MSNBC president and general manager Rick Kaplan was quoted in an August 11 campaign briefing in The New York Times defending an appearance by MSNBC Scarborough Country host and former U.S. Representative Joe Scarborough (R-FL) at a campaign rally for President George W. Bush. During the rally, Scarborough "could be seen ... standing and applauding numerous times during the president's speech," as the Times noted. "I'm glad he did it," Kaplan said, adding, "[i]t was good for the profile of the show to remind people he has an inside view of politics."
Kaplan told the Times that MSNBC has different rules for "opinion anchors," such as Scarborough. According to the Times, "Mr. Kaplan said the channel had separate standards for what it considered its news anchors, who include all four others who lead prime-time programs on the channel: Chris Matthews, Dan Abrams, Deborah Norville and Keith Olbermann."
Although MSNBC considers Chris Matthews to be a "news anchor," Media Matters for America has documented numerous instances of distortions, misstatements, and unsourced speculation by Matthews in his capacity as "news anchor" of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews and NBC's The Chris Matthews Show.