Chris Matthews, the veteran political anchor and voluble host of the long-running MSNBC talk show “Hardball,” resigned on Monday night, an abrupt departure from a television perch that made him a fixture of politics and the news media over the past quarter-century.
The NYT Times reports Matthews, 74, had faced mounting criticism in recent days over a spate of embarrassing on-air moments, including a comparison of Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign to the Nazi invasion of France and an interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren in which the anchor was criticized for a condescending and disbelieving tone.
On Saturday, the journalist Laura Bassett published an essay accusing Matthews of making multiple inappropriate comments about her appearance, reviving longstanding allegations about the anchor’s sexist behavior. By Monday, his position at the news network he helped build had become untenable.
Accompanied by his family, Matthews walked onto the “Hardball” set inside NBC’s Washington bureau shortly before 7 p.m. to deliver a brief farewell. His longtime crew members, who had been told of his plans roughly an hour earlier, looked on stunned.
After reading the statement, the program went to commercial break and Matthews was gone. Visibly stunned MSNBC political analyst Steve Kornacki took over the broadcast.
Matthews was well liked within NBC News. But according to The LA Times citing people familiar with the discussions about his departure, there were growing concerns over his on-air comments, which have tended to fall out of sync with current cultural norms. While he could get away with such gaffes in a previous era, social media has been unforgiving.