It seems that MSNBC is rallying behind Chris Matthews and his “criminality” comment. On Friday’s Countdown, Keith Olbermann labeled Fox News analyst Peter Johnson as the third worst person in the world for this comment:
Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson said Matthews has “forgotten he’s not in some Capitol Hill barroom, talking about ‘criminality’ in the White House.”
As evidence that Matthews was correct and Johnson was worse than Mugabe, Than Schwe and the three teens who set a homeless person on fire in Harlem yesterday, Olbermann brought up Scooter Libby’s conviction. Yes, it’s true that that would be “criminality in the White House,” but I don’t think anyone thought that’s what Matthews was talking about at his party. Here’s the excerpt from the Examiner that’s in question:
In front of an audience that included such notables as Alan Greenspan, Rep. Patrick Kennedy and Sen. Ted Kennedy, Matthews began his remarks by declaring that he wanted to “make some news” and he certainly didn’t disappoint. After praising the drafters of the First Amendment for allowing him to make a living, he outlined what he said was the fundamental difference between the Bush and Clinton administrations.
The Clinton camp, he said, never put pressure on his bosses to silence him.
“Not so this crowd,” he added, explaining that Bush White House officials — especially those from Vice President Cheney’s office — called MSNBC brass to complain about the content of his show and attempted to influence its editorial content. “They will not silence me!” Matthews declared.
“They’ve finally been caught in their criminality,” Matthews continued, although he did not specify the exact criminal behavior to which he referred. He then drew an obvious Bush-Nixon parallel by saying, “Spiro Agnew was not an American hero.”
If all Matthews was talking about was Scooter Libby, that’s not “make some news” in my opinion. Here’s the link for the transcript of Friday’s Hardball (should be posted Monday, or if Columbus Day is an official NBC holiday, Tuesday) where Matthews basically made the same argument that Libby’s conviction makes his statement correct. (About half way through the broadcast)