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September 2, 2004
USA Today Confirms My Matthews Diagnosis

CQ commenter FredRum points us to a USA Today article on the talking-head coverage of the Republican convention that not only supports my earlier diagnosis of Chris Matthews' self-infatuation but asserts that narcissism has spread across the entire television punditry like an epidemic. Media analyst Robert Bianco has a simple solution:

As President Bush's acceptance speech tonight closes the Republican convention and sends us full speed into the final electoral push, would it be too much to ask one tiny favor of TV's anchors, analysts and pundits?

In the name of all that's holy, shut up.

Sometime over the past few years, interview shows morphed from the intent to draw information from guests that would inform and entertain viewers to a pitched duel between the interviewer and the subject/victim, a duel to the rhetorical death in front of a nationwide arena of rapidly diminishing numbers of fans. Chris Matthews did not originate this disease, but he's hardly faultless in its spread. Bianco lets Matthews have it with both barrels later in the article, which was written and posted before Matthews got slapped down by a fired-up Zell Miller:

Still, when it comes to luxuriating in the sound of your own voice, even O'Reilly must bow to MSNBC's Chris Matthews. In one of the convention's more bizarre exchanges, Matthews interrupted a Joe Scarborough screed about immigration Tuesday to ask, "Who are your favorite immigrants?" Luckily for a seemingly nonplused Scarborough, he didn't have to answer, as the question was merely an excuse for Matthews to tell us, "Mine are the West Africans." No doubt they were thrilled to hear it.

Matthews, without a doubt, will be seen as the one mainstream news media figure to have suffered the most damage to his reputation from this electoral cycle. He has acted in such a transparently partisan manner while hypocritically maintaining a non-partisan facade that Zell Miller easily penetrated that he can't possibly recover his credibility with anyone except the zealous (Zell-less?) left. The rest of his audience, much like MS-NBC's in general, will have left for other commentators less in love with themselves.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 2, 2004 7:46 AM

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