Given how evil conservatives are, how could journalists not do part-time public relations for the Obama administration? (And some hoped for full-time gigs like the one press secretary Jay Carney nabbed from his “Time” perch.) Chris Matthews, though, was panting a little too hard on Feb. 25 when he interviewed two pro–Hillary Clinton journalists and said, “If you’re watching, Madam Secretary, all three of us have brilliant ideas.”
(The more sophisticated approach was that of “New York Times” correspondent Mark Landler at an Oct. 8 Obama press conference. Instead of asking a question, Landler went on for more than 100 words that ended with a kiss-up comment about how President Obama alone could have brought about a trade deal. The president’s reply rewarded him: “I think that’s a great example.” Next stop: White House speechwriter?)
Chris Matthews is almost always over-the-top, of course, but in 2013 he outdid himself. On July 31 he called Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee “political terrorists” whose “only goal is to blow things up.” On Sept. 23 he attacked Cruz’s “sinister self-awareness” and two weeks later said “know-nothings in the Congress [are] characters in some ghastly, real-life remake of “Planet of the Apes,” where the bad guys fear nothing more than science and other evidence of human progress.” On Oct. 18 he spoke of “right-wing camp followers plying their trade like the women who got their name in the earlier time from General [Joe] Hooker.”
The single worst comment of 2013 came from MSNBC host Martin Bashir on Nov. 15, when Sarah Palin said our spiraling national debt enslaves us, and Bashir said she deserved—how do I put this delicately?—to have someone defecate in her mouth. Three days later Bashir, who professes faith in Christ, acknowledged, “My words were wholly unacceptable.” On Dec. 4 he did the right thing and resigned. So should others—but they won’t.