Chris Matthews: Network News Was 'Establishment Liberal'

By Penny Starr | June 5, 2012 | 3:27 PM EDT

( – Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball," told a crowd attending a journalism awards event at the National Press Club that the network news organizations were "establishment liberal."

Matthews also said that CBS anchormen Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow were guided by “establishment liberalism."

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“I give this speech to everybody, saying there’s not going to be somebody like Uncle Walter who’s going to tell you exactly what happened because, you know, they had a point of view--it’s establishment liberal,” said Matthews on Monday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“The big networks for years had establishment liberalism as their basis of true north,” Matthews said. “That’s what they were--Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow--establishment liberal.”

“Everything was liberal basically, but it was a point of view and they laughed at Goldwater," said Matthews. "Cronkite mocked him with the way he pronounced his name.

"It’s all true," said Matthews. "Go back and look at the tapes. ‘Barry Go-water said today’--you knew where he stood.”

“So the idea there was some subjective reality out there that we’re missing I think is a mistake,” Matthews said.

Walter Cronkite, anchor of the CBS Evening News from 1962 to 1981, and who died in 2009. (AP Photo)

Matthews, who worked as press secretary to former Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill, discussed Cronkite twice during the question and answer portion of the Gerald Ford journalism awards luncheon at the press club.

In his other remarks, Matthews said, “The days of Walter Cronkite are over. ‘That’s the way it is’ is not going to work again. It’s too complicated. It’s too many points of view.”

As CBS’s Evening News anchorman for 19 years (1962-81), Cronkite regularly ended his broadcast by saying, “And that’s the way it is.”

“I just finished the Cronkite book, which is an excellent book by Doug Brinkley – he [Cronkite] had a point of view and we all knew his point of view,” Matthews said. “He was a liberal the whole time he was in television. We all knew it. If he didn’t know we knew it he wasn’t aware of it. But everybody else knew it.”

“And the idea--he was a great reporter; an honest reporter but he had a point of view,” Matthews said. “Today those points of view are more transparent, they’re more acknowledged.”