim that killing innocents was a small price to pay for sending a message. And he doesn’t see that message being sent to Syria and the Assad government. No, bombing Syria is about sending a message to Iran about not building a nuclear weapon. And he had others on to parrot back his words to him. Matthews really belongs on Fox News, because that’s all his program is: propaganda. And I would say that even if I agreed with him.

Here’s the thing: bombing might indeed make Iran very careful in public. And it might make them really determined in private to get a nuclear weapon. Because everyone knows that Obama wouldn’t be about to bomb Syria if it had a nuclear weapon. As I wrote about earlier this week, when the United States intervenes, we send unintended messages. But all of this talk of messages from Matthews is just smoke and mirrors. He loves a good war. He loves a bad war. He loves any war.

MSNBC should have fired him long ago!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Chris Matthews Never Saw a War He Wouldn’t Cheer Lead for

  1. He’s really quite an ass. I read "This Town," and it presents Matthews as a hollow blowhard who’s been conscious of maximizing his screen time from day one. Well, surprise, surprise.

    "This Town" is really not a good book. (I suspect it remains on the bestseller lists for the same reason "Brief History Of Time" did; nobody can finish it, it’s too dull, so nobody can tell anyone else not to buy it, it’s too dull.)

    "This Town" essentially pulls off what the kids call "meta" by decrying Washington’s obsession with personality over policy . . . and, in doing so, serves up details about personality and almost none about policy. The details weren’t even that juicy; the ones in "Game Change" and "Primary Colors" were far better. "This Town" sneers at both those books for being shallow, but it’s really in the same class. Unlike those writers, though, Mark Leibovich has very few titillating inside inferences to leak. What little he has, he shares; this senator cusses here, that one says something out of their carefully constructed character there.

    As if we believed in the images Leibovich is marring; not even spray-painting over, but nervously putting a wad of chewing gum on the portrait’s lower right-hand corner, looking around to see if he got caught, and then bragging afterwards about what a daredevil he was.

    Like Matthews, Leibovich’s insider perspective has some value . . . but only just, and for all that not very much.

  2. @JMF – It is a compelling idea that one could write a gossipy book that complains about its own gossipy culture. But I didn’t figure [i]This Town[/i] would come close. What it seems like is a book about an insider who is vaguely aware of how awful his culture is. My feeling is that Leibovich wanted to lampoon the culture, but not enough to get excluded from any of its great parties.

    Matthews has been a villain for a long time. When MSNBC was conservative, he was conservative. Have you seen his current MSNBC commercials? You would think he was responsible for carrying the New Deal torch through the dark ages. Pathetic.

  3. "Not enough to get excluded from any of its great parties" is almost exactly the vibe I got from "This Town."

    And yet, the parties don’t sound that great! They’re only great if the idea of seeing Colin Powell schmoozing with Katie Couric, or some such, really turns your crank. (I’d go for gorgeous coked-up escorts, myself, if I was choosing my ideal of debauchery.) They’re really only amazing, in Leibovich’s account, if you find access and proximity to these very shallow people to be deeply exciting. Leibovich does. I guess that makes for an interesting confessional, in a way.

    Yeah, I remember Matthews being a "straight-talking" right-winger. Oh, well. TV is what it is. I suspect Maddow and Klein genuinely have souls, but have to work within the framework that employs them. I don’t watch a lot of MSNBC anymore, just the good clips you and others embed.

    Could be worse — they could still have Olbermann.

  4. @JMF – Yeah, it seems to come down to thinking of yourself as someone important. That’s what the thing is about the Very Serious People. "You can talk about that economic stuff all you want but I was at a party with [i]Alan Greenspan[/i] last night and he says businesses aren’t spending because of regulatory uncertainty!" In addition to being pathetic, it is dangerous.

    I’m more forgiving of Olbermann than most people. I think it is important for liberals to have blowhards. And I always enjoyed "Worst Person in the World." Maddow is good but she focuses too much on gay rights and abortion. She is too much a "good little girl"–like she would have ratted you out in 5th grade. And she’s slightly pro-war. But she’s smart and funny, and I enjoy her. I think you meant Hayes above. He was definitely better on [i]Up[/i], but I think he’s good. I think Steve Kornacki would be better on his current show. Lawrence O’Donnell is a smug asshole who I wish would go away. TV is not a good place to get news. But I do wish I could watch Al Jazeera America (their twitter feed is excellent).

  5. I did mean Hayes, from "Up With," but I really haven’t watched MSNBC in a while. You’re right; "Worst Person" was a fun slam, I’d forgotten about that.

    You can always get the al-Jazeera English website. They’re quite good, and, dare I say, quite "centrist," very fact-based on-the-ground reporting with much less of an ideological slant than the NYT or WSJ (which seem to have abandoned war correspondents.) Really nowhere nearly as leftist as I would like, despite how conservatives paint them as Anti-American! But quality info from the war zones.

  6. @JMF – I general, I like media that try to be impartial. What I [b]don’t[/b] like is media that insists that the truth is in the middle. Thus media outlets outside the US are generally better than those inside. The way I see it, the major media sources are roughly equivalent to [i]Pravda[/i]. The problem is that the American public doesn’t realize that. At least the Soviet public [i]did[/i].

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