Chris Matthews and Orange Juice

13 April 2008

Chris Matthews (who makes $5 million a year) recently led the following segment, where he remarked upon Sen. Obama's "elitism."

On Hardball, while remarking on Sen. Barack Obama's reported request for orange juice after being offered coffee at an Indiana diner, David Shuster asserted: "[I]t's just one of those sort of weird things. You know, when the owner of the diner says, 'Here, have some coffee,' you say, 'Yes, thank you,' and, 'Oh, can I also please have some orange juice, in addition to this?' You don't just say, 'No, I'll take orange juice,' and then turn away and start shaking hands." Host Chris Matthews agreed, "You don't ask for a substitute on the menu."
Yes, that really happened. Matthews also argued that Obama "is not that good at that - shaking hands at a diner," and that he's not a "regular guy." He even revisited Obama's bowling skills. Read the MSNBC transcript yourself.

As Brendanh Nyhan points out:
This kind of coverage is all too reminiscent of the way Matthews and other members of the press made up bizarre narratives about the color of Al Gore's clothing, his choice of shoes, the way he claps, and the number of buttons on his suit (among many other things).

Going forward, the important question is whether this will be the third presidential race in a row in which the Democratic presidential candidate is treated as an elitist stiff and endlessly psychoanalyzed. I haven't heard anyone talk like this about how John McCain orders orange juice...

What is particularly maddening about this Obama-as-elitist argument is that McCain is the millionaire born into privilege (his father was an Admiral, with the highest pay grade in the entire Navy), who married a millionaire heiress and who has spent the past 20 years as a politician. Obama is the son of a goat herder and a single mother who made his way to an elite school on scholarship and only broke the $1 million mark when the royalties for his best-selling books began to pour in. The born-with-a-silver-spoon argument just doesn't work this time around, and looks particularly ridiculous when you step back and look at the rest of the field.

But when the press corps attends John McCain's birthday parties (seriously) and goes to informal barbecues at his house (watch the video), you can probably count on them to treat this as another trivial "who would you like to have a beer with" election.

1 comment:

Cameron said...

Yeah, these stories are killin' me. Grow up, news media.