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Matthews Doesn’t Know His History, Either

Having just watched the Hardball clip everyone’s talking about today, in which Chris Matthews embarrasses conservative talker Kevin James over his inability to answer a question about Neville Chamberlain and the Munich conference, I can’t say I’m surprised that none of the liberal bloggers who are going to town with this story have mentioned Matthews’ own historical error. Near the end of the clip, as talk turned to the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, Matthews says, “Wasn’t the U.S.S. Cole [attacked ] under Bush?”

The U.S.S. Cole was bombed on October 12, 2000 — on Clinton’s watch, not Bush’s.
In any case, TNR’s Josh Patashnik’s take on the whole sordid affair is more to the point:

Seriously, though, it’s not like this reflects very well on Chris Matthews, either. Why is he inviting such an obnoxious moron onto his show? There are plenty of people who could represent the conservative position here with some intelligence and class. Why not try to schedule them?

To be fair to James, he’s probably knowledgeable and articulate when talking about issues he knows well. He’s a former assistant U.S. attorney, so he can’t be a complete idiot. But I’ve noticed that some people will go on TV for any reason to talk about anything, without appearing to do even the most basic research into the subjects they’re being asked to opine upon. Even if they don’t have the slightest clue what they’re talking about, they just don’t turn down offers to appear on TV. Every time I get such an offer (and they’re rare), I think about the Kevin James’s of the world before deciding whether to do it, and other pundits would be wise to do the same.  


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