Matthews gushes over Ingraham's looks, book in which she writes about threat to power of "shared American culture" from porous borders

››› ››› RYAN CHIACHIERE

On the September 12 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews prefaced a question to right-wing radio talk show host Laura Ingraham by saying, "[L]et me ask you about something I loved in your book." He then asked: "Nowadays, you're pointing out that parents don't seem to want to have kids. There's a cultural stirring against having more than one or two kids -- even zero population growth doesn't seem to happen in a lot of places -- and I found that interesting. Why do you think that's going on?"

Matthews went on to say, "[T]he irony here -- and I want to be careful, without offending anybody -- but immigration is great for this country. You and I are all products of immigration, but ... it seems like people who are defending illegal immigration right now, a lot of liberals, don't like big families. So, the irony is, we have this big labor shortage. We have a population shortage. People aren't -- we aren't growing in our own numbers, so we need to bring in people, even illegally, or guest workers, or all these gambits that are being talked about, because we don't have an adequate labor supply -- at the same time, let's not have kids."

Matthews did not specify the portion of the book to which he was referring. However, the book's introduction includes back-to-back subheadings reading: "Family Matters" and "Where's the Fence?" The "Family Matters" section asserts: "The American family is besieged by a hostile culture, destructive government policies, and by our own selfishness," while the "Where's the Fence?" section claims: "Our national power and identity comes in part from our shared American culture and language. This power will continue to be eaten away if we don't stop the double-talk and defend our borders."

Matthews opened the interview with Ingraham by saying, "You are -- I'm not allowed to say this, but I'll say it -- you're beautiful and you're smart. And you've got a huge radio audience." When the interview ended, he asked: "Can I sing your praises?" adding, "I get in trouble for this, but you're great looking, obviously. You're one of the gods' gifts to men in this country. But also, you are a hell of a writer."

During the interview, Matthews also stated: "But it is interesting; all day long on this network and others, I'm seeing pictures of Britney Spears. ... [S]he is showing no talent. She's showing her body. She's obviously a good-looking young woman, wearing very little."

This is not the first time Matthews has commented on the physical appearance of a female guest. As Media Matters for America noted, on the August 10 Hardball, while discussing financial news, Matthews told CNBC's Erin Burnett, "[Y]ou're beautiful" and "[y]ou're a knockout." He closed the interview by saying, "It's all right getting bad news from you." A few days later, Matthews said he had been "kidding around," as Media Matters also noted.

From the September 12 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

MATTHEWS: Laura, I'm holding your book in the air --

INGRAHAM: Yeah!

MATTHEWS: -- so that everybody can see this book. You are -- I'm not allowed to say this, but I'll say it -- you're beautiful and you're smart. And you've got a huge radio audience. OK?

INGRAHAM: Well, thank you.

[...]

MATTHEWS: But let me ask you about something I loved in your book.

INGRAHAM: Sure.

MATTHEWS: You know, I'm one of -- you're one of four. I'm one of five.

INGRAHAM: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: My wife's one of five. We grew up in families which are generally -- our Catholic families tend to have a large number of kids. I had a cousin with eight in the family. The Kennedys, of course -- Bobby Kennedy's family -- what were you telling me? Ten kids or something?

INGRAHAM: Ten.

MATTHEWS: OK.

INGRAHAM: Or 11.

MATTHEWS: Nowadays, you're pointing out that parents don't seem to want to have kids. There's a cultural stirring against having more than one or two kids -- even zero population growth doesn't seem to happen in a lot of places -- and I found that interesting. Why do you think that's going on?

INGRAHAM: Well, I think a lot of things have happened. For some reason, having a lot of kids in some circles has become a selfish act, and, to me -- I think of all my friends -- my friends the Sipolonis (ph) have nine kids, and I'm around them a lot. And it's a house that's filled with love and laugher and craziness and chaos.

But, since when is that selfish, to have a lot of children?

MATTHEWS: Right.

INGRAHAM: And it used to be everybody had a lot of kids. And I think if you want to have two kids, three kids, it doesn't -- you know, whatever, you know, works for you. But I just don't like it when I'm in a line for Shrek 2 with six of the Sipoloni (ph) kids, and I hear people whispering behind me, saying, "Oh, my God! I hope those aren't all hers."

I just laugh. I said, how did we get to this place, where having more little ones running around is a bad thing?

MATTHEWS: Well, it used to be you got your kids. You'd like to have boys, so you had somebody to cut the lawn.

INGRAHAM: Well, yeah. I mean, that's -- my mother was, like, glad she had me when she was, what, 45, 46, because she had someone when my brothers left town to collect the leaves and do all those -- that hard work.

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

INGRAHAM: So, I was --

MATTHEWS: Well, the irony here -- and I want to be careful, without offending anybody -- but immigration is great for this country. You and I are all products of immigration, but --

INGRAHAM: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: -- it seems like people who are defending illegal immigration right now, a lot of liberals, don't like big families.

So, the irony is, we have this big labor shortage. We have a population shortage. People aren't -- we aren't growing in our own numbers, so we need to bring in people, even illegally, or guest workers, or all these gambits that are being talked about, because we don't have an adequate labor supply -- at the same time, let's not have kids.

INGRAHAM: Well --

MATTHEWS: It is an interesting sociometric overlay you've hit here.

INGRAHAM: Yeah, well, power to the people. That means you've got to have people to have power. And we're seeing, in Russia, Chris, they're actually paying people to have children. In Europe, the birth rate is so low that Europe is not going to reproduce itself, and so, Europe is ever dependent on immigrant labor and an immigrant workforce, and they're having trouble with assimilation in some quarters that, you know, I know you've talked about, so --

MATTHEWS: All right. You know what's interesting?

INGRAHAM: -- I just think it's something to celebrate children. I just --

MATTHEWS: People want to import labor and they love sex, but they don't like kids. Well, that doesn't surprise me, but --

INGRAHAM: Well, they're not convenient.

MATTHEWS: -- it is interesting; all day long on this network and others, I'm seeing pictures of Britney Spears. The only -- she is showing no talent. She's showing her body. She's obviously a good-looking young woman, wearing very little.

Oh, there it is. We have an excuse to play it again.

INGRAHAM: Oh, no, no. We're not showing it.

MATTHEWS: Please kill that.

INGRAHAM: No.

MATTHEWS: Please kill that.

INGRAHAM: No.

MATTHEWS: Please.

INGRAHAM: Done.

MATTHEWS: I did not do that as an excuse to show that again -- please.

INGRAHAM: No, I don't want the B-roll. They did that to me on the Today show.

MATTHEWS: I know they did it on the Today show. It seems like everybody --

INGRAHAM: A nightmare.

MATTHEWS: -- says they decry the coarseness of our culture, then they show Britney one more time.

INGRAHAM: Isn't this awful?

MATTHEWS: Tell me about it.

INGRAHAM: Isn't this awful? Let's show the pole dancing one more time. I mean, look, Chris, what -- NBC has made millions off of a show which is -- was an amazing show and is an amazing show called To Catch A Predator.

MATTHEWS: What's that?

INGRAHAM: To Catch a Predator.

MATTHEWS: Right, I know.

INGRAHAM: And why not "To Catch a Pornographer?" Because all the predators are the ones who are consuming all of this now instantly accessible porn -- 12 billion dollars a year adult entertainment.

MATTHEWS: OK. Can I sing your praises? I get in trouble for this, but you're great looking, obviously. You're one of the gods' gifts to men in this country. But also, you are a hell of a writer. Your books always do well. Your radio show -- I just looked at the numbers -- you are up there, one of the top most-listened to radio shows.

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