Mr. Cope’s Cave: For Chris’ Sake

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Do me a favor. After you’re done reading this—if in fact you finish reading it—go to that “share” feature down at the bottom and do whatever it takes to “share” it with Chris Matthews. I believe his email box, or whatever, can be found at msnbc.com.

You may not all know who Chris Matthews is, so I’ll tell you. He is the host of my favorite show on the MSNBC news channel, which is the one you oughta be watching, should you not already know that.

Yes, MSNBC is generally as slanted to the Democrat end of the political prism as those dumb bastards on Fox News are to the Republican side. The difference is, of course, while MSNBC makes the occasional mistake, Fox News is nothing more than one big mistake.

On MSNBC, when one of the talking heads says something that isn’t true, it’s almost always because there was some faulty reporting going on, and the mistake is usually corrected within 24 hours.

When a talking head on Fox says something that isn’t true, it is almost always because the person saying it is either a proven liar, a proven idiot or both. And they seldom, if ever, take any of their lies back. In fact, the better a liar a Fox personality is, the higher he moves up the network totem pole. Case in point: Sean Hannity. That particular dumb bastard has been caught in so many stupid lies, he makes Bill O’Reilly look almost honest, and almost smart.

(Note I said almost. And anyway, I made a mistake using that comparison, as there is nothing in the world that could make Bill O’Reilly look either honest or smart. The way I should have phrased it is something along the lines... While Bill O’Reilly could never be considered either honest or smart by a person with a brain or a sense of decency, next to Sean Hannity, he looks like a genius Boy Scout.)

But back to Chris Matthews. I like his show Hardball (on weekdays at 5 p.m.) because he consistently has the most astute and erudite political analysts on television. Howard Fineman. David Corn. Joan Walsh and Eugene Robinson and Joy Reid, to name but a handful. When these people say something about what’s happening in Washington, D.C., you can have it framed and hang it on your wall. They are smart people who are careful about what comes out of their mouths, contrary to what happens with Fox analysts—who, it is my best guess, were chosen when Roger Ailes went to whatever bar he hangs out in and hired, on the spot, the loudest, most abrasive, dickiest and douchiest regulars from the nightly Happy Hour crowd.

In fact, there’s only one problem with Chris Matthews’ show, Hardball, and that would be Chris Matthews. I’m not suggesting he is the loudest, most abrasive, dickiest and douchiest person on MSNBC—that honor would probably have to go to Joe Scarborough—but Matthews is, undoubtedly, the most rude.

Rude. Just plain rude.

I mean, he gets these astute and erudite minds on his show, day after day, year after year, to analyze the prevailing political winds, and then constantly, repeatedly, endlessly, obnoxiously, rudely, interrupts them as they desperately try to answer the questions that Matthews, himself, has asked them. He’s like a severely attention-deficit-disordered teenager in the debate club. Over and over, I find myself screaming at my poor television screen, “Shut up, you horse’s ass, and let the smart guys talk!”

Not that I consider Matthews a dummy. He’s plenty smart enough to hold his own with the bigger brains to whom he plays host.

But for every continuing story or political situation, he gets in his mind a metaphorical image—usually borrowed from the last movie he’s seen, and by his own admission, he sees a lot of movies—and hammers it like a rusty railroad spike into the discussion, over and over, whether it’s an apt image or not. The guest, whoever it is, is left to sit there and grin, as though he or she thinks it’s as funny as Matthews does—although, now and then, I think I see a glimmer in one of their eyes which, if I am interpreting correctly, indicates an urge to reach across the table and slap him into shocked, and welcome, silence.

Perhaps it is Matthews’ Philadelphia upbringing, which he can’t seem to get through a show without mentioning. Maybe everyone in Philadelphia is rude and never lets anyone else complete a thought. Should that be the case, then Matthews needs to be told that there are other parts of America where such behavior puts people off. He should be told that politeness is four-fifths of civility, no matter one’s political leanings.

Which is why I am asking you all to “share” this blog with msnbc.com. Think of it this way: I’ve taken the time to write the letter; all I’m asking out of you is that you put it in the mail.

Whether Matthews will ever read one of them, let alone a dozen or two (hopefully), is anyone’s guess. But let us imagine there is an underling there at MSNBC—perhaps an earnest intern whose duties include surveying all the incoming email—who will approach Matthews and whisper in his ear, “There are two dozen messages for you, Mr. Matthews, and they all say the same thing.”

And Mr. Matthews, with his back to the quivering intern, says, “Well, don’t just stand there. Tell me what they say.”

At which point the young person, who hopes to one day make a career in broadcast news, leans forward and whispers in Chris’ ear. “Shut up, you horse’s ass, and let the smart guys talk!”