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Media Muppet: Chris Matthews Says The Quiet Part Loud

Chris Matthews of MSNBC said the quiet part loud recently. He asked his fellow panelists if ‘Democratic moderates’ (we will get to that) would prefer Trump over Sanders as President. This fascinating quip offers some insight into a question I have long wrestled with: in a hypothetical Trump v Sanders race, what does the media do? They hate both Mr. Sanders and Mr. Trump (for equally vacuous, non-policy reasons). So how do they cover such a race? Chris Matthews offered some insight into that question, and we will get to that, but for now, I think some analysis of his quote is warranted.

Matthews and the ‘Moderates’, Preface: Unscrambling the Corporate Speak

Chris Matthews offered the following statement on MSNBC

I’m wondering whether the Democratic moderates want Bernie Sanders to be President? I mean that’s maybe too exciting a question to raise. They don’t like Trump at all. Do they want Bernie Sanders to take over the Democratic Party in perpetuity? He takes it over he sets the direction for the future of the party. Maybe they’d rather wait four years and put in the Democrat they like

Some unscrambling of his corporate nonsense is necessary before proceeding. When he uses the term ‘Democratic moderates’, he means establishment insiders (including the media) and corrupt corporatists. The phrase refers to Party Bosses and leadership. His comment does not refer to actual moderate voters (remember them, Chris?). Matthews, in addition to apparently not caring a fig for voters, cannot say that based on the facts. Bernie Sanders, as part of his recent crushing victory in Nevada, actually won among self-described moderates and even conservatives. Even accounting for the fact that that was a single state, and that voters know very little of labels, his base is by no means as narrow as these corporate hacks would have you believe. So, moderates, in Matthews’ mind, refers to party leadership and media insiders (rich people all) and not voters.

Matthews and the ‘Moderates’, Part Two

Matthews then asks if said ‘moderates’ (again understood as corporate and media insiders) want America’s Dad Bernard Sanders to ‘take over the Democratic party in perpetuity’. It is true, as Matthews points out, that a Sanders takeover would set the agenda for years if not decades to come. Matthews and his fellow rich corporate shills cannot handle the idea of a populist left Democratic party that would actually, you know, win elections since their own taxes might be raised a little. Cry me a river: you have officially become the conservatives we long suspected you were. Selfishness manifested as a political ideology describes you perfectly.

Matthews ends his rant with the idea that ‘moderates’ wait four years and put in a ‘Democrat they like’. That remark is best understood as one who knows that their role in politics is to increase funding for the military, cut corporate and rich people’s taxes and be left-wing on social issues. Such a politician would be an acceptable status quo manager, as a good corporate President is supposed to be. Returning to Matthews for a moment, it is actually not clear what he means when he essentially says that these ‘moderates’ wait four years. Are they to sit this election out (whatever that means). Does this amount to a surrender to Mr. Sanders and his movement? If they do nothing, would Sanders and his movement not take over the party precisely as Matthews fears? Mr. Matthews has been rather incoherent and flagrantly emotional on-air recently, but this is something else.

Sanders, Trump and The Media: What to Do?, Part One: Trump

The prospect of a Bernie Sanders nomination leads to a discussion of the media’s treatment of such a general election. As mentioned in the opening, the media despises both of these candidates, but for different reasons. When it comes to Trump, the media’s disagreement is surface-level nonsense about ‘tone’ and ‘civility’. By contrast, for all their outrage, the media actually agrees with Trump’s policies on many economic issues, and on other issues, they ‘resist’ from the right.

As an example, how much critical coverage did you see on MSNBC of Trump’s tax law, under which 83% of the benefits went to the top 1%? Turning to resistance from the right, consider Rachel Maddow’s coverage of Trump withdrawing some troops from Syria. It was, say it with me now, done to appease drumroll – Russia. The media’s ‘criticism’ of Trump is not substantive because they agree with much of what he is doing.

Sanders, Trump and The Media: What to Do?, Part Two: Sanders 

Now, you might say that the media’s ‘criticism’ of America’s Dad Bernard Sanders is not substantive either. This is true however he is a true threat to the kleptocratic oligarchy that America has become. Trump said all the right things to different people at different times even if they were contradictory. Sanders has actual plans – sentences with verbs in them – to fundamentally change the increasingly oppressive and stagnant economic system under which the average American lives.

Even if the media hates Trump, I would suggest that they hate Sanders more. America’s Dad is not beholden to interest groups and he cannot be bought. Corporate influence means nothing to him: he represents, as Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski said recently ‘big poor’ [a play on big money or big pharma]. A truly diverse, multiracial working-class coalition backs this man, and the media and their fellow members of the insider cocktail circuit are terrified. Finally, much like his predecessor FDR, America’s Dad Bernard Sanders welcomes their hatred.

Conclusion: Out of Touch Media and The Gasoline Firehose 

The media does not seem to realise that the more they rage against Bernie Sanders and his supporters, the more popular he becomes. They have taken the mask off and proved the old quip about the media: that it is a group of billionaires paying millionaires to tell the middle-class to hate and fear the poor. I use this analogy often, but I do so because I believe it holds some truth: the media attacking Sanders, and particularly his supporters, is the equivalent of a firehose pumping out gasoline. It will explode in your face. Ignore for a moment the fact that petulant demands of ‘unity’ while slamming voters are mutually exclusive. The larger point is that attacks from the media make him more popular. When he is ‘attacked’ in these ridiculous ways, he raises more money. One SuperPAC running ads against him even stopped doing so because he raised so much money as a result of their hacky ads.

To bring this full circle, Chris Matthews said the quiet part loud: the establishment Democrats hate Bernie Sanders more than they hate Trump. As I hope I have shown here, that says much about not only the nature of the media’s disagreement with Trump, but how they would cover a potential Trump v Sanders general election.

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  1. Jack Cade

    As I have harped upon for far too long; Gore Vidal once said that the US electoral system comprised one party with 2 right wings. They are not different, excepting that they say they are. Kennedy started the war with Vietnam (after the US funded the French attempts to hold onto
    Indo-China) and the sainted Obama destroyed Libya after the US conned Qaddafi into signing a treaty.
    The Democrats will destroy Bernie. They can’t afford a humanist in the WH.

  2. Aortic

    Gore Vidal also said anyone thinking of running for President of the United States, should immediately, by definition, be disqualified from doing so.

  3. Matters Not


    Sanders has actual plans – sentences with verbs in them – to fundamentally change …

    Indeed he has. And he’s not alone. Nor is he naïve. He knows that the US President is not a member of the legislature (Senate and House of Representatives) and his ‘plans’ will become mere Budget proposals or wish lists, if you like. Again – Sanders knows that. Thus his plans are best seen as ambit claims. Opening gambits that are sure to be watered down. But he ought to be congratulated for his ‘courage’. (As to why he chose to be an undefined socialist in America probably was a fatal mistake.)

    Warren knows that too. Why she retreated when she did, was a mistake in my view.

    Nevertheless, I concur with much of your analysis. Hope to read more.

  4. Pingback: Media Muppet: Chris Matthews Says The Quiet Part Loud #auspol - News Oz

  5. Kathryn

    Being a Democratic Socialist, there can be no doubt that Bernie Sanders would be the BEST thing (since sliced bread) for the USA which has long been regarded as a rigid profit-obsessed and elitist nightmare of stone cold capitalistic neoliberalism. Let’s face it, the leading countries (and economies) in the world are ALL managed by democratic socialist governments (that operate independently from their monarchy, eg Sweden and Denmark).

    There can be no doubt that CAPITALISM only benefits the obscenely rich and powerful at the expense of the vulnerable and is inherently incompatible with the values of freedom and equality. Democratic socialism is the best form of socialism which is based on egalitarianism, shared wealth for the benefit of all, generous taxpayer-subsidised health services (like Medicare in Australia), subsidised education to benefit ALL children no matter the socio-economic background of their parents and government control over vital services such as transport, utilities, the supply of water, health care, aged care and education. When democratic socialist governments control society’s basic and essential functions, it can make better use of resources, reduce the undeniable rising costs and inefficiency of foreign-owned privatisation and protect its citizens jobs in those services. Good democratic socialist governments foster good relations with unions (who work for the benefit of vulnerable employees); they reduce the appalling disparity in wealth, not only in different areas, but also in all societal ranks and classes.

    There is good reason why right-wing-extremism (even fascism), lack of transparency and widespread corruption is rampant in conservative governments (especially within the Trump and Morrison regimes in the USA and Australia), quite simply they don’t give a rat’s behind about society – they only care about THEMSELVES and their billionaire donors in the relentlessly rapacious Top 1%.

    WHY are Americans so terrified of democratic socialism? Because they have been brainwashed for decades that democratic socialism equates to COMMUNISM which is one of the worst, most politically-skewed lies ever perpetrated by heartless capitalistic regimes to attain and maintain power and inequality over their citizens. Are they REALLY that selfish that they are not prepared to pay a little bit more tax to benefit EVERYONE? Just about EVERY civilised country on earth has a government-subsidised health care system to benefit the most vulnerable and poorest people in their midst: the UK, Ireland, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany – even Cuba has a far better and more equitable health care system than America. Bernie Sanders has promised to introduce this highly desirable facet of democratic socialism which can only benefit citizens of the USA.

    The fact that staggering right wing neoliberal capitalists always refer to socialists as “lefties” or “communists” and mention that they, right wing plutocrats, are the only ones who champion the rights of the INDIVIDUALS (provided they are not socialists, communists, muslims, blacks, jews, female or gay – have I missed anyone?) just PROVES that they have not got a shred of credibility nor an ounce of insight as to what a SOCIALIST really is!

    SOCIALISM is NOT communism … as much as the LNP tries to draw parallels with communism.

    A SOCIALIST is defined by its very description, ie someone who CARES ABOUT SOCIETY, who CARES about the rights, independence and egalitarianism of others.

    A SOCIALIST has EMPATHY for the poor, the unemployed, the mentally ill, the homeless, the disabled and the vulnerable.

    A SOCIALIST cares about the future education and employment prospects of our children and grandchildren;

    A SOCIALIST really CARES about the environment and the type of world we LEAVE to our children – as opposed to the rampant, unending greed of capitalists and cold blooded fascists who know the COST of everything but the VALUE of nothing;

    To be an ardent SOCIALIST usually means that one is more predisposed to be kind, generous and compassionate.

    To be a SOCIALIST is to be intelligent, progressive and in tune with our environment and QUALITY OF LIFE;

    To be a SOCIALIST is to have a great respect for democratic process, freedom of speech and the equality of ALL people no matter their race, colour, religion or ideology;

    To be a SOCIALIST is to understand that civil, decent societies are JUDGED by the way they treat their poorest citizens and their children (the callously inhumane Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison regime FAILS on all accounts);

    To be SOCIALIST is a GOOD THING, an honourable thing. SOCIALISTS despise war mongering neoliberal fascism; they abhor despicable LIARS and condemn racists who hide behind insidious flag-waving nationalism and FALSE patriotism which the ultra-conservative right-wing use to divide communities and spread their hatred and vile ideologies.

    When I have a good look at the disgraceful psychopaths in the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison regime, I am even MORE proud of being a socialist and very proud of the like minded, empathetic people who support the socialist cause!

    What do ALL the people named below have in common?

    Jesus Christ, George Orwell, Helen Keller, Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, Pablo Picasso, Martin Luther King Jnr, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, and Australia’s best PM, Gough Whitlam?

    Answer: They were ALL high-achieving, compassionate SOCIALISTS!

    I would like to challenge right wing neoliberals to name ONE SINGLE PERSON (alive or dead) who was an ultra right wing oligarchical neoliberal Republican, Tory or member of the fascist LNP, to name one SINGLE thing they did to benefit mankind. Name ONE neoliberal who achieved ANYTHING that could, in any way, be construed as altruistic or philanthropic! The names that pop up on THIS side of the political fence care NOTHING about democracy, free speech or the rights of others. They are NOTORIOUS war criminals, cruel self entitled CAPITALISTS and/or horrendous authoritarian dictators who couldn’t care two hoots about ordinary citizens. They were/are callously inhumane without a shred of compassion – often hiding their unspeakable cruelty behind a facade of sanctimonious, bible-thumping hypocrisy (like George W Bush, Donald Trump, John Howard, Peter Dutton, Scott Morrison, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, Eric Abetz, Cory Bernardi, Pauline Hanson).

    When you look back through the ignominious history of the Republican movement and the LNP, there isn’t a single right-wing MP worth a dime. Every commitment made to a vile, nasty off-shore war (such as Korea, Vietnam and the horrendous genocidal Iraqi war) has been under a Republican/LNP government who consistently use war, terror, hatred and fear to divide nations. When things look bleak in the polls, the war-mongering right-wing are always prepared to stoop to using WAR as the last resort to cling onto power with bloodstained fingers – ready and willing to sacrifice millions of lives and spend BILLIONS to distract focus from their horrendous policies and/or use hatred and division for their own political agenda. It is ALWAYS a hate-filled, xenophobic right wing government that drags us INTO war and it ALWAYS takes a left-wing, socialist government to get us out of it!

  6. New England Cocky

    Napoleon said: “Never disturb your enemy when they are making mistakes”.

    @Kathryn: The USA (United States of Apartheid) are on course to becoming a democratically elected fascist state, as happened in Germany in the 1930s with genocidal results. The causes are the same, fear of losing often ill-gotten material gains without considering the consequences on the overall community.

    Then there is the old agricultural wisdom about a farmer with two cows …..
    A Communist government takes the two cows for the benefit of the party;
    A Socialist government takes the two cows for the benefit of the people;
    A Conservative government takes the two cows without compensation and sells them cheaply to loyal party members who have donated to party funds.

    It does not matter who you vote for, a politician always gets in.

  7. Roland Flickett

    New England Cocky.

    We beat the USA to it in May 2019. And what’s more, we elected a fascist government in full cognisance of what it was, and by a majority in a country with compulsory voting.
    The first fascist state EVER to be elected by a democratic majority.
    How good is Australia?

  8. Spindoctor

    Excellent article.. Its a rude awakening when the ‘supposedly independent’ media openly out themselves supporting the rigged establishment and clear they want to preserve their vested interest against Sanders. You would think he doesn’t stand a chance but the explanation on this NPR interview is US young voters don’t have the socialism fear that older indoctrinated voters do and see the attraction of a better deal, free tuition, healthcare, living wage etc for everyone. It was very revealing that if Sanders can attract a significant portion of the 100 million who didn’t vote last time, Trump and the openly racist old white men GOP would be well gone and the entire rigged economy would be in for a massive overdue shake up Richard Wolff lays out Sanders position.

  9. Michael Taylor

    Kathryn, a number of my American friends have read your comment and were blown away by it. They’d like me to put it up as a Twitter thread, but I think it will be easier if I used it as an article first. Do I have your OK? 🐿

  10. New England Cocky

    @Roland Flickett: Actually Germany in 1933 was decades ahead of the unthinking Australians in the 2019 Federal elections. The Nazis were democratically elected at that time with the financial support of German heavy industry owners and exploited the 1935 Reichstag fire, thought by some to have been the result of US interference, to declare a Fuhrerstat, or dictatorial rule by decree of the Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, that ended after too many years of domestic German genocide and WWII.

    Remember five major US banks poured 35 MILLION POUNDS STERLING into Germany about 1935 through Farben AC, the subsequent manufacturers of the death gases used in Nazi concentration camps. this effectively mitigated the 36 MILLION POUND STERLING WAR REPARATIONS handed down by the Versailles Treaty in 1919.

    After 1945, the Marshall Plan relieved US interests of any responsibilities and the US taxpayers refunded US corporations the value of their investments in Germany building war materiel to be used against the Allies.

  11. Roland Flickett

    New England Cocky

    Hitler won the election in 1932 on a reduced percentage of 33% (down from 37% the previous election) in an 80% turnout.
    Shortly after, the Nazis banned all opposition parties and SEIZED power in 1933 on reportedly 94% of the votes cast when they went to the people.
    The Germans may well have approved of what he and his party were doing, but they didn’t have compulsory voting in 1932 and he got 34% of 80%. Hardly a ringing endorsement. How they felt in 1934 I do not know.
    We, however, gave Morrison 51.4%, knowing full well what he and his people were like.

    If Pentecostalists believe in Exorcism, why is Dutton still in parliament.

  12. DrakeN

    @Kathryn February 27, 2020 at 8:40 am


    Beatifully put.

    Thank you.

  13. Jack Cade

    Kathryn, every word of your essay is true, and well written.
    Surely no country should allow its infrastructure (including its natural resources) to be administered by private bodies where the first and most important criterion is profit.
    SA had a longstanding RW premier called Tom Playford (when the Right Wing government was LCL – Liberal and Country League.) That didn’t stop him from removing the Electricity Trust from the hands of the profiteering owners because they were not acting in the interests of the people, and he more or less nationalised it.
    That may well have been the last time ANY Conservative party in Australia -state or Federal – ever put its electorate ahead of its sponsors.
    In those days a degree of decorum was played out in SA politics. Playford used to give Don Dunstan a lift home after parliament because Dunstan lived in Norwood and Playford went that way to his home in the Adelaide Hills.

  14. Josephus

    Roland please brush up your history. Herr Adolf was elected by popular vote …never underestimate the bigotry and stupidity of readers of mass circulation news papers.

  15. RomeoCharlie29

    I really like both the original article and Kathryn’s response. I am a huge fan of Bernie, I actually signed up to a betting site specifically so I could bet on him to win in 2016. I didn’t reckon with the extent of the bastardry deployed by the Democrat leadership to sabotage him. There are others who have written about the apparent willingness of the Democrats leadership to sabotage their own campaign to prevent Sanders getting in because, as both Tim and Kathryn point out he has the potential to end their gravy-train careers which are more important to them than doing the best for America (the USA).

    Not only the US but the world needs Bernie elected. Sure his ambitions may be muted by Congress, but some of his big plans might get through before ‘The Establishment’ nobbles him, or worse.

    Regarding Australia’s 2019 election, correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Labor actually win the popular vote, just not enough seats. Same with Clinton v Trump.

  16. Roland Flickett


    Look at the figures. The Nazis got 37% of the vote in the July 1932 Federal election. It became the largest party but did NOT win a majority of the votes.
    I still maintain that Australia is the only country to have knowingly elected a fascist government (meeting all the points raised by Dr Britt in his analysis of fascism) in 2019. And Essential polls suggest that most of the 51.4% is unrepentant.

  17. Jack Cade

    Regarding the antipathy toward Sanders in the politics of the USA, I’ve been watching the various conspiracy theories (and evidence) on the JFK murder. It is pretty clear that he was shot 3 times but one of the Bullard came from a Secret Service officer whose gun went off ‘by mistake’ as he scrambled to get into position. The Secret Service (I almost typed SS) got the Zapruder film almost immediately and excised several frames which showed the last bullet causing the skull to fragment. The missing frames have actually been noted by their identifiable frame numbers.
    I watched this stuff because callers from the US to George Galloway’s radio programme have suggested – as I have posted before – that the Dark State is not beyond what the speakers called ‘The Kennedy Solution’. And the Dark State crosses both parties.
    I have to say that I always thought the Mob knocked JFK, but maybe the Mob included the Secret Service. Whatever the truth is, Sanders has been warned by several supporters to be vigilant and very, very careful.

  18. Harry Lime

    Yes Kathryn,But what about the MONEY?
    Excellent work,but again,how many know or care? Most of us are sleepwalking into a catstrophic nightmare,to join those in the Middle East and elsewhere who are already living it.

  19. Rossleigh

    The sooner that everyone realises that money is just a concept the better… It’s an IOU from a government and it’s only because we trust the government that it has any value at all.
    I mean would you really be prepared to trade your Aussie dollars for Zimbabwian currency at the moment?

  20. Rossleigh

    Actually, strike my previous comment. Aussie dollars may be on the way down with the current government…

  21. New England Cocky

    @Roland Flickett: Thank you for the election detail for the rise of the German Nazis under Hitler in the 1930s.

    I note your point about compulsory voting in Australia, and observe that political commentators rarely consider the “democratic model” when discussing election results for any election. For example, the USA (United States of Apartheid) is regarded as a “democratic state” but a shallow analysis clearly discovers that the voting system is corrupted in more ways than I can discuss here.

    However, I must support the Austrian compulsory voting system because the alternatives give even more disastrous results; Shrubya Bush, Donald Trumpery, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blah, Boris Johnson, Netanyahu to name just a few recent ones. These were appointed before computerised voting allowed easy corruption of vote counting as seen in the past four US Presidential elections.

  22. Roland Flickett

    New England Cocky

    I fully support compulsory voting. I would like proportional representation but have to acknowledge that what we got us what the majority wanted.
    That is my point – WE got the government WE voted for – whether the majority of US on AIM threads like it or not. We have no excuses for re-electing what is PROBABLY the least competent and CERTAINLY the most corrupt federal government Australia has ever had, surpassing the wretched John Howard and his AWB, radiology machines, bailing out his sibling business etc.
    And while I am in the mood for highlighting the unpleasant features of the Morrison mob, the power of his henchman Dutton and the use he makes of law enforcement bodies such as the AFP makes it the most SINISTER government we have ever had.
    Dutton was endorsed by his electorate with an increased majority. So, under our voting system, Dutton is entitled to consider that he and what he stands for is what the electorate wants, and the government is entitled to think so.

  23. DrakeN

    Roland Flickett,

    “We have no excuses for re-electing what is PROBABLY the least competent and CERTAINLY the most corrupt federal government Australia has ever had,…”

    Are you inferring that mental impairment is no longer an excuse?

  24. Roland Flickett


    No, I’m not implying that. Are you inferring that I was implying it? If so, you are wrong. Maybe I didn’t make myself clear. My take is that this country has compulsory voting, and we are assured that 51.4% of the people who actually cast a vote were perfectly happy to endorse what they’d seen of the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison (Dutton) LNP.
    It would take someone like the late Christopher Hitchens to posit an eloquent argument about this last federal election, and he would possibly applaud the people I deplore. I’m not up to it.
    I don’t like it, but gullibility, disinterest, self-interest, ignorance, bigotry, fear, and racism may be unpalatable to some, but singly or collectively do not indicate mental impairment.
    Moral impairment, perhaps.
    But not all 51.4%.

  25. DrakeN

    Sorry, Roland; irony sometimes does not translate well in a written form 😉

    But it does serve to remember that, by definition, 50% of the population is of below average intelligence.

    With regard to “moral impairment” whose morals would those be?
    The Pentacostal cult firmly believes in a self serving morality, where God gives Earthly benefit to those who believe and will take them up in rapture at the “End of Times”.
    The rest of us will burn for eternity.

    Morality is in the mind of the beholder: There is no unified code.

    PS: “and we are assured that 51.4% of the people who actually cast a vote were perfectly happy to endorse what they’d seen of the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison (Dutton) LNP.”
    That’s a false equivalence.
    A great number of people were convinced by the lies and fabrications uttered by the Coalition and its acolytes that the ALP would be detrimental to their personal wellbeing and that the country would collapse under a Labor Government.
    Fear, widely propagated by the commercial mainstream media and others, was a deciding factor for many voters.

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