Chris Matthews Insults Michele Bachmann ... Again

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Julie Marsh
Julie Marsh
Is Chris Matthews destined to follow in Keith Olbermann's footsteps, heading right out the door at MSNBC? Based on his unprofessional characterization of Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) as a "balloon head" and his history of similar sexist remarks, I think Chris Matthews ought to be polishing his resume.

Yesterday afternoon on Matthews' program Hardball, he played a video of Bachmann speaking about how the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery. He then challenged his guest, Tea Party Express co-founder Sal Russo, to defend Bachmann's assertion and questioned the wisdom of choosing her to give the Tea Party sanctioned response to that evening's State of the Union address.

Bachmann was wrong; our Founding Fathers did not work tirelessly to end slavery. They owned slaves. Abraham Lincoln and the Union worked and fought to end slavery, much to the consternation of the Confederacy. Legal discrimination persisted for another century. Bachmann tossed around inaccurate rhetoric in an attempt to manipulate emotions, and she failed to fool anyone -- Democrat or Republican -- who knows even a shred of American history.

But that does not justify Chris Matthews' rude, misogynistic, and downright childish name-calling.

Bachmann should feel silly for trying to pull such a stunt (I do not believe that she actually thinks slavery ended with the Constitution), and Russo should feel silly for his clumsy attempts to stick to his talking points and, failing that, for defending her. His tap-dancing needs a lot of work, and Bachmann should have known better.

Instead, we're talking about Matthews' latest gaffe. He took himself off-message by making such a ridiculous statement. Commentators are supposed to push the envelope and elicit reactions, but it's possible to do so while remaining professional. Matthews' tendency to stoop to insults belies a lack of basic respect for others and for his position.

 

feminism, in the news, media, tea party

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mustb... mustbeGRACE

Wasn't Abraham Lincoln a Republican?


Why are you associating the South with Republicans?


Why is that so automatic?


"Legal discrimination persisted for another century"


Only in the South?


Or all over the US?


Only with Republicans?


I know more than a shred of American history and I find you to be disingenuous in your concern over Michelle Bachman's comments.


You are splitting hairs and would attack Mother Teresa if she had been a Republican.


Had she been what our culture deems beautiful instead of  matronly looking, you would have despised her.

nonmember avatar Glenn Beck

Yeah, as a TV commentator myself, I can whole-heartedly say that insulting people is truly unprofessional.

nonmember avatar Suebob

Wow, that commenter is confused. But moving on...

I kind of liked Tweety's outrage. He was honestly flummoxed by someone who would not/could not answer a simple question. It IS maddening. The other day I tried to get a PR person to answer a simple question and gave up after about 8 swings at it. I can see how he lost his composure. And name-calling Bachmann? Well, if "balloon head" is the worst thing she gets called out of this incident, she will be lucky.

nonmember avatar Jason

How is "balloon head" sexist?

bills... billsfan1104

Are you really suprised? He and Olbermann always did that to women that didn't agree with them. But yet, they bash republicans for using inflammmatory rhetoric.

Histo... HistoryMamaX3

Actually, for those that actually know a shred of history, know that the founding fathers DID have an impact on slavery. Some, not all, of our founding fathers owned slaves. Many spent their lives trying to end it... and the language used in the constitution was greatly debated on whether the rights included black men or not... and the same movement that worked tirelessly against slavery during the revolution continued until it was finally abolished.


Sadly, Lincoln gets most of the presidential credit for the end of slavery. However, his own words show that he didn't really care one way or the other- his main focus was on maintaining control of the southern states. Slavery was abolished as a punishment to the southern states and a way to cut their economy and unable them from trying to secede right after the war ended.


Sadly, we like to think of historical events as a one time thing, not an ongoing and living process.

Jim Hunt

Benjamin Franklin founded one of the first abolitionist societies, the draft of the Declaration of Independence contained a clause condemning slavery, John Adams was fiercely opposed to slavery, Thomas Jefferson freed the slaves that he legally could. So while the Congresswoman may have over generalized, her statement was accurate for a significant portion of the founders.

Histo... HistoryMamaX3

Thank you, Jim, for the historical back-up. :-) I don't foresee Ms. Marsh coming back here to retract her historical inaccuracies, however, her only real goal is to make others look unintelligent. Too bad.

Buffi Helton Messer

Many, though not all of the Founding Fathers DID do their best to bring about an end to slavery. As noted by other commenters, the Declaration of Independence originally had language about ending slavery. In writing the Constitution, the Founders knew that there was no way that the Southern states would ratify it if it contained language outlawing slavery. This is why the much maligned two-thirds clause comes in - slaves were only counted as 2/3 of a person because if States were allowed to count slaves as a whole person, it would increase their population, thus their representation in Congress - making it impossible to EVER pass laws against slavery.  Our Founding Fathers did the best they could with what they had. They had faith that one day good would triumph and that eventually we would do away with the despicable practice. It took less than 100 years for that goal to finally come to fruition. How long did it take other countries? Many, many centuries of existence.


I would hope that network news execs would at least try to make sure that their on-air personalities had a working knowledge of American history. What a shame that it's not true. Michelle Bachmann has gotten a really bad rap on this one and it angers me how she is being taunted by the very idiots who need to go back and read a history book.

Jess Hurst

I don't understand how "balloon head" is sexist. Glenn Beck is also constantly taunted for having a huge head, Bush and Obama both have been taunted for having large ears...being in the public spotlight appears to invite criticism of your looks regardless of gender, race, or party affiliation.

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