Okay, let's put it to the Matthews Meter and ask our regular panel of experts the following political question: did Chris Matthews' obsessive and openly sexist campaign against Hillary Clinton help or hurt the New York Senator in New Hampshire, where she scored a stunning and historic comeback victory against Barack Obama in the Democratic primary for President.
Whoa, look at that number. 12-0! We rarely see such unanimity on the Matthews Meter. Everyone believes Senator Clinton was helped by the bizarre and personal attacks on MSNBC. Digby, you're one of the panelists who voted yes, what do you have to say?
I wonder if Chris Matthews realizes that every time he or one of his fellow gasbags blithely reveal their sexist lizard brains like this, another little feminist gets her (or his) wings.
Glenn Greenwald, you've described the national political media like Chris Matthews as in thrall of Drudge-like innuendo and pseudo-pschology. Can you add to that?
Can one find more compelling proof of all of this than their juvenile, sadistic, lynch-mob savaging of Hillary Clinton over the last several days based on the pettiest and most fact-free assaults and their long-harbored desire to see her crushed?
Tom Brokaw, give us some perspective. You came up in a different era of political reporting. Matthews suggested to you last night that without the amateur personality analysis, guys like him should ust stay home. What's your reaction?
No, no we don't stay home. There are reasons to analyze what they're saying. We know from how the people voted today, what moved them to vote. You can take a look at that. There are a lot of issues that have not been fully explored during all this. But we don't have to get in the business of making judgments before the polls have closed. And trying to stampede in effect the process. Look, I'm not just picking on us, it's part of the culture in which we live these days. I think that the people out there are going to begin to make judgments about us if we don't begin to temper that temptation to constantly try to get ahead of what the voters are deciding.
Okay, that's the traditional journalistic experience. But it's a different world - you know, there are all these bloggers out there, it's a free-for-all. Hillary is fair game, right Markos Moulitsas? You bloggers love this stuff because it's just so "real."
The more she's attacked on personal grounds, the more sympathy that real person will generate, the more votes she'll win from people sending a message to the media and her critics that they've gone way over the line of common decency. You underestimate that sympathy at your own peril. If I found myself half-rooting for her given the crap that was being flung at her, is it any wonder that women turned out in droves to send a message that sexist double-standards were unacceptable? Sure, it took one look at Terry McAuliffe's mug to bring me back down to earth, but most people don't know or care who McAuliffe is. They see people beating the shit out of Clinton for the wrong reasons, they get angry, and they lash back the only way they can -- by voting for her.
Yes, but surely people didn't actually react to Matthews himelf, right? Christy Hardin Smith, you voted yes - what's your take?
What is wrong with Chris Matthews? With all of these media people? I mean that, in all honesty, what in the hell is wrong with them? Their personal loathing of Hillary Clinton shone through in every sniggering, overwrought report this week. Their building up of Barack Obama is only their prelude and set-up for the frenzied clawing and shredding of him that is to come. And they have well and truly written off coverage of either John Edwards or Bill Richardson solely based on their current fundraising numbers, and never mind that, as of yesterday, there had been two -- count them, only TWO -- Democratic contests.
None of it has anything to do with substance. It's as if a pack of hyenas were crossbred with the characters in Mean Girls and then sent out to play at journalism.
But did it actually mean, you know, real votes? Surely not, Matthew Yglesias.
"I don't think pissing off Chris Matthews is a good enough reason to pull the lever for Clinton, but I can certainly understand the impulse."
Wow, we may be learning something here, folks. Surely, there's a lesson for the Chris Matthews in the media right? What do you say, Greg Sargent?
Last night, Matthews said: "I give her a lot of personal credit; I will never underestimate Hillary Clinton again." But by this morning Matthews had already forgotten his newfound respect for her. He said: "The reason she's a U.S. Senator, the reason she's a candidate for President, the reason she may be a front-runner, is her husband messed around. That's how she got to be Senator from New York. We keep forgetting it. She didn't win it on the merits..."
Put aside for a sec just how loathsome this statement is on its own terms. The larger point here is that a mere half-day after acknowledging that he'd gotten it wrong and that she deserved a lot of "personal credit" for winning over voters, Matthews was already imposing his own narrative on her entire political career, the current race included, saying that her past and current success have nothing to do with "the merits."
Surely the voters don't see Hillary this way. But already Matthews is back to speaking for the voters again, oversimplifying complex voter sentiment in the most crude and reductive fashion he can muster.
Lesson unlearned. Oh, well. Maybe next time.
So, unanimous. Stunning. The Matthews Meter never lies. There you have it. One final thought from Mark Halperin and we'll be back with Lance Mannion and Jon Swift on the sad tears of Maureen Dowd, and Jason Chervokas on the new, softer Hillary.