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MSNBC's Chris Matthews remains in the bull's eye for new women's group

Forget the battle for the White House -- here's a campaign that's really heating up: the bid by a new women’s group to hold Chris Matthews accountable for what it asserts is “misogynistic journalism" practiced by the voluble MSNBC political pundit.

The New Agenda, a nonpartisan organization promoting women’s rights, today sent a letter to NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker asking for a meeting to discuss Matthews’ attitude toward women.Chris Matthews of MSNBC at his desk with Ron Reagan giving a thumbs up

Amy Siskind, one of the group's founders, said in an interview it wants Matthews (at right, with Ron Reagan behind him) to issue a public apology and change his on-air behavior. Absent that, he needs to be fired, she said.

The New Agenda also sent its letter to various Democratic officials in Pennsylvania -- Matthews' native state, where there has been chatter he might seek the party's nomination for the Senate in 2010.

The group's letter applauded the recent decision by MSNBC to remove Matthews and Keith Olbermann from prominent roles anchoring political events, but said more action is needed.

"MSNBC can regain its reputation as a respectable news organization by taking more appropriate action against Chris Matthews," the letter said. "If Matthews were an employee in a Fortune 500 company, he would have been fired for sexual harassment long ago. Instead, MSNBC peddled misogynistic journalism to the American public."

Compiling a list of actions that it deemed offensive, The New Agenda wrote that the "Hardball" host a couple of years asked if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would "castrate" a fellow Democrat with whom she had feuded, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland.

The letter also faults Matthews for likening Hillary Clinton, during the Democratic primary campaign, to Nurse Ratched, the power-mad character from Ken Kesey’s novel "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest."

And it cited a statement by Matthews that Clinton owed her political success to her husband’s having “messed around" -- a reference to Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. Matthews later apologized on the air for that comment.

"The historic candidacies of both Hillary Clinton and [Republican vice presidential nominee] Sarah Palin have brought to light for all Americans the rampant sexism in the media," the letter said.

Matthews, through a spokesman, declined comment.

-- Peter Nicholas

Photo credit: L.A. Times/Ken Hively

Comments () | Archives (16)

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Thank you, thank you The New Agenda. We need to get rid of this guy.

Thank you for speaking up for women and girls of this country!

The New Agenda is a strictly right-wing outfit created to keep Sarah Palin in her comfortable bubble away from the media and all its legitimate questions. How dare you, Peter, say it's "non-partisan?" I am canceling my LA Times subscription. Finding this blog was the best thing that could have happened -- you guys make Fox News look fair and balanced.

I too am a female and I applaud both chris and keith
they are the only 2 guys that are calling them out....
why should we silence them.....
they are investigative journalists....allow them to investigate...

Chris is not sexist he is just a "Good Old Washington Boy"

VJ Machiavelli

He needs to be fired regardless; but I think the only way to make that happen is to turn off MSNBC. We've seen how public rejection can help to alter their programming line-up; but trying to do big things like this takes commitment and sacrifice.

An apology from Matthews is not sufficient. Nor is a change in his behavior (which he will never do, anyway). By choosing to throw his integrity out the window, he has contributed in a major way to the ruin of the candidacy of the best candidate put forward this election year. He hasn't done this to Hillary or to us; he's done this to America. He must suffer the consequences.

It's not revenge; it's justice.

Did this reporter even VISIT the "New Agenda" website?
Or did he just transcribe the press release?
You can't fix stupid-evidently you just give it a byline.

On the other hand, the right wing's discovery of feminism in 2008 is, I suppose, better late than never.

This comes too late to mitigate his barbaric behavior toward Hillary Clinton, which I believe, gave lthe green light to the others at MSNBC-Mitchell, Brezenski, Scarborough to do the same. Together they tried to destroy the Clintons while crowning Obama. I have never witnessed anything like it before and pray that we will never have to again.

Chris Matthews features two women (our of four guests) on his Sunday show every week, without fail. Love or hate his politics. no other man (or woman) in Washington can say that.

Chris Matthews features two women (our of four guests) on his Sunday show every week, without fail. Love or hate his politics. no other man (or woman) in Washington can say that.

Repeal the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

I've been complaining about Matthews and Olbermann for months.

if a woman decides to run for political office, she should expect NO special treatment. as Harry Truman said, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Chris Matthews treats the women no worse than he treats the men, he is a tough questioner and holds his guests accountable for their statements. and lest anyone thinks i am sexist--i filed a discrimination lawsuit against the largest public employer in the state. not only did i have to fight my former employer, i had to fight my own attorneys. i got no special treatment because i am a woman, nor did i ask for special treatment. Sarah Pallin could do better for herself if she (and everyone on her behalf) stopped complaining about any actual or perceived harsh treat accorded to her.

Total nonsense! This is a gimmick and this group doesn't speak for the millions of women in this country. That said, McCain's pick of Sarah Palin was totally politically motivated and an attempt to throw salt in the wounds of the HRC voters but it won't work! His pick of SP shows how little respect (if any at all) he has for women because it was based on his selfishness to win at any cost! he thought as women, we will be blindsided by the idea that a woman is on the ticket and vote for him regardless of his failing Bush/McCain policies. I've read a few interviews she has given and this woman is totally clueless about the important issues that a VP who could one day be the President of the USA aught to know.

McCain is 72yrs. old w a lot of medical issues and is likely to get ill and maybe totally incapacitated at any time, already the vast majority Americans are fed up with his policies and lack of economic experience, his flip flopping, his lyings... how can we in good conscience have this incompetent woman (whose only foreign policy experience is seeing Russia from her backyard and who claims that her experience on a sports team qualifies her to address issues of women) in the WH? It's appaling that women bought into this fluff of having her on the ticket in the first place.

My thing is--don't just jump on the bandwagon because a woman is on the ticket; women, let's ask ourselves is this mess that we're facing in the USA economically and otherwise going to get any better especially if we put someone who is clearly not qualified to be president in the WH. Thank God for the ability to check the facts; as such, I'll not be given and accept a 6 for a 9 in the name of being a woman. Yes, I'm ALL for a woman being the President one day, but NOT THIS ONE! There are soooo many smart women out there,, who are highlyl qualified to be president--Sarah Palin just doesn't fit the bill. In fact, even the GOP think so..they know their VP pick is incompetent, and they don't even have to convince us... Read Chuck Hagel's article:

Chris Matthews should not be singled out. He says out loud what too many men are thinking. (Have you heard Limbaugh's comments about Palin and tirades about Hillary? They are far more offensive!) Firing Matthews won't change anything. This is an opportunity to educate and change behavior, raising not only Chris' awareness but the awareness of all American men.

Further, it's totally phony for Tom Ridge, Orrin Hatch, and other Republican men to cry "sexism" when it comes media scrutiny of Sarah Palin. If the boys were truly concerned about sexism, they would've advocated for a far more qualified Republican woman, like Christine Todd Whitman or Elisabeth Dole, to be their VP candidate. What is more sexist than using a woman for a prop, as they have with Palin?!

"The New Agenda, a nonpartisan organization promoting women’s right"

Non-partisan, my ass!

Chris : You are with out any doubt a suck up reporter. Who the hell do you think you are " Obamas America" It is not Obamas America. This may upset you but the country belongs to hard working Americans, not like you and your socialist czars you work with. I would love to meet you and show you exactly what hard work is. All you and your armed bandits do is rob America of all that is decent.I hope to God your new owner shuts your group of idiots down. Try to show a positive remark about your competition such as Fox News. Impossible for you Mr. perfect. I hope your new owner cancels your biased program along with fat boy and miss wanna be Katy girl.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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