Don’t Judge A Protester (Or a Pundit) By His Hair


I was just about to post about what Glenn Greenwald Twittered that someone else (Toure!) Twittered that Chris Matthews said on MSNBC about a protester who popped up during the Sotomayor hearings earlier. Then I decided — phew! — to double check for myself what Matthews said.

What Greenwald said Matthews said (retweeting Toure):

About an anti-abortion protester: RT @ToureX “Chris Matthews just said ‘I saw 1 guy with a ponytail. Says it all about his political views’”

What Matthews actually said (emphasis mine):

MATTHEWS: I want to ask you [Norah O’Donnell], your firsthand observations of these hecklers. Both men, abortion rights opponents. Are there indications there are more to come today?

O’DONNELL: I think that always…

MATTHEWS: Look at people in the crowd that might have the same look, the rough cut [as the hecklers]— I saw one [heckler] with the ponytail, not sure what that says at all about his political views, but sometimes you can spot these guys in the crowd if you look closely…

Not, “[The ponytail] says it all about his political views.” But rather, “not sure what [the ponytail] says at all about his political views” though the having of one might be a good way to ID other protesters in the crowd.

Much better!

(Says it all about Matthews’s punditry? Not to mention the game of telephone that can be Twitter…)

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.