Famous Last Words: He Listens With His Mouth …
I am a news junkie. My take on cable and network news coverage:
• Dullest newscaster: Wolf Blitzer
• Best newscaster: Mika Brzezinski
• Most miscast newscaster: Katie Couric
• Best interviewer: Tim Russert
• Worst interviewer: Chris Matthews
• Most fascinating: Chris Matthews
• Most irritating: Chris Matthews
The Chris Matthews Enigma
Chris Matthews, star of “Hardball” (MSNBC, weeknights) and “The Chris Matthews Show” (NBC, weekends), may be the smartest guy on television. He is an expert on history and politics (he was top dog on the staff of legendary House Speaker Tip O’Neill for a number of years), knows everybody in Washington, and can drop historical nuggets into a conversation with dazzling facility.
At the same time, his idea of framing a question is to make a long, prejudicial statement and then ask his guest to comment on what was just said. Whereupon he will interrupt and interrupt some more. As someone once said, Chris Matthews listens with his mouth. His enthusiasm and perpetual good humor not only are infectious, but also are inversely proportional to his ratings, which generally are terrible, probably because his overpowering persona is about showing off how smart he is rather than eliciting information from his guests.
That said, Matthews’ new book, “Life’s a Campaign,” is worth reading for what we in business can learn from the savvy politicians he has spent a lifetime studying. A sampling:
•Every door that swings wide for you has somebody on the other side opening it. The principle to remember here is that once a person has made a bet on you, they’re likely to do it again. Hiring someone is a very personal thing. It’s buying stock in someone else’s success. The key is to think of each person who gives you a job or promotion as a stockholder, someone who has a deep investment in you.