Not everyone will remember Dana Carvey’s great impersonation of Ross Perot on Saturday Night Live. It was a classic. Dana Carvey himself is, to me, endlessly talented and hilarious. He has the ability to make me laugh hard even when openly mocking a public figure I respect. (Thousand points of light, anyone?)
And I often think of that skit when I see television hosts pre-emptively cut off a guest mid-sentence.
I present into evidence Chris Matthews on MSNBC representing the Left and Bill O’Reilly, formerly of Fox News representing the Right.
Bill O’Reilly would frustratingly cut off and talk over guests even when they were in the middle of salient points.
I want to add at this point that if done respectfully I don’t see any problem with an interviewer interrupting a guest who is dodging a clearly presented question. Or talking over a guest who blatantly pivots off track when then attempt is made to pin them down on a fairly explored topic.
Megyn Kelly was very firm when interviewing guests on her Fox News program, but if you rewatch and listen objectively, I believe you will find that most of the time she jumped in usually when the guest was being overtly evasive.
But Chris Matthews takes this to a whole other level…
Matthews routinely cuts off and interrupts guests who are in the middle of agreeing with him and are actually adding value to the conversation.
Forget the mumbling, sputtering, lazy anunciation, and flat-out mispronounciations, he often seems to not even be listening to the responses to questions he himself has just asked!
He’s on auto-play.
Matthews very often can’t even wait for you to finish a thought before he has to blurt out the next thing on his mental playlist.
One part partisan, one part rude, and one part “just doesn’t care what his guests think” . He’s already made up his mind.
When I see him as a guest panelist on other MSNBC shows, I actually feel slightly sorry for the hosts. He routinely sways off topic and dismisses other opinions with his honk-laugh.
I used to watch Hardball all the time and I still do often, but he’s slipping.