Chris Matthews hosted Hardball on MSNBC for more than 20 years. And just like that, he was gone. A quick announcement on Monday that he was retiring and fill-in host Steve Kornacki was in the chair.
The reason? He asked a female guest, “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?” There were apparently other “gross and inappropriate” comments, although those haven’t been reported.
What a ridiculous thing for a man to say to a woman, indeed! I’d definitely be triggered if anyone dared insult me in such a manner!
That was sarcasm, by the way, just in case you Matthews critics needed help deciphering my intent.
Let’s be honest. MSNBC has long had the finger on the trigger when it comes to Matthews. His recent performances suggested that he was already coming to the end of a long and illustrious career.
There were rumors that Matthews was due to step down after the 2020 election cycle. It would have been a fitting end to such a storied career and would have given him the chance to walk away with his head held high after years of service.
It wasn’t to be. Instead, MSNBC effectively dragged him out to the back of the barn and shot him with an old gun.
Laura Bassett, the “victim” of Matthews’ comments, tweeted with glee when he made his final remarks as host of the show he’s fronted for over 20 years.
Sorry Laura, but as much as you may want to feel that you’ve struck a blow for women who have been forced to listen to compliments from men all over the world, you haven’t.
The 2020 election news cycle is big business. For both news channels and advertisers. MSNBC has been itching to get a fresh, young face on that show for a while. Chris Matthews wasn’t just gaffe-prone – he didn’t fit the channel’s demographic anymore.
The situation with Laura Bassett must have felt like a gift from the television gods for the higher-ups at MSNBC. Chris Matthews’ blunders are legion, and they’d only been getting worse.
From his Nazi Germany remark when Bernie Sanders led in the Nevada caucuses, to mixing up African American politicians Jaime Harrison and Tim Scott , Matthews was slipping. There’s no doubt of that.
With the accusations by Bassett, MSNBC found itself in the position of being able to remove a liability who had passed his sell-by date from their network, while playing to the gallery and championing women’s rights.
It was nothing short of a masterstroke.