Washington, DC -- Chris Matthews, MSNBC's marquee talent and Hardball host, sparked a firestorm of criticism after saying about Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) that "the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around" and that "[s]he didn't win there [New York] on her merits."
As Media Matters for America has noted, Matthews' recent comments are the latest in a string of sexist attacks he has made not only against Sen. Clinton but also against other prominent female political figures.
Below are just a few examples of his sexist commentary:
Other members of the media are also speaking about Matthews' flagrant, persistent sexism.
More from Media Matters on Chris Matthews
After vowing not to underestimate Clinton, Matthews asserted, "[T]he reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around" -- January 9, 2008
During MSNBC's coverage of the New Hampshire Democratic primary, Hardball host Chris Matthews stated, "I will never underestimate Hillary Clinton again." But Matthews asserted on MSNBC's Morning Joe the next day, "[T]he reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around."
Matthews on Clinton's performance: "good enough here for women who wanted to root for her anyway" -- January 9, 2008
During MSNBC's coverage of the New Hampshire primary, Hardball host Chris Matthews said of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's performance during a January 5 Democratic presidential candidates debate: "I wasn't clear at all that she won it. But maybe she was good enough to seem good enough here for women who wanted to root for her anyway." He further stated that the 2008 presidential election is "a pioneer opportunity for women voting -- especially older women voting, who may figure this is their last chance to elect a woman president."
Matthews asked if Pelosi is "going to castrate Steny Hoyer" if he becomes majority leader -- November 14, 2006
On the November 13 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews asked political and social commentator Mike Barnicle if Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the presumptive speaker-elect of the House of Representatives, was "going to castrate [Rep.] Steny Hoyer [D-MD]" if Hoyer is elected House majority leader in the 110th Congress.
MSNBC Democratic debate coverage rife with sexist stereotypes -- April 27, 2007
Sexist references abounded during MSNBC's April 26 coverage of the first Democratic presidential candidates debate in the context of discussions about the only female candidate, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY). MSNBC host Chris Matthews focused obsessively on the appearances of Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) wife, Michelle, to the point that NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell reminded him that they are Yale and Harvard-educated lawyers, respectively. MSNBC host Tucker Carlson asked a Clinton campaign spokesman whether Clinton had an "unfair advantage because of her sex."
Matthews asserted that Clinton got Register endorsement "thanks to her husband's lobbying with its female editors and publisher" -- December 18, 2007
On the December 17 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews said of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), "She may have gotten The Des Moines Register's endorsement the other day, thanks to her husband's lobbying with its female editors and publisher, but voters have spotted the dagger, and they don't like what it looks like." Matthews went on to say, "Hillary's loyal lieutenants are ready to scratch the eyes out of the opposition right now."
Matthews asked about Clinton endorsers' "willingness" "to become castratos in the eunuch chorus" -- December 17, 2007
On the December 17 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews claimed: "Every day I pick up the paper and there's another quote out there from somebody who's a wannabe, saying whatever the Clinton people told them to say apparently." Moments later, Matthews asked Financial Times U.S. managing editor Chrystia Freeland: "[A]ren't you appalled at the willingness of these people to become castratos in the eunuch chorus here or whatever they are?" Matthews made the comment in the context of discussing endorsements of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and specifically that of former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE), who made reference following a December 16 campaign event to, among other things, Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) middle name.
Matthews and others on NBC networks have repeatedly linked Clinton to fictional Nurse Ratched -- December 7, 2007
On Hardball, Chris Matthews asked about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), "[D]oes she look like Nurse Ratched here?" referencing a character in Ken Kesey's novel and the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, who has been described as a "scheming, manipulative agent" who "asserts arbitrary control simply because she can." In fact, Matthews and others on programs on NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC have a long history of associating Clinton with Nurse Ratched.
Chris Matthews teased segment by asking whether Clinton is a "She Devil" -- November 19, 2007
On the November 18 edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, host Chris Matthews teased a discussion by asking, " 'She Devil?' Republicans are absolutely demonizing [Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY]." While he spoke, an image of Clinton appeared on screen with the words "She Devil?" below it. Later, an image of Clinton with devil horns appeared on screen while Matthews stated: "We did poll our people and asked 12 of our regular panelists, is it smart politics for Republicans to demonize Hillary Clinton, get real personal about it? Eleven say yes. Just one say, no, it's not smart."
Matthews and National Journal's Douglass on Clinton's "anti-male thing" -- November 2, 2007
During the November 1 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, while discussing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) speech at Wellesley College, her alma mater, in which she asserted, "In so many ways, this all-women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics," host Chris Matthews asked: "Is this pandering or playing to the Seven Sisters crowd up at these all-women's colleges, where there may be that sort of mood if you're -- and they all want dates. I assume a lot of them do, on weekends. But this anti-male thing, is that something that's particularly something you can sort of spruce up, you can play up, up there?" Matthews opened the segment by asking his guests -- National Journal contributing editor Linda Douglass and NBC News political director Chuck Todd -- "Don't you both agree, Linda, that she should just lighten up on this gender -- 'the boys are coming to get me' routine?" Douglass replied: "I think, in this case, she's making a really big mistake, because now she's ventured into feminist territory where the man is the enemy."
Matthews' hypothetical suburbanites: Wife wants woman president; husband cares about finances -- October 21, 2007
On the October 21 edition of the NBC-syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, while discussing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) proposal to roll back a portion of the Bush tax cuts to pay for her health insurance plan, host Chris Matthews stated: "I think it's time for me to get in trouble again. ... I'm thinking about a woman who lives in the suburbs; she may not work outside the home. They're talking around election time -- the husband and the wife." Matthews, speaking first in the voice of the hypothetical wife, said: " 'I sort of like this Hillary, the first woman president. She's pro-choice.' And the husband says, 'You know, dear, you know, this is going to kill our tax bracket. You know that tuition thing we pay every couple of years for the kids, every year, we can't do that if we get a higher tax bracket. We have to pay more money.' " Matthews then asked Washington Post Writers Group syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker: "So, could the tax issue -- Hillary's threat to raise taxes -- throw a lot of women and men from the suburbs back into the Republican column?"
Matthews' post-debate analysis: "Let me tell you how short Hillary's leash is" -- September 27, 2007
During MSNBC's analysis of the September 26 Democratic presidential debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, while discussing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), host Chris Matthews said to moderator Tim Russert, "Let me tell you how short Hillary's leash is. She was asked by you, sir, about whether we're going to get full disclosure of contributors to presidential libraries. And she did not feel that she had the latitude in her husband's absence to give you an answer." Matthews continued, "She said, 'You'll have to ask my husband.' As if you're a guy going door to door trying to sell something and says, 'You'll have to wait for my husband to get home.' " Matthews began to ask, "Do you think she's that much --" but then stopped and asserted, "[N]ever mind, let's just drop this."
Matthews to CNBC's Burnett: "You're a knockout"; "It's all right getting bad news from you" -- August 12, 2007
On Hardball, Chris Matthews told CNBC anchor Erin Burnett: "[Y]ou're beautiful" and "[y]ou're a knockout," before closing their interview by saying, "It's all right getting bad news from you."
Matthews on Clinton "being surrounded by women": "[D]oes that make a case" for or against her as commander in chief? -- June 24, 2007
On the June 24 edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, during a discussion about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), host Chris Matthews asked Kathleen Parker, a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group, if "being surrounded by women" makes "a case for commander in chief -- or does it make a case against it?" Parker answered by referring to a June 21 front-page Washington Post article about the women working as senior advisers to Clinton's campaign: "It makes a case with a certain demographic, and I noticed the picture on the front of The Washington Post the other day showed her with all these women and her crew, and did you notice, there was only one blonde out of about 15 women, so it sort of -- I thought that was very telling." Parker never explained what was "telling" about the hair color of Clinton's top aides.
Matthews: "Do Americans want to return to the Hillary model of first lady, or do they like the Laura Bush model?" -- June 17, 2007
On the June 17 edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, host Chris Matthews, leading off the discussion topic "What are Americans looking for in their next first lady?" asked "The Matthews Meter" -- composed of 12 of his regular panelists, including June 17 panelists BBC Washington correspondent Katty Kay, Newsweek chief political correspondent Howard Fineman, and MSNBC host Tucker Carlson -- "Do Americans want to return to the Hillary model of first lady, or do they like the Laura Bush model?" All 12 panelists responded that Americans want "the Laura Bush model."
Ignoring his previous comments, Matthews claimed "men don't knock Hillary" -- March 27, 2007
On the March 26 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews asserted that "[i]t's the women" who criticize Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and that the men he talks to "don't knock Hillary." Matthews added, "[T]he crowd I hang out with don't want to be caught knocking her, because it's sexist." However, Media Matters for America has noted numerous examples of Matthews himself making remarks about Clinton that could be construed as sexist:
Matthews on Clinton: "How many times is she going to be confused by men?" -- February 16, 2007
On the February 15 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews, during a discussion with National Review Washington editor Kate O'Beirne and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon about whether Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) will say her vote for the 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq was a mistake, asked: "How come she still pretends that she didn't know [President Bush] was going to war? It's like she didn't know anything about Bill [Clinton] and his behavior. How many times is she going to be confused by men?"
Matthews on Sen. Clinton: "Is she Dukakis in a dress?" -- January 16, 2007
On the January 15 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews compared Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) to former Massachusetts governor and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis when he asked former White House adviser and frequent Hardball contributor Ron Christie: "Is she Dukakis in a dress?" Matthews, who has made this comparison before, has a history of leveling baseless smears against Clinton, as Media Matters for America has noted.
Matthews likened Sen. Clinton to a "strip-teaser," asked, "Is she a convincing mom?" -- December 20, 2006
On the December 19 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews compared Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) to a "strip-teaser"; said she had "a nice, mellifluous voice" and "her hair looked ... great"; and wondered if Clinton is "a convincing mom."
Matthews: "[S]ome men" say Sen. Clinton's voice sounds like "fingernails on a blackboard" -- November 8, 2006
Discussing the victory speeches of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) during MSNBC's special election coverage on November 7, co-anchor Chris Matthews told Republican pollster Frank Luntz that Clinton gave a "barn-burner speech, which is harder to give for a woman; it can grate on some men when they listen to it -- fingernails on a blackboard." Matthews then noted that Pelosi, who will likely be elected House speaker now that the Democrats have gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives, will "have to do the good fight with the president over issues" such as the minimum wage and prescription drugs. He then asked: "How does she do it without screaming? How does she do it without becoming grating?" Matthews later returned to criticizing Clinton, when, during a conversation with co-anchor Keith Olbermann and with a clip of Clinton's victory event playing in the background, Matthews stated that Clinton's "clapping" was "not appealing" and that "it's Chinese or something," as Salon.com's weblog The War Room noted. Matthews added that former President Bill Clinton, who was standing behind Sen. Clinton at the podium, was a "gigantic guy behind her and he's just there," adding: "It's a strange sight."
Matthews asked: Is Hillary Clinton unable to "admit a mistake" on Iraq vote because she would be criticized as a "fickle woman"? -- March 17, 2006
On two straight days, Chris Matthews cited hypothetical critics in saying that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is reluctant to admit she made a mistake in voting for the Iraq war resolution because she would be denigrated as a woman who is unable to make up her mind.
Matthews attacks Clinton: Criticism of Bush homeland security cuts after London bombings made her look "more witchy" -- July 13, 2005
On MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "looked more witchy" because she criticized the Bush administration's homeland security spending priorities on July 8, a day after the London bombings.
Matthews referred to Hillary Clinton as "sort of a Madame Defarge of the left" -- April 25, 2005
MSNBC host Chris Matthews referred to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) as "sort of a Madame Defarge of the left" -- a slur previously advanced by conservative syndicated columnist and CNN host Robert Novak, MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, and MSNBC host Monica Crowley.