Look who’s coming to the rescue of the honor of American journalism, and womanhood. David Brock, the self-described former “conservative hit man” who targeted Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, has taken it upon himself in his new reformed liberal state to blow the whistle on Hardball host Chris Matthews for misogynous comments he made about Hillary Clinton on MSNBC.
Brock, as head of Media Matters for America, the megaphone he created almost four years ago through which he trumpets his ideological conversion, called Matthews’ eventual quasi-mea culpa “a step in the right direction” but promises to keep the heat on him and MSNBC. In going after Matthews, Brock joins an offended feminist army including the National Organization for Women.
Matthews for his part justified his shoot-from-the-lip trademark on grounds, strangely, that it was his heart talking, not his mouth. “I want people to react when I say something,” he explained. “I don’t like saying things so carefully,” he went on in this peculiar ode to responsibility, “so politically correctly,” that no one would think anything had been said. “What I’ve always counted on in all the wild, speeded-up conversations on Hardball and elsewhere on television is my good heart,” he explained.
Matthews proceeded tell his audience that “politically concerned people like you who watch this show so faithfully every night, people like me who care about this country, think I’ve been disrespectful to Hillary Clinton, not as a candidate but as a woman.” He went on, insisting he never meant to leave the impression that he clearly had, that she had gotten where she is in part out of voter sympathy over the way her wayward husband Bill had “messed around” in the White House.
“Was it fair to imply that Hillary’s whole career depended on being a victim of an unfaithful husband?” he asked. “No,” he answered himself, “and that’s what it sounded like I was saying,” adding in a gush of modesty that “it hurt people I’d like to think normally like what I say, in fact, normally like me.”
The witness for the defense continued: “As I said, I rely on my heart to guide me in the heated, fast-paced talk we have here on Hardball—a heart that bears only goodwill toward people trying to make it out there, especially those who haven’t before”—a reference to the never-elected-president Hillary?
“If my heart has not always controlled my words on those occasions when I have not taken the time to say things right, or have simply said the inappropriate thing,” he promised, “I’ll try to be clearer, smarter, more obviously in support of the right of women, of all people, to have the full equality and respect for their ambitions.”
Brock’s criticism of Matthews wasn’t the only voice heard, just more ironic than others in the anti-Matthews chorus. Some of whom have made careers in life and in journalism by taking the time to say things right. Matthews concluded by assuring his faithful viewers that “I get it.”
But we wonder: What would Hardball and its rapid-fire host be like, slowing down to three-quarter time just to “get it” right?