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Tim Graham of the conservative media watchdog Media Research Center, said Matthews, a former Democratic legislative aide, has been going overboard.

“He just comes across as an angry crank and he says things that are not thought out at all,” Graham said. “He just blurts. In recent months, he has become the biggest target in a target-rich environment.”

Matthews‘ week comes amid a sharpening of opinion programming on outlets like MSNBC and Fox since 2008. And conventions are the perfect venues for those in that line of work, said Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief and now a professor at George Washington University.

“For those who want to be in the opinion world, this is heaven because you’re there for a fight or you’re going there to cheerlead,” Sesno said. “If you’re an opinionator, and you’re there with that mission, this is what you live for.”

It made for some eye-opening moments for people used to television news organizations covering these events with a sense of impartiality. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s introduction to Rick Santorum’s speech this past week was: “If Rick Santorum tries to tell you that Barack Obama gutted the work requirement for welfare, he’s not telling you the truth. Let’s listen.”

When Santorum brought up welfare during the speech, Maddow immediately tweeted to her followers that he was doing exactly what she said.

“You’ve got someone saying `watch for the lie’ and doing things that aren’t remotely journalistic,” Sesno said. “On the other extreme, you’ve got people who are trying to be journalists who are so spooked by charges that they lean one way or another that they end up being travel guides. Neither one of them is very satisfying if we’re really trying to think about how we inform the public.”

On Fox Thursday night, Sean Hannity and his guest, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, paused during a discussion of Obama’s failings to consider the atmosphere at the upcoming Democratic convention.

“Take care of yourself in Charlotte,” Giuliani said.

“I’ll need security,” Hannity replied.