Two Segments, Four Guests, All Republicans...
By Brad Jacobson on 1/29/2009, 3:03pm PT  

Guest blogged by Brad Jacobson of MediaBloodhound

If you're Chris Matthews and you're attempting to regain a reputation for being "fair and balanced" after famously exhibiting excitement about Barack Obama and his presidential campaign, what do you do? How about facilitating a discussion about Obama's proposed stimulus plan with two lawmakers from the same party, the Republican Party?

That's precisely what Matthews did during a segment on his January 27 edition of Hardball, inviting only Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada) and Representative Mike Pence, the House Republican Conference Chair, to discuss the plan.

Not enough?... How about a segment exploring whether Rush Limbaugh is the "new voice of the GOP" but once again facilitating the "balanced" discussion with two people on the right and no one on the left or even center?

(Never mind that Limbaugh has been the voice of the Republican Party for two decades and counting.) In the very same broadcast, Matthews did this as well, bringing on MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan and right-wing radio talk show host Heidi Harris (you might remember that Harris, appearing on Hardball during the election season, had told Matthews that women vote for Democrats because they "tend to think with their hearts and not with their minds").

Want more? How about, in the process, framing a question based on Rush Limbaugh's assertions and posing it to these two other right-wingers while prefacing the question with the words "let's get back to the facts here"?

MATTHEWS: Look, let's get back to the facts here. Does he [Limbaugh] have something here by saying that Barack Obama is trying to get the Republicans to join him, or at least a handful of them, so that he can share the blame if it [stimulus plan] doesn't work? Is that a reasonable claim?

This kind of fairness and balance not only rivals Fox News but threatens to out-Fox it.

Does anyone doubt that Matthews once again feels a thrill running up his leg? It's official: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Matthews is back!

Cross-posted from MediaBloodhound.

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