Accuracy in Media

During the last few minutes of MSNBC’s election coverage early Wednesday morning, Chris Matthews created a firestorm when he told the other network panelists that he was glad that Hurricane Sandy happened when it did, because it was good politics.

I’m so glad we had that storm last week because I think the storm was one of those things.

Then, after Rachel Maddow prodded him, he quickly added, “No, politically I should say. Not in terms of hurting people. The storm brought in possibilities for good politics.”

Those remarks rocketed around the Internet and forced Matthews to apologize at the beginning of his program later that evening.

I said something not just stupid but wrong. I said something that suggested ends justify means. Something I have never believed in my life and even thinking that way I think is an immoral way to live your life.

He then tried to explain why he made those remarks.

I was too deeply enmeshed in political thinking, deep in a world of numbers and issues and people and stakes, and all focused on who would win and who would lose. But I left out the number one job of anyone on air, on television or on the radio—to think about the lives, the real lives of people.

He was so giddy about Obama’s re-election that he just couldn’t resist expressing gratitude for a terrible human tragedy that he thought might have helped advance his political agenda, while tens of thousands of people were still homeless and without the basic necessities of life. Some compassionate liberal he is.

Matthews has generally been very quick to criticize Republicans and conservatives who make public apologies and questions both their sincerity and motivation, so why should we believe that he is being sincere now that the shoe is on the other foot?

The answer is, perhaps we shouldn’t. Maybe he just got caught revealing his true colors while euphoric about Obama’s reelection, and the apology was more about avoiding suspension, or the wrath of his peers.

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