Chris Matthews, Pennsylvania and the press

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Either the MSNBC host is going to run for the senate, or he and his agent are engaged in the most bizarre type of contract negotiations ever witnessed. (i.e. Give me a new contract or I'll run for the elected office!)

If Matthews does decide to pack up his belongs (including his three Mercedes) and move to PA. (he'll still vacation on Nantucket, of course), we hope the press doesn't play dumb about the Hardball host. Sadly, in an article about how Matthews' public utterance and appearances on cable TV could haunt him in the political arena, The Hill already is. (The Hill actually suggests Matthews' ill-advised dancing on Ellen represents one of his biggest hurdles.)

The Hill notes that Matthews has taken heat for his treatment of women politicians, and especially one particular Democratic woman, over the years. Here's how The Hill addressed the issue of Matthews and sexism, and where The Hill dutifully played dumb:

And besides the made-for-TV moments, Matthews has given several noteworthy print interviews, including his participation in an 8,100-word New York Times magazine profile.

The piece noted bloggers have accused Matthews of being sexist, pointing to a YouTube video of him ogling CNBC host Erin Burnett.

Matthews vigorously defended himself to the Times, saying: "I don't think there's any evidence of that at all. I've gone back and looked. Give me the evidence. No one can give it to me. I went through all my stuff. I can't find it."

This is pretty much the Beltway sanctioned CW on Matthews: If the Hardball host has a problem with women it's that he likes them too much and sometimes he leers at them, the way he did with Burnett. That may be the sanitized media script, but it's not the truth and I don't think it will stand up to the scrutiny of any campaign. The truth is Matthews is a misogynist and has advertised that fact for year, whether The Hill or the rest of the polite Beltway press wants to acknowledge that is another question.

If Matthews runs for the senate as a Democrat, than we're pretty sure at some point he'll have to address his history of women-bashing as viewed through the lens of his relentlessly negative, personal and irrational attacks on Hillary Clinton, one of the most powerful Democrats in the country. The way he:

-Featured a Photoshopped image of Clinton sporting "She Devil" horns while discussing Republican efforts to demonize her;

-Repeatedly likened Clinton to "Nurse Ratched," the scheming, heartless character from the mental hospital drama One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest;

-Described her laugh as a "cackle," suggested she was "anti-male," "witchy," and was on a "short ... leash";

-Reported that the only reason Hillary Clinton was elected to represent New York in the senate was because he husband "messed around";

-Referred to Clinton as "Madame Defarge" and described male politicians who endorsed Clinton as "castratos in the eunuch chorus";

-Suggested U.S. soldiers would not follows the orders of a woman president;

-Compared Clinton to a "strip-teaser," wondered whether she was "a convincing mom," referred to Clinton's "cold eyes" and the "cold look" she supposedly gives people;

-Claimed that "some men" say Clinton's voice sounds like "fingernails on a blackboard."

We might not know as much about politics as The Hill, but we think that that library of TV utterances is going to be more problematic for Matthews, especially among female Democratic voters in PA., than his YouTube clip 'dancing' on Ellen.

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