Political talk show host Chris Matthews has announced his “retirement” from MSNBC after a series of recent controversies on and off the air. He made the announcement on Monday night’s edition of “Hardball,” the cable news show he has hosted for 26 years. That was his final broadcast.
The news comes on the heels of several controversies concerning Matthews that have recently piled up. After Vermont senator Bernie Sanders (who’s Jewish) was the clear winner of the Nevada caucuses on Feb. 22, Matthews made the stark analogy of comparing the moment to Nazi Germany invading France during World War II.
After the Democratic debate in South Carolina on Feb. 25, Matthews repeatedly questioned presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s reiterations of the validated report that Mike Bloomberg, also running for president, once having told a female employee to “kill” her pregnancy.
On the Feb. 28 edition of “Hardball”, Matthews confused two African-American men — Jaime Harrison, a Democrat candidate for U.S. senator of South Carolina aiming to challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham, with Graham’s Republican Senate colleague Tim Scott. After Matthews’ guests had corrected him, Matthews admitted he had made a “big mistake.”
Also on Feb. 28, GQ columnist Laura Bassett accused Matthews of making “inappropriate” sexist remarks at her (like “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?”) when she was a guest on his show in 2016.
The 74-year-old Chris Matthews had been a staple of MSNBC since its launch in 1996. His political talk show “Hardball” (named after his 1988 book) has been on TV since 1994 — first on the short-lived NBC-owned cable network America’s Talking (it was known as “Politics with Chris Matthews”), then on CNBC from 1997-99, and finally on MSNBC since 1999.
The following is a full transcript and video of Matthews’ sign-off from MSNBC:
— Chris Matthews (@HardballChris) March 3, 2020
Let me start with my headline tonight. I’m retiring. This is the last ‘Hardball’ on MSNBC and obviously, this isn’t for lack of interest in politics. As you can tell, I’ve loved every minute of my 20 years as host of Hardball.
Every morning, I read the papers and I’m gung-ho to get to work. Not many people have had this privilege. I love working with my producers and the discussions we have over how to report the news. And I love having this connection with you, the good people who watch. I’ve learned who you are, bumping into you on the sidewalk right waiting in an airport and saying “hello, you’re like me.” I heard from your kids and grandchildren who say “my dad loves you,” or “my grandmother loves you or my husband watched until the end.”
But after the conversation I’ve had with MSNBC, I decided tonight will be my last ‘Hardball’, so let me tell you why. The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins. We see them in politics, and the media and fighting for their causes. They are improving the workplace, we’re talking here about better standards than we grew up with, fair standards.
A lot of it has to do with how we talk to each other, compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men including me, might have once incorrectly thought were okay — were never okay. Not then and certainly not today and for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.
I’m very proud of the work I’ve done here. Long before I went on TV, I worked for years in politics, was a newspaper columnist and author. I’m working on another book, I’ll continue to write and talk about politics and cheer on my producers and crew here in Washington in New York, and my MSNBC colleagues. They will continue to produce great journalism in the years ahead.
And for those of you who have gotten into a habit of watching ‘Hardball’ every night, I hope you’re going to miss me because I’m going to miss you. But remember Humphrey Bogart in ‘Casablanca’ we’ll always have Hardball. So let’s not say “goodbye” but “till we meet again.”
A surprised Steve Kornacki would fill-in for the rest of the hour, first saying “That was a lot to take in, I’m sure.” Then added, “Chris Matthews is a giant, he’s a legend.”
There is no news at present who MSNBC will replace Chris Matthews with.