Chris Matthews Attacks ‘Ditto-Head Thinking’ of Limbaugh Listeners

By Penny Starr | June 4, 2012 | 5:26 PM EDT

MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on June 4, 2012. ( Starr)

( – MSNBC's Chris Matthews criticized what he called the "Ditto Head thinking" of Rush Limbaugh listeners while lauding establishment news venues, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, ABC's "This Week," and NBC's "Meet the Press."

“I do think there is some Ditto Head thinking that goes on in this country, people who listen to Limbaugh and that's all they listen to. I don't think they're growing,” Matthews said at the National Press Club on Monday.

Matthews’ remarks came in response to a question asked by an audience member and recited to him by Theresa Werner, president of the National Press Club. He was appearing there before a group of reporters and others at the Gerald Ford Journalism awards program.

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“Do you feel that hardball political talk shows like yours is partly responsible for the growing lack of civility in our political discourse?” Werner asked.

“Not at all,” Matthews responded. “I think it gets it off your chest.”

Matthews said that people should watch a variety of shows, even if they do not like them.

“I say, take a look at Fox once in a while,” Matthews said. “If you don’t like it, take a look at it. Make sure you don’t like it.”

“In fact, maybe you won’t,” Matthews said.

This photo provided by Rush Limbaugh shows the talk show host in his Palm Beach, Fla. radio studio, in September 2009. (AP Photo/Photo courtesy of Rush Limbaugh)

Matthews said that reporters have a point of view, including Walter Cronkite, who he said was a liberal and “we all knew it.”

“They know me -- after all these years they know where I’m standing,” Matthews said. “I think people are smarter than people who look out for them acknowledge.”

Matthews boasted about the fact-checking that is done for his program and the sources he uses.

“Every fact must come from a quality newspaper like the [Washington] Post or the [New York] Times or the [Wall Street] Journal,” Matthews said. “Fact. It may come from AP but I don’t want to hear it came from anywhere else, really.”

And he encouraged people to listen to specific television programs, including the Public Broadcasting System, ABC’s Sunday show “This Week,” and – Matthews’ parent company – NBC and its “Meet the Press” program.

“If you like it, watch the Lehrer Hour – it’s damn good,” Matthews said. “George Stephanopoulos is damn good on Sunday – I mean, I watched it yesterday.”

“'Meet the Press' is great,” Matthews said.