The New York Times’s Alessandra Stanley described the dynamic at work in the “Hardball” segment above:
The smugness is easier to copy than the wit. MSNBC has a growing cast of anchor-bloviators — hosts like Martin Bashir, Tamron Hall and, of course, Al Sharpton, who rant and then invite like-minded guest commentators to assure them that they are right.
Here, Matthews and Ron Reagan and Michael Tomasky get together for seven or eight minutes of passionate agreeing on everything. The groupthink session kicks off with a clip from Fox News’s “Hannity” in which Dick Morris claims that all the polls are wrong — that Mitt Romney would win the election if it were held today. Matthews slammed away:
I believe that Sean Hannity is as smart as me or anybody else, but he says stuff on the air that throws red meat out there for that audience to just eat up. It’s an act!
A caveat here to note that Matthews was referencing allegedly deliberate misinformation coming from Hannity’s program, of which he appears to be professing ignorance. Whatever the case on that front, has Matthews compiled a history of red-meat abstinence? Just have a look at what he said about Mitt Romney after the candidate’s wife made her address to the Republican National Convention:
I thought that Romney coming out there like that is so much like the fellow that I’ve called a conehead who doesn’t quite seem like an earthling, the way he came out at the end there. And I think there’s a real contrast between a real human being who’s married to the guy and the rather woodenlike figure that came out to acknowledge all of this love that she was pouring on him...
Just brussels sprouts there.