Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Chris Matthews Browbeats Bishop Thomas Tobin
Above is Monday's "interview" by MSNBC's Chris Matthews of Providence, Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin regarding the on-going dispute between Tobin and Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy over his (Kennedy's)pro-choice stance.
Far be it from me to be a defender of the Catholic Church on many issues. (I am married to a Catholic, have raised my children to be Catholics, but the priest pedophile issue drove me away from the church. I am a Protestant who never converted.)
There are legitimate questions that Matthews raised in his questions to Bishop Tobin regarding the issue of abortion in moral vs legal terms, but as the interview progressed, Matthews became more and more aggressive and basically browbeat the bishop, who conducted himself with dignity. In the end, the session was hardly an interview, more of a non-stop lecture by Matthews to the bishop.
It is unfortunate in that had the discussion been held more calmly, more professionally, it could have been a useful discussion of the issue. Matthews certainly had valid points to be raised, but as usual, his aggressive and at time obnoxious style ruined it. Tobin was able to make his points about the churches' moral stance on abortion, but that was about all Matthews let him do.
I understand that some Catholic figures are calling on MSNBC to fire Matthews. I oppose this. Matthews has a right to air his views even when it masquerades as reporting. Bishop Tobin acquitted himself with class with Matthews even if we wasn't allowed to engage in a full and spirited debate. Let the viewership pass judgement on Matthews. After all, his ratings are low enough already.