On the July 19 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews offered to "shine ... up" Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), calling him "a great, old-fashioned conservative" who doesn't have "any special angles" on the current conflict in the Middle East, but "just want[s] peace and America to prevail." Matthews's solo interview of Lott focused on the current clash between Israel and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. Matthews did not conduct a solo interview of a liberal on the program.
As Media Matters for America noted, on the June 6 edition of Hardball, Matthews also told Lott: "I'm getting to like you too much." Matthews has used similarly effusive language to praise other Republicans, such as President Bush (here, here, here, here, and here), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (here, here, and here), former Bush administration Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA), and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R).
From the July 19 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball. Will the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah stop within one more week? Can Lebanon crack down on Hezbollah units within its borders? And can George Bush, the president, help broker the peace?
Here to dig into it, especially the politics, globally and locally, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott. Senator Trent, let me shine you up first. You are a great, old-fashioned conservative. You don't have any special angles in these regions, you just want peace and America to prevail. What can he do? Is he doing the right thing or are we holding back too much over there, the president?