Over at Media Matters, there's an amusing piece on how Hardball host Chris Matthews was interviewing the Rev. Jerry Sutton on Pat Robertson's latest idiocy, where the theme of that MM piece is how Sutton refused to admit that Robertson had used the word "assassinate," even after Matthews emphasized that he did. Go read it. Take your time. I'll wait.
I hope you see Media Matters' point since, quite simply, they blew it. The fact that another Christian minister is just another cheap sleazebag is not news. What is news, though, is the sheer incompetence of Matthews in not making sure Sutton was prepared before coming on the show.
Witness the following exchange (emphasis added):
MATTHEWS: I want to start with the Reverend Jerry Sutton, who is an evangelical minister. And he's a wonderful host to us when we went down to visit his great church down there in Nashville. What do you -- what should we make of Pat Robertson when he says one day, go kill that guy, and, the next day, says, never mind, like he is Gilda Radner saying, you know, never mind? Should we take him seriously?
SUTTON: Chris, I think that, in the situation here, that Pat was speaking off-the-cuff. Actually, he was speaking as political commentary. I don't -- from what I read in the transcript -- I didn`t see the show. I read the transcript. He sure seemed to me to be someone who was basically speaking as a frustrated American, more than an evangelical leader.
What the hell? He didn't see the show? Then what was he doing on Hardball, fer Chrissake?
If Matthews is going to invite some evangelical dingbat onto his show to discuss Robertson, how is it possible that he didn't set things up properly first, as in:
"Hey, Rev. Sutton? Chris Matthews here. Look, we want an evangelical perspective on Pat Robertson's recent comments, and we'd like you to be a guest. So we want to make sure you've seen the show in question, and read the transcript so you're in a position to talk about it.
"What's that? You haven't seen the show yet? How could you have missed it, it's been replayed about 8,000 times on every major network on the planet.
"No problem, we'll get you a transcript and a video copy, just make sure you've reviewed them thoroughly before you show up since I'll be asking your opinion, understand? Great."
But no. Sutton shows up, then pleads ignorance and gets to weasel out of taking a stand. This is not Sutton's fault, he's just your run-of-the-mill religious dingbat. Matthews, on the other hand, should have known better. He just pooched this one, big time.
And Media Matters should have been smart enough to call Matthews on it.
My guess: Matthews told the researcher who set up his appearance that he had indeed seen the relevant part of the show. Then, once he got on air, he lied.
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