Thursday, October 04, 2007

Chris Mathew's New Book Ripped by Jon Stewart

Chris Mathews is a very powerful, well-connected pol (worked for Tip O'Neal when he was Majority Leader of the House) turned broadcaster with two or more TV shows. I have seen him time after time harass guests by interrupting answers to his questions or putting wholly new questions to guests while the poor slob being interviewed is trying to finish an answer to the previous question. It is not how hosts ought to act in my opinion. Matthews got a taste of what being on his show is like when he appeared recently on Jon Stewart's Daily Report to promote his new book Life's a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success. He made a serious blunder by equating success in political campaigns and achieving our goals and then coming on Jon Stewart's show. He could have picked another word besides 'campaign."

Stewart eviscerated him right in front of my eyes. Matthews' book seems to be about what we can learn from how politicians manage to rise to the top. One of the most important things, he says, is that politicians, to be successful, must listen to others. He cited Bill Clinton as an exemplar of that. He then went on to say that Clinton said that it worked for him in school in gettinbg girls. You can imagine what Stewart did with that. Think, "Monica."

When Matthews asked Stewart what he thought of the book, he replied that it seemed like a recipe for sadness, not success. He was also distressed that Mathews didn't mention being honest as a way toward being successful. Matthews replied that a book has already been written on that sort of thing, namely the Bible. At this point Steward said that Chris's book has also been written already, namely The Prince.

There is still another book that has been written that, along with The Prince, covers the content of Matthews' book, namely How to Win Friends and Influence People. Right now I don't have time to take another look Dale Carnegie's and Machiavelli's books or Matthews' book to see if the former cover the material in the latter. So, maybe Stewart and I are a bit off base. Still, Stewart performed a public service I hope he has learned from. Namely, hosts should be polite to guests and let them speak.

I wonder if Stewart was as annoyed as I am with Mathews' “interrogation” style of interviewing where his agenda rather than the guest's is promoted or that Mathews simply has laid himself open to the best comedian in the country, at least insofar is intelligence, knowledge, wit, and quickness of thought are concerned. What was funny was seeing Mathews, who is seen by many as a big mover and shaker, turned into a totally flustered, helpless man. Mathews got what he deserved to have the chutzpah to write a “self help” book predicated on how politicians, some of the least admired people in the country, behave in order to be selected to run for office. If I write a book like that you are allowed to put me in the stocks for a day. Check out the Comedy Central site.

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Blogger Mrs. Geezerette said...

I didn't see Jon Stewart interview Mathews. I wish I had, because it would have given me great satisfaction.

Mathews drives me nuts with his incessant interrupting of guests and changing of the subject so that he has control and can move his own agenda forward. I want to hear what his guests have to say without his interfering. It is so frustrating. It makes me want to stick my hand through the TV screen and slap it over Mathews' mouth sometimes.

11:11 AM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

I don't really know anything about Chris Mathews (I've never really watched his TV show) but I did check out the links you gave...the idea of getting ahead in life by using political manipulation tactics really appalls me at the moment.

I have been wanting to read "The Prince" for a while. When I find a unabridged copy on audio cassette or CD I'm going to jump on it.

8:11 PM

Blogger Ripple said...

I saw that interview. My favorite part was where Matthews, in his defense, started saying how this was the worst interview to ever happen to anyone, or something like that. He was just reeling.

9:25 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

I agree Paul, the moment was priceless. The way he put it was odd, something like "this was the worst interview I have ever had." He seemed to be totally astonished but, at least, had the composure not to act mad. His problem is that Stewart is very, very popular so a rant against him could backfire.

7:25 AM

Blogger Pam Robinson said...

Stewart didn't even break a sweat taking Matthews apart. If it was a conscious imitation of Matthews, it ws priceless. But either way, Stewart is soooo much smarter and faster on his feet that Matthews didn't stand a chance. Hooray!

4:49 PM


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