Why Chris Matthews doesn't get it

Judging by his appearance on The Daily Show Friday night, Chris Matthews still doesn't understand why his treatment of Senator Zell Miller, and his earlier roasting of Michelle Malkin offended so many people.

Matthews told Daily Show host Jon Stewart that he was only doing his job as a journalist when he asked Miller, "Do you really believe John Kerry would send soldiers into battle armed with only spit balls?"

The Miller/Matthews fracas happened hours after Miller delivered an unforgettable keynote address to the Republican Convention. 

The Georgia Senator reacted honestly to Matthews' 'spitballs' question. As well he should have. It was a belligerent, stupid question.

Things went downhill from there as Matthews moved quickly into his patented shout 'em down technique.

But for millions of Americans, and I will venture to say, particularly for Southerners, there is something that you don't ever do, even if you are a courageous journalist asking the tough questions  —— you don't get lippy with your elders. You show some respect for gray hairs.

Matthews could have questioned Miller's speech in a reasonable, civilized fashion, but, being Matthews, he chose not to.  Instead, he continued to badger and interrupt the Senator who obviously struggled to hear him over the background noise at the convention. Or maybe Miller just couldn't believe his ears when Matthews asked, 'Well, you could argue it was not nurses who defended the freedom of nursing.'  Huh?

Miller didn't hesitate to call Matthews out for his boorish behavior. The Southern senator made it clear he was having none of Matthew's bullying: 'Wait a minute. Don't pull that kind of stuff on me, like you did that young lady when you had her there, browbeating her to death. I am not her. I am not her.'

In the world Miller grew up in, you don't talk that way to a lady.

Even in today's world where men and women are supposedly intellectual equals, and where Democratic Senators address Republican conventions, some things haven't changed: you don't publicly berate old people or young women, even if they are heretics and you, as a liberal journalist, are in charge of the auto da fé.

You just end up looking like a blow—hard and a bully.

[Update] Lona Manning adds, addressing Chris Matthews:

When I said your 'shout 'em down technique' was 'patented,' I did not mean it literally. That was a figure of speech for rhetorical effect. Okay? Kinda like the 'spitballs' thing. Or for that matter, the phrase, 'let's play Hardball.'  You aren't really playing and there is no sporting equipment involved in your show. See what I mean? 

Lona Manning is a freelance writer. She will continue to watch Hardball because she lives in Canada and can't get Fox News on cable.

Judging by his appearance on The Daily Show Friday night, Chris Matthews still doesn't understand why his treatment of Senator Zell Miller, and his earlier roasting of Michelle Malkin offended so many people.

Matthews told Daily Show host Jon Stewart that he was only doing his job as a journalist when he asked Miller, "Do you really believe John Kerry would send soldiers into battle armed with only spit balls?"

The Miller/Matthews fracas happened hours after Miller delivered an unforgettable keynote address to the Republican Convention. 

The Georgia Senator reacted honestly to Matthews' 'spitballs' question. As well he should have. It was a belligerent, stupid question.

Things went downhill from there as Matthews moved quickly into his patented shout 'em down technique.

But for millions of Americans, and I will venture to say, particularly for Southerners, there is something that you don't ever do, even if you are a courageous journalist asking the tough questions  —— you don't get lippy with your elders. You show some respect for gray hairs.

Matthews could have questioned Miller's speech in a reasonable, civilized fashion, but, being Matthews, he chose not to.  Instead, he continued to badger and interrupt the Senator who obviously struggled to hear him over the background noise at the convention. Or maybe Miller just couldn't believe his ears when Matthews asked, 'Well, you could argue it was not nurses who defended the freedom of nursing.'  Huh?

Miller didn't hesitate to call Matthews out for his boorish behavior. The Southern senator made it clear he was having none of Matthew's bullying: 'Wait a minute. Don't pull that kind of stuff on me, like you did that young lady when you had her there, browbeating her to death. I am not her. I am not her.'

In the world Miller grew up in, you don't talk that way to a lady.

Even in today's world where men and women are supposedly intellectual equals, and where Democratic Senators address Republican conventions, some things haven't changed: you don't publicly berate old people or young women, even if they are heretics and you, as a liberal journalist, are in charge of the auto da fé.

You just end up looking like a blow—hard and a bully.

[Update] Lona Manning adds, addressing Chris Matthews:

When I said your 'shout 'em down technique' was 'patented,' I did not mean it literally. That was a figure of speech for rhetorical effect. Okay? Kinda like the 'spitballs' thing. Or for that matter, the phrase, 'let's play Hardball.'  You aren't really playing and there is no sporting equipment involved in your show. See what I mean? 

Lona Manning is a freelance writer. She will continue to watch Hardball because she lives in Canada and can't get Fox News on cable.