Monday, October 17, 2005

Matthews: "Not Even Hardball"

Digby's comment that MSNBC is the network best positioned to capitalize on the Plame scandal (as CNN capitalized on the first Gulf War and Fox on Monica/impeachment) is probably right. Keith Olbermann in particular has the skepticism and cojones needed to stay focused on the case and not swallow the (increasingly desperate) Republican talking points.

But like several of Digby's commenters, I refuse to put Chris Matthews in the same category. As part of his macho this-is-how-the-big-boys-do-things-in-Washington routine, he has been pooh-poohing the importance of the scandal. I even heard him say the other day that the outing of Plame "wasn't even hardball, it was just the administration defending itself from an attack."

It's a little odd because the way Matthews has been covering the story (leading with it, dissecting it at great length with a panel of commentators etc.) implies that he thinks it's very important. I think the explanation is that Matthews does think it's important, but not because of what it reveals about the criminality of the Bush administration but rather as a really fun bit of inside baseball.

Matthews epitomizes the totally amoral approach to politics that's one of the worst features of MSM. Judging by his show you would never know that what the government does has any impact on the actual lives of people--or that the Plame leak case is all about dragging the country to war on false pretenses, with fatal results for thousands of individuals and potentially disastrous effects on our nation's global standing for decades to come. To Matthews, it's just part of the game of politics, not something that ultimately matters.

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