Olbermann vs. Matthews

In the last 24 hours we’ve had some very interesting communications from MSNBC.

Yesterday at 5 pm Chris Matthews opened his show with an apology to Hillary Clinton (h/t Atrios).

Was it fair to imply that Hillary’s whole career depended on being a victim of an unfaithful husband? No. And that’s what it sounded like I was saying and it hurt people I’d like to think normally like what I say, in fact, normally like me. As I said, I rely on my heart to guide me in the heated, fast-paced talk we have here on Hardball — a heart that bears only goodwill toward people trying to make it out there, especially those who haven’t before.

If my heart has not always controlled my words, on those occasions when I have not taken the time to say things right, or have simply said the inappropriate thing, I’ll try to be clearer, smarter, more obviously in support of the right of women — of all people — the full equality and respect for their ambitions. So, I get it.

I invite you to read the whole transcript and watch the video.  While it was pretty earthshattering breaking news to get any kind of apology at all, a lot of people, including myself, thought it was just an example of the “I’m sorry you were offended by what I said” variety of non-apology apology.

In fact I still think that.

Also yesterday, at 8 pm, Keith Olbermann had Lawrence O’Donnell, author of this from the Huffington Post, on to talk about the campaign and Lawrence pretty much delivered a hit piece on John Edwards.

Quite a few people over at the Daily Kos were upset enough to diary about it and many more joined their voices in agreement.

So today we get this from second time diarist Keith Olbermann (don’t worry, it’s a storyonly link)-

Those of you complaining about it are right.

His HuffPo piece was news to me.

Shouldn’t have been, obviously, but it was.

I don’t read every blog, nor everything written by my guests. I often don’t know until an hour beforehand who will be a guest on a given show…  Also, to announce, on-air, each guest’s preferences, prejudices, shillings and shiv jobs, would reduce the rest of the show to “Good Evening. Call Me Ishmael. My Boat Sank. The End. Good Night.”

But even with these caveats, the point about this appearance, especially in the wake of such a freshly-written piece, is well-taken and I’m very sorry.

It will be addressed tonight on the show.

As usual I hesitate to editorialize too much, you can think what you want, but in addition to the question of who’s the mensch I invite you to consider if this represents a new direction at MSNBC.


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  1. Yes, I did give Keith my thanks.

  2. it represents a new direction in journalism….and shows why KO is head and shoulders above the rest of the pack

    • Temmoku on January 18, 2008 at 21:25

    your link to it….I’m glad I missed it. He has gotten so wacky/batshit crazy lately..almost like Huckabee.

  3. in their head it will. His show seems to actually look and listen to reality outside the village. Several years ago in an interview, he was asked why he was allowed to editorialize and generally go against the tide of cable right slanted news. He said that the big bosses told him as long as his ratings and demographics kept rising it make money and that they would butt out. Paraphrasing here. This was before Abrams? took over. Shortly after the odious Rita who used to follow him was dumped. I sure wish they would get rid of Tucker and Lock up. Matthews seem entrenched.  

  4. I couldn’t resist.

  5. … was the confidence that Keith showed — he got why folks were angry, admitted he didn’t know what he should have known, and that’s that.

    With Matthews, there was no confidence at all.  He was bobbing and weaving all over the place.  All of his long ramble boiled down, imo, to “I didn’t mean it!”  He was clearly reading off a teleprompter and I wonder if he even wrote the copy he read.

    Matthews spent far more time talking himself up than he did taking responsibility for his bullshit comments about Hillary.

    So I didn’t believe Matthews was sincere in his apology  nor did he understand why folks were angry with him.  And there was simply no self-confidence in what he said.  None.

  6. If you mean by the words new direction

    a diction with people of the blogs

    then the answer to your question  YES

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