Chris Matthews is (still) a Shill for the Insider Machine

This blog was originally posted August, 4 2015.

Mahatma Gandhi supposedly once said about all successful political revolutionaries that “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Gandhi was, of course, talking about his own struggle against British colonialism, but his famous line is as relevant today as it was in the 1920s or 1930s. Case in point: how the powers-that-be and their allies in the mainstream media are responding to Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

First, they ignored him. Then, when Bernie started surging in the polls and they couldn’t get away with ignoring him, they laughed at him and said he was just another long-shot protest candidate.

When that didn’t work, they went on the attack. They dug up dirt from Bernie’s past that wasn’t really dirt and distorted his record to accuse him of being bad on race, guns, and immigration.

Well, those attacks apparently didn’t work either, because now the mainstream media has started going after Bernie for, you guessed, it being a “socialist.”

The man leading this line of attack is MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who first brought it up on an episode of Hardball Thursday night when he asked DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz the difference between a “Democrat like Hillary Clinton and a socialist like Bernie Sanders.”

Schultz couldn’t give a straight answer and flubbed the question once again when Chuck Todd asked her it on Meet the Press Sunday. That’s when Chris Matthews, who was also a guest on Meet the Press, stepped in and gave the answer he’d been looking for all along.

The difference between socialist and Democrats, Matthews said, was that socialists want the government to control the entire economy while Democrats just want to make small reforms to the economy help out the poor.

Matthews went on to say that the reason Debbie Wasserman Schultz wasn’t making the distinction between socialists and Democrats was that she didn’t “want to offend the Bernie people.”

First things first, Chris Matthews is totally wrong about Bernie Sanders and socialism. I know Bernie, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from years of talking to him it’s that he’s not a socialist, or at least not the kind of socialist Chris Matthews says he is.

He’s a democratic socialist, which as he explained to George Stephanopoulos earlier this year, just means that he wants to make America more like Scandinavia, a region, by the way, that has a flourishing market economy and is home to 4 of Forbes’ top 10 countries to do business in.

Got that? All Bernie Sanders wants to do is make American more like Scandinavia. He doesn’t want the government to take over the economy. I repeat, he doesn’t want the government to take over the economy. And that’s because state control over the economy isn’t a democratic socialist idea.

Sure, it’s a communist idea, but democratic socialists like Bernie have zero interest in Soviet-style communism. They’re all about regulated capitalism; they just don’t want it having anything to do with the commons.

Sounds pretty harmless, right? Not if you’re Chris Matthews.

You won’t hear this on Fox So-Called News, CNN, MSNBC, or any of the traditional letter networks, but the real divide in Washington isn’t between Democrats and Republicans, it’s between insiders and outsiders.

Insiders are like the mafia. If you’ve proven your insider bonafides by not straying too far outside what DC elites think is “acceptable,” then you’re a made man who can do no wrong.

But if you do stray outside the acceptable limits of Beltway opinion, and start actually calling for real change, then prepare to catch the wrath of the insider elite. This is what’s going on right now with Chris Matthews’ Bernie Sanders socialism obsession.

Bernie is one of the few true outsiders in DC politics, and his success terrifies career insiders like Chris Matthews because it threatens all the power and influence they’ve gobbled up over the years.

Insiders vs. outsiders - it really is as simple as that.

And that’s something everyone needs to remember as the 2016 presidential campaign moves forward, because the attacks aren’t just going to come from the right - they’re going to come from all over the place from insiders who want to keep the status quo in place and their multi-million dollar paychecks coming.


Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 37 weeks ago

Socialism is a complex and nuanced subject. Even Marxism has many interpretations and applications, there are the Leninist forms and, subsequently, the Stalinist, Maoist, and those of Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Mihn and others that practiced "benevolent" and "transitory" dictatorship and interpretations of Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg and Gerhard Schroeder that would not dispense with the democratic process even temporarily and would share a society democratically with non socialists.
All socialists believe in nationalization of industry but democratic socialists believe in its ensuing democratic (and thus, genuine) control by the people and in democratic means for their political-economic tendency of socialism to gain and keep power.
A good time to plug my newly updated blog post,, which now has a description of the relationship between Lenin and Stalin and their final falling out. The post contains much information on a widely misunderstood subject very useful for those unfamiliar with it.
I think I will continue to promote it as I will continue to improve it.

cccccttttt 7 years 37 weeks ago

Big fan of Bernie and hope he prevails.

However, he loses if the conversation is about "socialism"

as Repubs have poisoned the label.

He wins if his ideas are clearly explained as voters wil see their

benefit and wisdom.


jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 7 years 37 weeks ago

CHRIS MATTHEWS continues to call BERNIE a socialist. HE called BERNIE a socialist yesterday and again today, just a few minutes ago.

"THE socialist from VERMONT." and then again alittle later. "a socialist as BERNIE SANDERS calls himself."

AS long as he has been in the business he knows BERNIE is a democratic socialist and he knows the difference.


jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 7 years 37 weeks ago

CHRIS MATTHEWS continues to call BERNIE a socialist.HE called BERNIE a socialist yesterday and again just a few minutes ago.

"THE socialist from VERMONT."

AS long as he has been in the business he knows BERNIE is a democratic socialist and he knows the difference.


ChristopehrCurrie's picture
ChristopehrCurrie 7 years 37 weeks ago

That's an example of why I no longer watch Chris Matthews' Hard Ball show.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 37 weeks ago

Chris Matthews is doing himself a disservice. There is no way his pathetic little show can stop the Bernie Tsunami. He falsely believes that TV media is still king. He doesn't know that social media has already replaced it. He's about to have a very rude awakening that could cost him vital ratings in the future. Adios Chris! You won't be missed.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 37 weeks ago

I never liked Chris Matthews and had a pet name for him: “Motor Mouth”. Not only a high-speed gum flapper but a liar to boot. His description of socialism is sheer nonsense.

This illustrates why I shit-canned TV. There’s so little there of any substance anymore. Made no sense to pay for the privilege of having my intelligence insulted on a daily basis by lightweight celebrity pundits like Chris Matthews, spouting off all this goofy shit they either know nothing about or are dumbing-down deliberately, just to keep the “masses” misinformed as their corporate masters dictate. Either way, my time and money are worth more than that. So nowadays I catch my news either in print or online. Works for me! And I don’t miss that cable bill either.

I think the success of Bernie’s campaign thus far proves that more and more people are discovering alternatives to corporate media and leaving that racket behind.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee 7 years 37 weeks ago

If you want, an hdmi cable plugged into your laptop and your flatscreen allows great content that can be shared with friends. My daughter hooked her spotify through the screen mounted on her bedroom wall, too. Then Netflix, Youtube, or whatever. No tv network propaganda at all, just information and entertainment.

Cyber Ghost is a VPN that acts as an anonymiser, and offers access to regional programming locked out of normal DNS servers and locations.

There are other VPNs, 'Hide my ass' is one I remember when I was searching.

Kilosqrd's picture
Kilosqrd 7 years 37 weeks ago

Reply #4

Bernie is a socialist. What's the big deal? Bernie calls himself a socialist. He belongs to the Democratic Socialist Party. Read their website. They are socialists.

One more thing, until Bernie declares himself a democrat, he will not run as a democrat. Do you really believe the Democrat Party is going to let a self declared Independent (socialist) run for President under the Democrat banner?.

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 37 weeks ago

Kilo bang on. Is Bernie isn't a Socialist what is. Interesting how politics is changing. Poeple are truly sick of the same old crap. The left is moving far left and the right moving even further right. Sanders and Trump leading in the poles. Who would have thought. My question is can America aford all the promises Bernie is making? After all your current government has racked up almost ten trillion in debt in the last seven years.

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 37 weeks ago

Alice could you say something nasty to me just to remind of of the good old days. LOL

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 7 years 37 weeks ago

Good blog and comments, but I have one correction. Ghandi apparently never said the quote in the beginning of the post. The apparent source of the quote was a trade unionist in the U.S. named Nicholas Klein, in 1918.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 7 years 37 weeks ago

Hello Mark. Fancy running into you over here. :)

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 36 weeks ago

Reply to #11: Kend, you crack me up.

charell's picture
charell 7 years 36 weeks ago

In the 80s we had Reagan/Thatcher. The antithesis would be Sanders/Corbyn. The tide is turning. The Populists are rising! Has our time finally come?
You briefly mentioned the 100th Monkey theory this morning. I Recommend that you get Rupert Sheldrake on your show. He has a fascinating, and very science based, view on the 100th Monkey theory theory.

From Rubert Sheldrake's website:

The 100th monkey story is often told and appears to support the idea of morphic resonance. However, I never use this myself because most of the versions of it that are in circulation have drifted a long way from the actual facts. It is then easy for sceptics to debunk.
The original story appears in Lyall Watson's book Lifetide, where he describes research on Japanese macaque monkeys, which have been studied intensively for more than four decades in a number of wild colonies. In 1952, a researcher first provided monkeys in one colony on the island of Koshima with sweet potatoes, which were thrown onto the beach and hence were covered with sand. One of the monkeys, an 18-month-old female, called Imo, solved the problem of the sand on the potatoes by carrying them down to a stream and washing them before feeding. This new form of behaviour spread through the colony. By 1958 all the juveniles were washing dirty food and some of the adults learned to do so by imitating their children.
Watson goes on to say: "Then something extraordinary took place. The details up to this point in the study are clear, but one has to gather the rest of the story from personal anecdotes and bits of folklore among primate researchers, because most of them are still not quite sure what happened. ..... I am forced to improvise the details, but as near as I can tell, this is what seems to have happened." Watson then tells the original version of the 100th monkey story, making it clear that this is not literally what happened but a kind of dramatisation of it:
"In the autumn of that year [1958] an unspecified number of monkeys on Koshima were washing sweet potatoes in the sea, because Imo had made the further discovery that salt water not only cleaned the food but gave it an interesting new flavour. Let us say, for arguments sake, that the number was 99 and that at eleven o'clock on the Tuesday morning, one further convert was added to the fold in the usual way. But the addition of the 100th monkey apparently carried the number across some sort of threshold, pushing it through a kind of critical mass, because by that evening almost everyone in the colony was doing it. Not only that, but the habit seems to have jumped natural barriers to have appeared spontaneously, like glycerine crystals in sealed laboratory jars, in colonies in other islands and on the mainland in a troop at Takasakiama."
This story has been repeated by all sorts of new age speakers and writers, mutating as it is retold. I think that the observations to which Watson was referring do show something like morphic resonance, but exaggerated versions of the story often bear little relation to what really happened. I myself prefer the example of rats that learned a new trick in one laboratory (Harvard) and later groups of rats in other laboratories, in Scotland and Australia that learned the new trick quicker. The details are given in my book A New Science of Life chapter 11.

charell's picture
charell 7 years 36 weeks ago

Wow Thom! I posted the above before you did a whole segment on the 100th monkey!

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 36 weeks ago

Damned typos!
I think it was Lamarr Waldron who said on Thom's show that "socialism", as a term, is being rehabilitated among milleneals. He said that the hyperbolic use of it by Republicans to describe everything from Social Security to public education has caused them to react positively and even identify with the term.They say that if those things are "socialism" then they must be socialists because they are for all that.
Kend, why does it never penetrate with you that the debt is because of wilfull, reckless mismanagement, namely two wars kept off the books for 7 years by G.W. Bush, not by socialist policies - which we haven't had anyway.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 36 weeks ago

Glad I missed the hundredth-monkey BS. The real explanation would be something like this: When presented with a new situation, at least one monkey was capable of figuring out a way to deal with it. Other monkeys learned from the first one. Monkeys of the same species (with therefore the same capabilities) on other islands that were presented with the same situation also had at least one tribe member capable of figuring out the same simple way of dealing with it.

The real hundredth-monkey effect is that given a large enough population, the right idea is likely to occur to someone, and it only takes one to start its spread to the whole populace. Whereas the new-age myth is based on an unreasonable expectation that an idea can occur by logic only once (perhaps patent law has set a bad example), so they make up crap to get past their own limited understanding of the law of large numbers.

Alan Lunn's picture
Alan Lunn 7 years 36 weeks ago

I tuned into MSNBC for a few years when I was transitioning from my former understanding of the world through Republican eyes. It was like Liberal 101. My favorite show was Ratigan's short run and also Cenk Uygur who was summarily dismissed. Eventually, I lost interest in the shows. Especially after a redundant crusade against Chris Christie that became a waste of time.

Maybe Bernie would have been a bit more intelligible by calling himself a "social Democrat." There is confusion in America about what a "socialism" and "fascism" mean. I remember being appalled when Glenn Beck was saying that liberals are fascist. That was some form of Orwellian doublespeak from a very confused and flaky man.

Chris Matthews is from the last century, with a pundit's love of politics in the weeds. He prides himself on his "gotcha" ability. But he isn't really leading the nation toward a better day; he's simply resurrecting the past. He certainly isn't helping by rejecting the socialist word because there he comes into agreement with Foxaganda.

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