In recent weeks, Chris Matthews has discussed John F. Kennedy on MSNBC’s Hardball as if he were being paid by the word. But in the last few days he’s stopped. This is a strange development given how enthusiastic Matthews was for Kennedy trivia only last week. “Up next,” he announced on February 1, “new audiotapes of the day Jack Kennedy was assassinated. These things are coming out now. I guess it`s anniversary, things are starting to come out.” Since the start of the year, over and over when introducing the topic, he explained that he wanted to talk about things regarding Kennedy because they were “in the news.” Anything that “add[ed] to the story of this elusive hero” is welcome, Matthews noted. His enthusiasm is explicable; Matthews has a book out about the 35th president, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. But why the sudden silence?
Incidentally, in other, unrelated, news, a new book entitled Once Upon a Secret will be released tomorrow. It’s written by Mimi Alford, a former White House intern who was one of JFK’s many former mistresses, and it contains accounts of how the former president “pimped out” Alford, forced her to take drugs, pressured her to have an (illegal) abortion when he thought she was pregnant, and regularly flew her in to Washington when his wife was away. Over the weekend the story hit the papers, many of which ran previews of the lurid and sensational stories of infidelity that Alford has finally put on paper.
Amazingly, the word “Kennedy” didn’t appear once on last night’s Hardball, nor on last Friday’s. Given how much Matthews likes to talk about “Jack,” this strikes me as odd:
Feb 6: No mention.
(Feb 4-5: Story about Mimi Alford breaks.)
Feb 3: No mention.
Feb 1: Matthews discusses the newly released tapes from the day Kennedy was shot, Kennedy’s relationship with LBJ, and Kennedy’s attitude toward Vietnam.
Jan 30: Nothing on JFK. Matthews mentions Ted Kennedy instead.
Jan 27: Mentions his book and announces that he’ll be signing copies at a Barnes and Noble in Florida
Jan 26: Refers to his JFK book and announces that he’ll be signing copies in Florida the next day.
Jan 25: Discusses the Kennedy tapes from presidential library, then talks about Kennedy and Vietnam.
Jan 23: Mentions Nixon vs. Kennedy.
Jan 20: Mentions that Kennedy was rich and accuses Romney of making up that people dislike him for it. Announces a book event in Tampa, Fla.
Jan 19: Announces an event in New Jersey at which he’ll be discussing his book.
Jan 18: Compares Obama’s naivety in Afghanistan to Kennedy’s with the Bay of Pigs.
Jan 17: Mentions Bobby Kennedy. Mentions his JFK book.
Jan 16: No mention.
Jan 13: Mentions JFK in relation to Romney’s Mormonism. Talks about how great a speaker JFK was. Says this election will be as close as Kennedy and Nixon.
Jan 12: No mention. Mentions Ted Kennedy instead.
Jan 11: Says his book on JFK is better than Jodi Kantor’s book on “The Obamas.”
Can anyone spot a trend?
The one and only.