On January 18, Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough said it was "outrageous that Chris Matthews ha[d] to apologize" following his January 9 comment, documented by Media Matters, in which he said that "the reason" Hillary Clinton is "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." By "apologize," Scarborough was referring to a statement Matthews made at the start of his January 17 show addressing the firestorm sparked by his earlier comments.
MSNBC repeatedly aired a campaign advertisement from Sen. John McCain's campaign attacking Sen. Hillary Clinton's support for a $1 million earmark for a museum at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival in New York, and other media outlets noted the ad. But none of these outlets reported that McCain had skipped the vote on removing the earmark.
In their coverage of the Michigan Republican primary, numerous media outlets and personalities praised Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain as a "maverick" who has challenged his party. However, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, on several major issues, McCain has taken positions consistent with those of his party.
On the January 11 Morning Joe, Chris Matthews defended his statement on the show two days earlier that "the reason [Hillary Clinton is] 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," saying that his statement was an "assessment of history," not an "opinion." But on the January 9 Morning Joe, Matthews said that Clinton "didn't win there [her Senate seat in New York] on her merits. She won because everybody felt, 'My God, this woman stood up under humiliation,' right? That's what happened."
During an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe, NBC News' David Shuster mocked co-host Joy Behar of ABC's The View for her criticism of MSNBC host Chris Matthews' recent comments about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in which Matthews attributed Clinton's political success to her husband's "mess[ing] around." Shuster stated, "Yeah, you know, Joy Behar is well known for her political analysis" and then rolled his eyes, before purporting to "impersonat[e]" Behar.
Discussing his most recent book on MSNBC's Morning Joe, National Review Online editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg said that Benito Mussolini is tied to the American liberal movement because he "was a socialist." When co-host Joe Scarborough asked whether he was suggesting "you can draw a line from Mussolini" to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton or to Sen. Barack Obama, Goldberg replied, "Well, I'm saying you can draw a line, but it's not a straight one."
On Morning Joe, Chris Matthews speculated on how the world would react to a win by Sen. Barack Obama in the Iowa caucuses: "I tell you, it's going to be a headline all over the world: 'Barack Hussein Obama wins first presidential test in America with a Kenyan father.' " Matthews went on to say, "I just think it's absolutely -- with an Islamic background in his family -- is so dramatic." Matthews used Obama's middle name and referred to "an Islamic background in his family" despite his criticism of former Sen. Bob Kerrey two weeks earlier for making similar comments.
On Morning Joe, without citing any examples, Joe Scarborough stated, "[Y]ou have your Holocaust deniers ... then you have your Giuliani deniers. And Giuliani deniers will tell you he had nothing to do with September 11th." But as Mika Brzezinski later noted, "There are a lot of people who have a lot of criticisms for Rudy Giuliani, and how he handled 9-11 before it happened."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews said of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, "I think Huckabee has got the biggest free ride from the liberal media that I have ever seen in my life. I mean, the guy, if you want to get into conspiracy theories -- I mean why is everybody who is liberal pushing Huckabee? Give me a break." However, during the November 8 edition of Hardball, Matthews introduced an interview with Huckabee by comparing him with the other Republican presidential candidates and asking, "[W]hy are prominent Christian conservatives bypassing former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to support a New Yorker with liberal positions on social issues, a senator who's had poor relations with evangelicals, and a Mormon who's changed his position on abortion?" Matthews went on to say, "[I]t's an honor to have you on the show. Everybody likes you, Governor Huckabee. We're waiting for those poll numbers to reflect it. Everybody around here seems to like you, and we'll see what that's worth. Anyway, good luck in Iowa."
Discussing Sen. Hillary Clinton's performance during the Democratic presidential debate, Chris Matthews claimed that Clinton made herself "look like a switcher" when responding to questions about her views on Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposal to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. In fact, Clinton maintained that Spitzer's plan "ma[de] sense," explaining that "what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform" and claiming: "I believe we need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform because no state, no matter how well-intentioned, can fill this gap. There needs to be federal action on immigration reform." Matthews and other media figures invoked Sen. John Kerry's alleged "flip-flopping," suggesting that Clinton made inconsistent statements.