In an interview with John Thune, now senator-elect (R-SD), MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews cited as "a wonderful piece" a 2002 National Review article that falsely charged Democrats with voter fraud as a result of the unprecedented levels of Native Americans who voted in South Dakota's 2002 U.S. Senate election. In that election, Thune lost to incumbent Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD).
On November 3, Matthews said to Thune: "[Y]ou lost a heartbreaker for the United States Senate. And afterwards, you didn't complain, you didn't say there was hanky-panky on the other side, although you could have. I read a wonderful piece by [National Review White House correspondent] Byron York about it." But as Media Matters for America has noted, South Dakota's Republican attorney general dismissed claims of wrongdoing, calling the affidavits supporting Republican charges "flat false."
York's 2002 National Review article (which Matthews wrongly attributed to The Weekly Standard) was titled "Bad Lands, Bad Votes: Putting Tim Johnson over the top, by any means necessary."
From the November 3 edition of MSNBC's Hardball:
MATTHEWS: But let me ask you about [unseated Senate Minority Leader Thomas A.] Daschle [D-SD] killing. I watched your campaign two years ago. And I noticed that you lost a heartbreaker for the United States Senate. And afterwards, you didn`t complain, you didn`t say there was hanky-panky on the other side, although you could have. I read a wonderful piece by Byron York about it. You probably read it in The Weekly Standard. Do you think that was part of your success? Just the fact that you were a gentleman last time?