Last night, Chris Matthews appeared on the Tonight Show, where he made an emotional appeal to American voters to remain racially open-minded at the polls and "think the way that" kids think.
I hope for one thing when people go to vote: that they look at [Obama's] background, that they look at the age of the two candidates, that they look at their abilities and really open up their hearts and say "what's really good for my kids," who don't have any color awareness.
Kids don't think about race. Think like your kids for once. Think the way they think. It would be great if the older people in the country, the 70 year olds, the 80 year olds who are suspicious of change to say, "you know, why don't I think the way my kids are thinking and think about the future."
Whatever they decide, just open up your heart to this prospect of something different. That's what I hope we do.
Naturally, it's hard to fault the noble sentiments behind Matthews' message. At the same time, it's hard to fault anyone who interprets Matthew's message as an ambiguous endorsement of Barack Obama.
There are obviously many gray areas. Matthews is clearly a member of "the media," but he's not exactly a newsman. Matthews exists in the area between moderator and pundit, trafficking in a sort of news that's more based on pure opinion and open-ended analysis than fact. Moreover, the media landscape is dotted with personages whose biases are easily divined. And besides, it's hard to make an appeal for colorblindness at the polls without appearing to back Obama.
Still, Matthews' remarks also come at a time when the GOP is running ads that accuse the media of being "in love" with Obama - and that explicitly references Matthews' own famous "thrill up the leg" comment.