- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2013

“Hardball” host Chris Matthews is a top-notch, hard-charging cable news-show host — a “national treasure,” said MSNBC’s president, referring to recent ratings.

The comments came on the heels of a Fox News trouncing of MSNBC that was so impressive — for Fox — that MSNBC asked for a Nielsen ratings recount. But that fact was a dim memory Tuesday evening as MSNBC President Phil Griffin waxed full-throttle praise on his star host.

“Everything he does, especially as he gets older and succeeds, is really impressive,” Mr. Griffin said at a Washington event, Politico reported. The event was aimed at celebrating and promoting Mr. Matthews‘ new book, “Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked.”

Mr. Griffin raved about Mr. Matthews‘ news presence.

Chris is now either the No. 1 or 2 guy every night since we moved him to 7 p.m.,” Mr. Griffin said in the Politico article. “He also beats everybody in the competition — meaning Fox, our big challenger — one out of three nights. And we hope to do that regularly. It’s impressive what he’s done. We call him a national treasure at MSNBC. If you’ve ever seen Chris at an airport, you know what that means. Everyone comes up to him.”

His book, however, comes at an unfortunate time.

“Despite conspiracy theories,” Mr. Matthews said in the Politico report, “I did not know that Oct. 1, my publication date, would be the shutdown date.”

Noticeably absent from Mr. Griffith’s remarks was any praise for Megyn Kelly at Fox News. While MSNBC did take the lead for a time when Ms. Kelly made her 9 p.m. debut appearance, she came back on day two of her show and surged ahead of MSNBC — so far ahead, in fact, that Mr. Griffin insisted the numbers were inaccurate.

He called for investigation and was told: Yes, the numbers are real, The Huffington Post reported.

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