Of Course: Chris Matthews Spends One Minute Discussing Iran Deal Money

Doing his part in the media’s minimizing of the $400 million the Obama administration sent to Iran around the time four Americans were freed, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews spent a measly one minute of his Wednesday show discussing the matter only after his show carried portions of a Donald Trump rally in which the issue came up. 

Matthews pulled back from the Trump rally and observed that the Republican presidential candidate was “on the counterattack” by having “launched an offensive there about the money we’ve unfrozen that has been sitting in banks, being held up, has to do with some old arms dispute between the United States and the Shah back before there was a revolution over there.”

He then turned to GOP strategist John Feehery what he thought about it all and he responded that the story (first broken by The Wall Street Journal) could not have come at a better time for Trump:

Well, the timing is perfect for Trump because you release the money and then the hostages come back. For Trump, this is mania from heaven. He gets to pound on it, gets to talk about the Obama administration — the essential corruptness of the status quo and he’s going to keep pounding on it. 

Not surprisingly, Matthews asked Feehery to inform viewers “why would” such a move be viewed as “corrupt” and Feehery wilted by admitting that he doesn’t agree with the characterization that what the Obama administration did was sinister:

I'm not saying it is corrupt. I’m saying that’s what he’s saying and it goes to the natural distrust that people have outside the Beltway have of the Beltway. This deal — this Iran Deal that people dislike instinctively, the fact that you have this kind of, you know, kinda like arms for hostages, except it’s money for hostages. This is what Trump is going to say and he’s going to be very effective at it. 

The next day on the Fox Business Network (FBN), my colleague Rich Noyes outlined the latest numbers on the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC and how they’ve spent about 46 minutes on their Wednesday night and Thursday morning newscasts harping on Trump’s stumbling campaign versus eight minutes on the Iran story (making for a nearly six-to-one ratio).

The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on August 3 can be found below.

MSNBC’s Hardball
August 3, 2016
7:46 p.m. Eastern

[AFTER LIVE FEED OF TRUMP RALLY FEAT. TALK OF IRAN RANSOM]

CHRIS MATTHEWS: We're back. That's Trump on the counterattack. He's launched an offensive there about the money we’ve unfrozen that has been sitting in banks, being held up, has to do with some old arms dispute between the United States and the Shah back before there was a revolution over there. What do you make of it? He’s saying it was a quid-pro-quo getting the hostages back.

JOHN FEEHERY: Well, the timing is perfect for Trump because you release the money and then the hostages come back. For Trump, this is mania from heaven. He gets to pound on it, gets to talk about the Obama administration — the essential corruptness of the status quo and he’s going to keep pounding on it. 

MATTHEWS:  By the way, just to explain, why would that be corrupt? 

FEEHERY: Well —

MATTHEWS: If we unfreeze money which we were supposed to do anyway — 

FEEHERY: I'm not saying it is corrupt. I’m saying that’s what he’s saying and it goes to the natural distrust that people have outside the Beltway have of the Beltway. This deal — this Iran Deal that people dislike instinctively, the fact that you have this kind of, you know, kinda like arms for hostages, except it’s money for hostages. This is what trump is going to say and he’s going to be very effective at it. 

MATTHEWS: Okay, great. Thank you so much.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center