Chris Matthews #MeToo Retirement Comes at a Suspicious Time
In a move that seemed to come as a surprise even to his fellow on-air colleagues, MSNBC veteran anchor Chris Matthews announced on his show Monday that he is officially retiring from cable-news punditry. The announcement appears to be inextricably linked to an article posted by former HuffPost writer Laura Bassett this weekend, in which she accused Matthews of some inappropriate banter when she was on the show in 2017.
“A lot of it has to be with how we talk to each other,” Matthews acknowledged. “Compliments on a women’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK, were never OK. Not then and certainly not today, and, for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.”
In a piece on Matthews’ abrupt exit, The New York Times reported that his ousting was a long time in the making: “But the Matthews style was increasingly out of step with the times. In 2017, MSNBC acknowledged that the anchor had been reprimanded in 1999 after making inappropriate remarks to a female colleague, prompting a settlement. In 2008, he was quoted in a magazine profile declaring the actress Kerry Washington ‘a total knockout.’”
1999. That IS a long time in the making, indeed.
In fact, it’s so long in the making that you have to wonder what this is really about. Is this really about Matthews’ inappropriate behavior around women (to the extent we can really call what he’s accused of “inappropriate” in the first place, mind you)? Or is this because Matthews has attracted the ire of the dreaded Bernie Bros in recent weeks?
“Mr. Matthews, 74, had faced mounting criticism in recent days over a spate of embarrassing on-air moments, including a comparison of Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign to the Nazi invasion of France and an interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren in which the anchor was criticized for a condescending and disbelieving tone,” reports The Times.
The whole thing is just a little bit suspicious. The rumors (and, frankly, facts) about Matthews’ behavior towards women have been around for decades. We get that things changed in the Post-Trump, Post-Weinstein era, but even then, we’re talking about a solid three years where he continued to host “Hardball.” How strange that only now, after sending Bernie’s bots into a frenzy, does he face the consequences for his actions.
Asked to leave because of the #MeToo movement…or ousted because of WrongThink?