MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who has vacillated between calling Michele Bachmann a “Balloon Head” and “My Hero,” came to her defense again last night over this week’s Newsweek cover which features Bachmann staring into space.
Matthews discussed the photo with Lois Romano of Newsweek, who wrote the cover story on Bachmann, and Alex Wagner of the Huffington Post, who is a frequent guest on Hardball.
Matthews: Why is she looking straight up in the air rather than at the person taking her picture? That’s all I’m asking. It’s an odd photograph.
Romano: I wasn’t there…
Matthews: But it’s an odd picture. Let me go over to somebody who’s not working for Newsweek to answer this question because I know it’s a tough one. Alex you are completely independent here. You look at that picture of somebody. They had a contact sheet obviously of all kinds of picture to choose. They pick one where she is looking skyward. Now Tina Brown who I respect came out and said, this is what she had to say by the way about the cover, “Michele Bachmann’s intensity is galvanizing voters in Iowa right now and Newsweek’s cover captures that.” Now does that picture of her looking skyward like she’s Gaddafi or somebody answering to a different authority, does that picture look like intensity, rage or this woman’s a little daffy?
Wagner: I think I’m going with daffy, Chris, and I think it also brings to mind her rejoinder to the President’s State of the Union where she was not looking at the camera. Look there’s a lot about Michele Bachmann that I think is probably worthy of further examination and criticism. This to me seemed a little unfair. It brought to mind, I don’t know if you remember the Mark Warner cover of The New York Times magazine where they sort of photoshopped his clothes and made him him sort of look like a car salesman huckster? This to me, she looks sort of blank and confused and I did think it was unfair.
Romano did her best to toe the company line but Matthews, and to a lesser extent Wagner, actually sided with conservatives who have criticized the photo as yet another attack on a conservative by a liberal publication.
Matthews isn’t completely innocent either, as until fairly recently the standard photo he used on his program of Bachmann was eerily similar to the Newsweek photo instead of the more complimentary one he uses today. But he seems to have conveniently forgotten that, as well as his previous mocking of Bachmann.
Beware of liberals bearing gifts.