Accuracy in Media

Not that one should expect consistency or accuracy from Chris Matthews, but his lack of both were shining through on Monday’s Hardball show on MSNBC. During a segment on the accusations flying back and forth, first from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who claimed he was told by a Bain investor that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid any taxes for 10 years, then by several Republicans that Reid was lying, Matthews said the following: “Hearing these Republicans accusing Reid of lying reminded me that you never say your opponent is a liar. It’s one of my cardinal beliefs. Once you say it the conversation’s over. You’re certainly not a gentleman any more. And it just sort of ends things for you. It always sounds worse on the lips of the person who says it than it is for the target.”

However, Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post apparently agrees with the characterization of Reid in his “Fact-checker” column, headlined “Four Pinocchios for Harry Reid’s claim about Mitt Romney’s taxes.”

Later in the show, introducing another segment, Matthews said, “Voting rights, another big American issue right now. And the rights and wrongs of it. Democrats in Ohio for example wanted to extend the same voting opportunities to the members of the civilian people out there as the military are getting and they’re getting attacked by the Republicans for being ‘anti-military.’ This is getting rough, it’s getting dishonest [which sounds a lot like calling someone a liar], we’re going to find out about it in a minute. Ohio, everybody should get the vote.”

When he came back from break, Matthews complained about a Republican sponsored bill in Ohio that ends early voting on the Friday before the Tuesday election for everyone except people in the military. He said that the Obama campaign filed a lawsuit to give the same right to all Ohioans, not just the military, to be able to do in-person voting for that Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Matthews said that the suit does not seek to take away anything away from the military, and said that “Mitt Romney has characterized this effort, unfortunately, as an affront to members of the military. Another cheap shot, totally dishonest.”

There he goes again, accusing Romney of lying, of being “dishonest.” Romney did, in fact, call it an outrage. To back up his argument, Matthews showed an edited clip of Obama’s senior political adviser, David Axelrod on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.

WALLACE: You don’t think that members of the military who are serving this country deserve special consideration to vote?

AXELROD: I absolutely do, and the way you stated and the way frankly Governor Romney has stated it is completely false and misleading. What that lawsuit calls for is not to deprive the military of the right to vote on the final weekend on the campaign. Of course, they should have that right. What that suit is about is whether the rest of Ohio should have the same right. And I think it’s shameful that Governor Romney would hide behind our servicemen and women to try and win a lawsuit to deprive other Ohioans, deprive other Ohioans of the right to vote.

How can Axelrod say he absolutely thinks they deserve special consideration when he says in the next breath that “the rest of Ohio should have the same right?” How is that “special consideration?”

It’s a complicated issue, but basically the purpose of the bill in Ohio is to standardize state-wide what was a patchwork of dates and rules for early, in-person voting, while continuing to allow military people the extra few days to vote. You can read about it in greater detail through this posting on, with a hat-tip to the Mark Levin radio show.

Though Matthews didn’t show the continuation of the interview with Axelrod, Wallace pointed out that 15 military groups are supporting Romney’s side in the lawsuit. So who is being dishonest, inconsistent and hypocritical? You decide.

Relevant portion from 9:12 – 12:18


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