Why is Chris Matthews -- whose brother is running for Pa. lt. gov. -- touting "all" his family's love for Philly radio host Smerconish?March 9, 2006 6:18 PM EST ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER
On the March 8 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews praised conservative Philadelphia-based radio host Michael Smerconish, declaring: "You talk to a huge audience on the East Coast, Michael. I've listened to you, all my family listens to you." Despite Smerconish's controversial statements, he has appeared on Hardball four times in recent weeks. Smerconish has returned the favor, allowing Matthews air time on the March 3 broadcast of The Michael Smerconish Morning Show, during which Matthews criticized the "one-sided, to some extent liberal propaganda" of the film Good Night, and Good Luck, which Matthews suggested presented a "revisionist history" of McCarthyism. But as Smerconish has continued to appear on Hardball, neither he nor Matthews has mentioned that Matthews's brother Jim, who is the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania, appeared at a political event in Pennsylvania that Smerconish moderated.
According to a letter by the Young America political action committee (PAC):
The Young America PAC is proud to be a co-sponsor of the Philadelphia Young Republican's event featuring the 2006 Republican Candidates for Pennsylvania Governor, on Tuesday January 17th.
The event will take place at the Crystal Tea Room from 6:30 - 9 pm. Each of the candidates will be given an opportunity to speak, with Michael Smerconish serving as moderator. Jim Matthews, Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, will also be in attendance.
Matthews has mentioned his brother's candidacy on Hardball. On the February 13 edition of the program, Matthews aired a clip of Jim Matthews accepting the Republican endorsement for lieutenant governor, and declared: "a special nod to my brother Jim Matthews, my little brother, my younger brother, who this weekend won the Republican endorsement for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania."
Smerconish is a major presence in Philadelphia's talk radio market. He is also a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and a frequent guest host for Bill O'Reilly on Westwood One's nationally syndicated The Radio Factor; he also recently served as guest host on MSNBC's Scarborough Country. Smerconish has notably argued that the government needs to encourage racial profiling to enhance the nation's security, especially at airports. As Media Matters for America has documented, in commenting on a September 19, 2005, incident involving the FBI's detention and questioning of five Muslim men who were observed praying near the stadium's main air duct during a New York Giants football game, Smerconish stated: "I just think that's [the men's public praying] wrong. I just think they're playing a game of, you know, mind blank with the audience. And that they should know better four years removed from September 11."
Further, as Media Matters has also noted, in November 2005, guest-hosting on The Radio Factor, Smerconish interviewed Soo Kim Abboud, author of Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers -- and How You Can Too (Penguin, 2005). Smerconish asserted that "if everyone follows Dr. Abboud's prescription ... you're going to have women who will leave the home and now get a great-paying job, because you will have gotten them well educated." He continued, "But then they're not going to be around to instill these lessons in their kids. In other words, it occurs to me that perhaps you've provided a prescription to bring this great success to an end."
From the March 8 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball. This coming weekend, Hardball heads down to Memphis, Tennessee, for the first major showdown of Republican presidential wannabes. Let's see where they stand right now. In a recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, [former New York City Mayor] Rudy Giuliani leads the pack among Republicans with 33 percent. He may or may not run, followed by [Arizona Sen.] John McCain at 28 percent. [Virginia Sen.] George Allen takes a distant third, followed by [Senate Majority Leader] Bill Frist [TN], and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
You talk to a huge audience on the East Coast, Michael. I've listened to you, all my family listens to you. Who has the hot hand in this early going to replace the president?