Well, not technically. But boy, it sure sounded that way.
It's from a US News & World Report item about Todd discussing why Matthews decided not to run for the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania (one of the great non-stories of our time):
NBC White House Correspondent Chuck Todd has a theory on why MSNBC's Hardball host Chris Matthews begged off from running for the Pennsylvania Senate seat held by Republican Arlen Specter. "Because [Chris] had a really good friend of his say to him, 'What are you going to do when you get there?' and he couldn't answer the question and he realized that, and that's why he didn't run," says Todd. "It was a childhood dream to be a senator, but he didn't know what he was going to do if he got there." [Emphasis added]
Matthews, who has been inside the Beltway for going on, what, four decades, who once worked on the Hill and has been commenting, non-stop, about politics for countless years, had no idea what he'd do if he were a senator.
We've said it before and we'll say it again here: The Beltway press doesn't do public policy. It doesn't get it, and it has even less interest in it. So no, we're not surprised Matthews couldn't figure out why he'd do, y'know for other people, if he ever got elected.
Meanwhile, take a look at Todd's closing comment:
It was the same for 2008 presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John McCain, says [Todd] the coauthor of How Barack Obama Won. "They never knew why they wanted to be president."
Oh my. Say what you want about the campaigns of Clinton and McCain, but to suggest those two legislative veterans, who criss-crossed the country for more than a year, participated in dozens of televised debates, answered untold questions from voters and reporters and released all kinds of position papers, didn't know why they wanted to president is complete nonsense. Neither were able to convince enough voters they were the best person for the job, but both Clinton and McCain clearly had a vision and understanding of where they wanted to take the country. They were serious people with serious ideas.
Chris Matthews just likes to hear himself talk. But Chuck Todd will never say so.
No, really. That's what Steve Thomma at the McClatchy-Tribune News Service suggests in his preview of Obama's upcoming primetime address this week before Congress.
Forget the fact that the Dow is down to nearly a decade low and host lost almost 50 percent of its value in the last six months. Or that jobs are being shed at an historic rate and there's even talk of nationalizing our banks. That's not what really matters to the Beltway press corps.
None of that trumps the all-important issue of whether Obama can successfully court Republicans:
[Obama] faces three key questions about how he'll use the moment. First, will he reach out to the Republicans who have felt free to scorn him, or match his popularity against theirs and try to slap them back?
Can you spell d-i-s-c-o-n-n-e-c-t?
the problem is not just the Post's relationship with George Will, but the Post's utter failure to hold their columnists to any reasonable standard in terms of evidence when it comes to climate change and energy pieces.
the Post has a lousy tradition when it comes to correcting egregious errors in their editorial pages. Or, should we say, failure to correct them in a responsible and forthright fashion.
Check out Siegel's post for details and examples of global warming misinformation in the Post's news pages, as well as on its Op-Ed page.
when you, on behalf of what used to be a respected newspaper, endorse his dishonesty, there's something seriously, seriously wrong. There are still honest and competent reporters writing for the Post, but if any article in the paper is to be believed it will now have to be on the basis of the reporter's known integrity and skill, not on the fact of its publication in a newspaper that not only publishes palpable falsehood but then justifies doing so.
This started as a problem for Will, his direct supervisors, and the Post's ombudsman. But now that the Post as a paper is standing behind Will's deceptions, I think it's a problem for all the other people who work at the Post. Some of those people do bad work, which is too bad. And some of those people do good work. And unfortunately, that's worse. It means that when good work appears in the Post it bolsters the reputation of the Post as an institution. And the Post, as an institution, has taken a stand that says it's okay to claim that up is down. It's okay to claim that day is night. It's okay to claim that hot is cold. It's okay to claim that a consensus existed when it didn't. It's okay to claim that George Will is a better source of authority on interpreting the ACRC's scientific research than is the ACRC. Everyone who works at the Post, has, I think, a serious problem.
The Times reporter dutifully anoints the previously unknown Rick Santelli of CNBC a "populist" because he uncorked an on-air rant about the Obama housing recovery while reporting among all-white, all-male traders on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. It was a rant where Santelli suggested Obama was leading America down the road to communism.
But nowhere in her article does the Times reporter explain why Santelli, who Chris Matthews rightfully likened to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, in any way tapped into a "populist" feeling. The former VP for Drexel Burnham Lambert (you remember that `80's hothouse of populist fever, right) simply mouthed divisive, right-wing talking points, and disconnected media elites crowned him a populist anyway. The closest Stolberg came to suggesting Santelli articulated populist rhetoric was when she pointed out:
[Santelli] called for the creation of a Web site where Americans could vote on whether they "really want to subsidize the losers' mortgages."
She might think that's "populist," but probably lots of Times readers simply chalk that up as being idiotic.
I'll note upfront that this item doesn't have to do with conservative misinformation. But it does deal with the state of journalism, and it's a topic that's sort of irked me for a while. Plus it's the weekend. So there.
I realize newspaper advertisers are becoming increasingly scarce, and for the Times, Hollywood studios spend tons of money with the daily. But I've been struck recently by the increasingly cozy relationship between the newspaper and the studios; a relationship that as a reader, diminishes the Times' news reputation.
In terms of cozy, I'm talking about the the annual holiday movie special section, which is stacked with ads but rather perfunctory articles, the annual Oscar preview special section, the predictable summer movie preview special section, and the recent Sunday Times magazine, which pretty much devoted its entire issue to feather-light pieces about Oscar nominees.
Slate's Timothy Noah recently took a closer look, noting that the Times' doting on the Oscars comes at a time when fewer and fewer news consumers seem interested in the annual awards presentation:
A Nexis database search turns up, in the New York Times, 251 mentions of the phrase Academy Awards or the word Oscars since Jan. 1. That's more mentions in the Times than for the words Pakistan (186), Geithner (169), foreclosure (142), or Blagojevich (66)...While Times Oscar coverage has been trending upward, the American public's interest in the Academy Awards, as measured by Nielsen ratings, has mostly been trending downward...The 2008 Oscar ratings were the lowest ever recorded. Thirty-two million Americans watched, compared with the peak Oscar audience of 55 million in 1998.
Noah points out that the annual number of Oscar mentions in the Times has nearly doubled in the last ten year, as viewership for the program has been nearly cut in half.
The Times needs to pull way back on its Oscar obsession. There are far more important topics to address (even within the A&E world), and its obsequious coverage often comes across studio butt-kissing, and not much more.
US News & World Report's Washington Whispers page currently features a poll asking readers who they would prefer to run a daycare center for their kids: First Lady Michelle Obama, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
And no, the poll doesn't offer the obvious fifth choice: "Why the hell would anyone ask this question?"
UPDATE: Fixed headline, which originally referred to "Madame Secretary."
How long before some reporter points to this as evidence of insufficient bipartisanship on Barack Obama's part?
New York Republican Rep. John McHugh, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, has turned down Barack Obama's invite to Monday's fiscal responsibility summit, his office tells my colleague Alex Isenstadt.
The New York congressman emerged as a tough critic of the economic stimulus package passed by Congress last week.
One the heels of the controversial New York Post cartoon that depicted a dead chimpanzee with two bullet holes in its chest with a police officer holding a gun saying, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," GLAAD has launched a call to action noting Sean Delonas, the cartoonists, long history of anti-LGBT cartoons.
GLAAD president Neil Giuliano said:
"Sean Delonas has a history of defamatory work and we stand with those who decry this recent cartoon as unacceptable and a vicious portrayal that neither enlightens nor entertains. It's unacceptable that the New York Post continues to provide a platform for such instances of hateful defamation."
GLAAD goes on to remind readers:
As we mentioned yesterday, Delonas has been the subject of three separate GLAAD Action Alerts for his continued juvenile and defamatory treatments of LGBT issues as well as making the "Worst" on the "Best and Worst" list on several occasions. This year he was named to GLAAD's "Worst Defamation of 2008" list.
Here is a slideshow of some of Delonas' anti-LGBT cartoons:
You can learn more about GLAAD's action campaign here.
You may remember earlier this week when we posted a photo from ProgressNowColorado of right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin posing for a photo with a man holding a sign that uses a circled swastika as the "O" in Obama. The photo was taken at a Colorado rally against the President's economic recovery plan.
Then there was Malkin's initial defense when she posted a bunch of images using the swastika and Nazi imagery to attack former President Bush and other conservatives (including herself). It's worth noting that none of the images Malkin posted included prominent progressives -- say, Markos from DailyKos, radio's Ed Schultz or MSNBC's Rachel Maddow -- posing with someone holding a swastika sign.
Well, thanks to our state-based Colorado Media Matters, we now know that Malkin "do[es] not think it's out of bounds" to make analogies comparing Obama to Hitler.
From Colorado Media Matters:
Conservative author and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin, appearing as a guest on KHOW's The Caplis & Silverman Show, asserted it is not "out of bounds" to analogize President Obama to Adolf Hitler. During a discussion about a photo taken in Denver of her posing with a person holding a sign showing a circled swastika as the "O" in Obama, she claimed without providing evidence that a progressive group conspired to capture the image and asserted it is "the M.O. of the left" to "play the Hitler card." Neither host pointed out that numerous conservative radio hosts -- including some on KHOW and sister station KOA -- have used Hitler or Nazi references and allusions in criticizing Obama and other Democrats.
Listen for yourself...
For those of you who missed the photo, here it is again: