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Chris Matthews profile in NYT Magazine

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Alma, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member


    At its core is a central thesis about the future of cable news. Does the profile actually get around to addressing it properly, or does it just use it as a plausible pier from which it jumps off into the nuttiness that is Matthews.

    I dunno; some interesting stuff here. I wonder if it quite all comes together. If nothing else, there are a couple laughs in it.
  2. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    The very thought of him replacing Bob Schieffer is frightening.
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    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  4. Dale Cooper

    Dale Cooper Member

    My favorite line in the piece:

    An MSNBC spokesman, Jeremy Gaines, tried, after the fact, to declare Russert’s outfit “off the record.”
  5. Grohl

    Grohl Guest

    I read this yesterday and was annoyed. It's a good enough read, I guess, but it seemed completely unnecessary. As you said, the claimed thesis was about the future of cable news, and whether there was a place in it for a guy like Matthews, who I guess is supposed to be the last of a particular breed. There was none of that. Instead, it was just a gossipy, ha-ha, see-how-I-can-make-Chris-Matthews-look-silly piece.

    Does anyone outside of the very insular world of TV and Washington media really care about that? Was that worth all the space the Times devoted to it? Were any readers really served by it? Profile pieces are fine, but this promised something else -- something more substantive -- and didn't deliver. If it was just going to be a profile, I can't see how anyone would think Matthews would merit such a lengthy piece. This was a complete waste of resources. I expect more, especially from the Times. I'm not sure why it bothered me so much, but it did.
  6. Dale Cooper

    Dale Cooper Member

    I'm curious as to why you guys think it promised more? To me it read like a regular profile, and I enjoyed it.
  7. Grohl

    Grohl Guest


    I guess it was paragraphs like these, from early in the piece:

    "Yet for as basic as he has become to the political and media furniture, Matthews is anything but secure. He is of the moment, but, at 62, also something of a throwback — to an era of politics set in the ethnic Democratic wards of the ’60s and the O’Neill-Reagan battles of the ’80s. And he is a product of an aging era of cable news, the late-’90s, when “Hardball” started and Matthews made his name as a battering critic of Bill Clinton during the Monica saga.

    "Cable political coverage has changed, however, and so has the sensibility that viewers — particularly young ones — expect from it. Matthews’s bombast is radically at odds with the wry, antipolitical style fashioned by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert or the cutting and finely tuned cynicism of Matthews’s MSNBC co-worker Keith Olbermann. These hosts betray none of the reverence for politics or the rituals of Washington that Matthews does. On the contrary, they appeal to the eye-rolling tendencies of a cooler, highly educated urban cohort of the electorate that mostly dismisses an exuberant political animal like Matthews as annoyingly antiquated, like the ranting uncle at the Thanksgiving table whom the kids have learned to tune out."

    And several paragraphs down:

    "But the broader issue involves whether Matthews is a man trapped in a tired caricature. And it touches on the future of his archetype in general — in other words, whither the cable blowhard? The “What happens to Chris” question — a hot topic at NBC these days — infuses the Matthews story with a kind of “lion in winter” urgency, if not poignancy. It also goes to the core of how Matthews sees himself, how cable news is changing and how Americans perceive of and consume their politics."

    The writer raised all of those "broader issues" but didn't really address them. All he did was profile Matthews. And what did we find out? That he might not like -- or is jealous of -- guys like Olberman, Russert and David Gregory? That he makes awkward comments to attractive women? So what? It just seemed silly and frivolous, especially when something more was promised.
  8. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Finally got around to reading the profile. The story makes Matthews look like a buffoon. Article seems like a needless hatchet job that I actually felt uncomfortable reading.

    You would think Matthews would be more savvy but it seems like he was almost set up by the Times. He gave the writer almost unlimited access including inviting him to his home for Sunday brunch and Mark Leibovich just hammers him.
  9. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    Read it today. It was entertaining, but, I agree, the whole "broader issues" about the direction of cable news thing was kind of a tease. Yeah, cool cynics like Olbermann and Jon Stewart are more popular these days than goofy for-the-love-of-the-game types like Matthews. Well that's pretty obvious, and the rest was a personality profile.
  10. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    In the words of Opey and Anthony -- "Keith Olberman is a douche bag". I guess he is not popular with everyone.

    With Jon Stewert's Oscar Performance it might be time to pick up the white courtesy phone.
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