When you get some time today, you must watch this MSNBC clip of an often-heated exchange between “Hardball” host Chris Matthews and former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

The clip runs over 16 minutes (unheard of on cable programming these days with just one guest) and shows Mr. Fleischer repeatedly and aggressively rebutting Matthews on a litany of issues.

You can tell the host was loaded for bear, bringing up several “gotcha” quotes of Ari from when he stood at the White House podium all those years. What’s jaw-dropping, however, is not so much Ari’s adept parrying of the questions, although he did a superb job. Rather, I was blown away at the visceral scowling of Matthews as he repeatedly forced unsaid words into his guest’s mouth, only to follow up with a berating that would make the Spanish Inquisitors look like Cabbage Patch dolls. Phrases like: “the economy sucked” and “you left the country in our hands in terrible shape” followed by “you guys blew it!” (By the way: “our” hands? Since when did he join the administration? Is Matthews finally admitting he’s the unofficial cheerleading squad for the White House? Should we now call his show “Softball” for Democrats?)

The show today is not the “Hardball” I watched for years. I struggled to find the professional, journalistic route Matthews was taking with his line of questioning. Virtually every other sentence contained the pronouns “I” and “our” and “your president.”

This is what happens when partisans present themselves as unbiased journalists, only to reveal their true motivations in a majestic delusion of political grandeur. That somehow the truth (as defined by them) has violently been revealed and they are the crusaders of justice.

Give me a break. Some out there will level a charge of hypocrisy against yours truly. Before you do, rethink your position. At no point when I have presented my argument — the Right Side — have I ever sought to emotionally tear down my guest. I’m not interested in bringing on a guest so I can feel good about my own political peccadilloes.

That’s where Chris Matthews failed, and he’s embarrassing his profession, should anyone choose to look at him as a “journalist” anymore.

Only this time, he had his head handed back to him by someone who refused to cower in the face of his boisterous rants.


Visit www.armstrongwilliams.com .