In a speech at Harvard's Institute of Politics on Monday, Chris Matthews admitted that MSNBC bosses were "basically pro-war during the war." The remark came in a larger discussion of top-down editorial control at the network — of which Matthews claimed there was none, citing the fact that many of his bosses supported Hillary Clinton while he has been very vocal for Obama.
His full statement, in response to a question whether MSNBC officially supports Obama (via Politico's Michael Calderone):
"Well, it's not official." (LAUGH) "Well, I don't think Joe Scarborough has. And I don't think Tucker Carlson did. And Keith does his thing. He does his thing--it's something and it's very successful. I do my thing. I don't think that's true. I think... my sense is that everybody that lives in New York is for Hillary. The people I work with--all my bosses--seem to be for Hillary. I just sense it. They don't actually say it, but there's no sense from the top I can tell you that it's pro-Obama.. by any means. That's not what I get. And it was basically pro-war during the war.. the bosses were. And I was up against that. And if there's anybody telling me to push Obama, I haven't heard it yet. And by the way, they're so fickle.... but there seems to be a New York thing about Hillary. Just the people from... it's like the Yankees and the Mets... it's their thing. You know? It's Hillary. You know? And I feel it. I find it. It's hard to figure sometimes. But I don't know who you are talking about. I know who you are talking about."
As revealed in the New York Times Magazine profile of Matthews by Mark Leibovich, Matthews idolizes NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert like an older brother:
Tim -- as in Russert, the inquisitive jackhammer host of "Meet the Press" -- is a particular obsession of Matthews's. Matthews craves Russert's approval like that of an older brother. He is often solicitous.
In her new book Right is Wrong, Arianna Huffington critiques the media for being too compliant with administration policy during the run-up to war, and she particularly lays into Russert, saying, among other things, that he helped pump up the terrorist panic:
Take Tim Russert, whose July 1, 2007, Meet the Press interview with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was about as priapic a display as you're ever likely to see outside of a porno film or the monkey cage at the zoo, with Russert desperately trying to get Chertoff to pump up the panic meter...You could almost hear the blood rushing to his loins--and the palpable sense of deflation when Chertoff refused to stroke his fantasy