Chris Matthews, One-Man Vice Squad

Dear Chris Matthews:

I appreciate that you’ve been emboldened in your interviewing tactics after your expert cajoling coaxed Michele Bachman into revealing herself in all her McCarthyesque glory. Kudos on that, and everything. But there’s a fine line between acting like a hard-hitting, tenacious interviewer…and acting like kind of a jerk:

UPDATE: The McCain campaign has responded to Matthews’s antics with a statement saying that, given “such a stunning combination of bias and ignorance” on the part of the Hardball host, they felt “compelled to set the record straight”:

Chris Matthews further elaborated on his understanding of the role of the Vice President, saying that ‘it has nothing to do with policy making, nothing to do with Senate leadership on either side of the aisle. There is no policy role there whatever for the vice president. If you’d even watched ‘John Adams’ on television a few months ago, you would know that, going into the very beginning of our democracy.’ We have little hope that MSNBC will take a more even handed approach in covering this race over these last few days, but it is outrageous that Chris Matthews would rely on an HBO mini-series as the basis for his condescending attacks on Governor Palin. If he wishes to pose as a Constitutional scholar, he should read the document. This campaign has sent a copy to his office.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.