National Press Club

Lack of civility in politics? Don't blame TV, "Hardball'' host Matthews says

June 4, 2012 | By Heather Forsgren Weaver | HeatherForsgrenWeaver@gmail.com

MSNBC's Chris Matthews hosts the 25th annual Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation journalism awards luncheon at the National Press Club, June 4, 2012.

MSNBC's Chris Matthews hosts the 25th annual Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation journalism awards luncheon at the National Press Club, June 4, 2012.

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

Political TV shows such as “Hardball” are not the reason for a lack of civility in politics, the program's host, Chris Matthews, told a National Press Club luncheon June 4.

Matthews, the featured speaker for the presentation of journalism awards by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, faulted a lack of deal making for the shortage of civility.

“If you don’t negotiate, you will never make a deal, never arrive at any agreed-upon direction for the country,'' he said, adding that the key is listening to opposing viewpoints. “It is like being married.”

Washington, D.C. is a “city without smoke stacks, without factories,” Matthews said. “The only thing we do here as we look around is make deals.”

Too many don’t listen to the other side, Matthews said, suggesting that people who like MSNBC's ``Hardball,'' which he described as center-left, should watch the Fox News channel occasionally.

“The days of Walter Cronkite are over,'' Matthews said. ``‘That’s the way it is’ is not going to work again. It is too complicated. There are too many points of view.”

The political climate is not likely to change with current gerrymandering until the voters stop voting along party lines, Matthews said.

“The more you have these one-party districts, the more you are going to have one-party voting where [members of Congress] don’t want to risk going to the center because some young kid will come along and say, ‘He sold us out,” Matthews said.