What Happened To Chris Matthews? Why Did He Leave His Popular Show ‘Hardball’?
What happened to Chris Matthews, and why did he leave the airwaves so suddenly? Chris Matthews was a mainstay of political commentary for over two decades. As the host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” he brought his signature blend of passion, insight, and wit to millions of viewers every night. But in March 2020, Matthews suddenly announced his retirement from the show, leaving many fans and colleagues stunned.
What Was The Case of Chris Matthews?
In March 2020, Chris Matthews, a seasoned journalist and former anchor of “Hardball” on MSNBC announced his retirement from the program in response to claims of improper conduct towards a female guest. Journalist Laura Bassett claims that Matthews made lewd comments to her in February 2020 when she was getting her cosmetics done for an appearance on his show.
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In his resignation announcement, Matthews expressed regret for his behavior, saying that he and other men had found it acceptable to make remarks about women’s appearances. Bassett later accepted Matthews’ apologies on Twitter and expressed gratitude for taking responsibility for his error before handing the show over to Steve Kornacki.
Chris Matthews Career
It’s essential to take a moment to consider Matthews’ career as a whole before delving into the commotion that surrounds his departure. Matthews has a distinguished career as a veteran journalist. Before transitioning to television, he wrote speeches for President Jimmy Carter. Before receiving his own show, “Hardball,” in 1997, he was a prominent commenter on news shows during the 1990s.
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The following 23 years saw Matthews remain a mainstay on MSNBC. Throughout that time, he covered every presidential race in addition to a vast array of other political issues. He was renowned for his incisive analysis, fiery interviews, and skill at balancing seriousness with humor.
Why then did Matthews depart “Hardball” so suddenly? The solution can be found in a dispute that started in late February 2020. Several individuals found Matthews’ remarks concerning Bernie Sanders’ victory in the Nevada caucus offensive when he made them during a live broadcast.
By adding, “I’m reading last night about the collapse of France in the summer of 1940…and the general phones up Churchill and says, “It’s over,” Matthews equated Sanders’ victory to the German invasion of France. Churchill asks, “How is it possible? You have the largest army in all of Europe. How is it already over?” It’s over, he declared.
The comments immediately drew widespread criticism. Many viewers and fellow journalists accused Matthews of making an insensitive and historically ignorant comparison. Sanders supporters were particularly incensed, arguing that Matthews had long been hostile to their candidate.
Within days, Matthews issued an apology on air, saying, “I was wrong to refer to an event from the last days, or actually the first days, of World War II…Senator Sanders, I’m sorry for comparing anything from that tragic era in which so many suffered, especially the Jewish people, to an electoral result in which you were the well-deserved winner.”
Even after the apology, the scandal persisted. In an earlier interview with Elizabeth Warren, Matthews made remarks that drew criticism for suggesting that she was being “evasive” about her healthcare plans. Warren backers deemed the remarks disrespectful and sexist, and others demanded Matthews be fired.
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Then, on March 2, 2020, Matthews made a live on-air announcement of his departure from “Hardball.” In order to “make space for younger, more diverse perspectives,” he declared that it was appropriate for him to “retire.” Several people were surprised by the announcement, and some questioned whether Matthews was being fired because of the uproar. Matthews asserted that it was his decision and disputed that he was compelled to quit.
Mathew’s Return To MSNBC
Fifteen months later, Matthews made a surprise return to MSNBC in September 2021. Matthews also made an appearance on Morning Joe and offered his thoughts on the rally held by former president Donald Trump in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He attacked Trump’s use of violence and its impact on his fans, saying that the former president enjoys using it and that it seems to go hand in hand with him.
In an unexpected appearance on Joy Reid’s program on MSNBC fifteen months later, Matthews talked about his new book, the Capitol riots, and voting rights. Matthews momentarily addressed the sexual harassment claims that prompted his dismissal, admitting that he made inappropriate comments about someone’s appearance in the makeup area. He accepted responsibility for his error and admitted that it cost him the opportunity to perform.
The Fallout: Assessing Matthews’ Legacy
An era of political analysis came to an end with Matthews’ retirement on “Hardball.” Whether you like him or not, Matthews paved the way for political discourse on television. His resignation served as a further reminder of the influence and dangers of live television. Matthews made remarks against Sanders.
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