News & Politics

MSNBC's Chris Matthews Announces He's 'Retiring,' Breaks for Commercial—and Is GONE. Now THAT'S 'Hardball.'

MSNBC's Chris Matthews Announces He's 'Retiring,' Breaks for Commercial—and Is GONE. Now THAT'S 'Hardball.'

Last week Chris Matthews was named as a boorish harasser and #MeToo gangster by a GQ reporter who outed him because of his treatment of presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

That story started a stampede of angry women, who went after Matthews and got him fired.

He was canceled on the air.

Matthews, a Washington political fixture since the days when he worked for former House Speaker Tip O’Neill, hit the air at his usual time and announced that it was his last “Hardball”:

After my conversation with MSNBC, I decided tonight will be my last “Hardball.” So let me tell you why. The younger generations out there are ready to take the reigns. We see them in politics, in the media, in fighting for their causes, they are improving the workplace. We’re talking here about better standards than we grew up with—fair standards.

… A lot of it has to do with how we talk to each other. Compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were okay, were never okay. Not then and certainly not today, and for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.

After his announcement, MSNBC went to commercial and when they came back to programming, Steve Kornacki was sitting in Matthews’ chair. Bye!

So what caused the ouster of Matthews? It started with a GQ article by reporter Laura Bassett, who’d been a guest on his show and was outraged by the treatment of presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren:

MSNBC host Chris Matthews, whose long history of sexist comments and behavior have somehow not yet gotten him fired, tested the boundaries of his own misogyny again on Wednesday night. After the tenth Democratic presidential debate, the Hardball anchor grilled Elizabeth Warren about one of her lines of attack against Mike Bloomberg during the debate: that a pregnant female employee accused Bloomberg of telling her to “kill it.”

“You believe he’s lying?” Matthews asked Warren of Bloomberg’s denial.

“I believe the woman, which means he’s not telling the truth,” said Warren, who recently had to defend her own credible story of pregnancy discrimination.

“And why would he lie?” Matthews said. “Just to protect himself?”

“Yeah, and why would she lie?” Warren responded pointedly.

She backed up her outrage with her own experiences with Matthews’ creepy sexist behavior, which never became more than leering and inappropriate comments:

In 2017, I wrote a personal essay about a much older, married cable-news host who inappropriately flirted with me in the makeup room a few times before we went live on his show, making me noticeably uncomfortable on air. I was afraid to name him at the time for fear of retaliation from the network; I’m not anymore. It was Chris Matthews. In 2016, right before I had to go on his show and talk about sexual-assault allegations against Donald Trump, Matthews looked over at me in the makeup chair next to him and said, “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?”

When I laughed nervously and said nothing, he followed up to the makeup artist. “Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.”

Another time, he stood between me and the mirror and complimented the red dress I was wearing for the segment. “You going out tonight?” he asked.

I said I didn’t know, and he said—again to the makeup artist—“Make sure you wipe this off her face after the show. We don’t make her up so some guy at a bar can look at her like this.”

Again—Matthews was never my boss. I’m pretty sure that behavior doesn’t rise to the level of illegal sexual harassment. But it undermined my ability to do my job well. And after I published a story about it, even though I didn’t name him, dozens of people reached out to say they knew exactly who it was. Many had similar stories.

Bassett definitely had a “tingle up her leg” when she heard the news:

Media Matters, an attack sheet and self-described “media watchdog” for the far Left, reacted to Matthews’ ouster by saying, basically, it’s about time. Vice President Julie Millican issued this statement:

Matthews’ departure from MSNBC is long overdue. He has a decades-long history of misogyny — on and off the air — and even openly bragged about whether women measured up to his ‘Chris Matthews test’ of women’s attractiveness. He spoke derisively of female politicians, complaining about their voices and diminishing their accomplishments. He had a particular fixation on whether powerful women were “castrating” their male counterparts.

Matthews’ derogatory behavior towards women extended off-air as well. NBC Universal has settled at least one sexual harassment claim against Matthews and as recently as last week, journalist Laura Bassett disclosed that Matthews behaved in a “gross” and “inappropriate” manner when she was a guest on his show.

Despite all of this, MSNBC continued to give Matthews a powerful platform on the network, making him a feature of their political commentary and a staple of their election coverage. No matter how the decision was made for Matthews to exit, the fact remains that MSNBC turned a blind eye to his sexist, misogynistic, and offensive behavior for years. This move was beyond overdue, and the network should be ashamed to have propped up this man for so long.”

Media Matters has documented Matthews’ misogyny for years. He was also named Misinformer of the Year in 2005.The misinformer designation is presented annually to the most influential or prolific purveyor of misinformation, lies, and smears in the U.S. media

The MSNBC news gods decided that Matthews’ gross behavior was more detrimental going into a presidential election than having him on set.

See his swan song here: