If you pay any serious attention to the media and politics in the United States, then you’ve seen or heard Chris Matthews, the guest keynote speaker at the Greater Baltimore Committee’s 53rd Annual Meeting on May 7 at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore.
Matthews is central to what New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich, in an April 13 profile, calls a “very loud national conversation about politics.”
The host of “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” which airs weekdays at 5 and 7 p.m. on MSNBC, is known for rarely mincing words. He also hosts a syndicated Sunday morning show, “The Chris Matthews Show,” is a regular commentator on NBC’s Today Show, and has covered presidential elections and campaigns for the last 10 years.
Characterized by his swashbuckling, pitched on-air interview style, Matthews is accustomed, himself, to being the subject of controversy stirred up by media colleagues. Numerous clips of Matthews dot the internet, including clips where Matthews: is told by a U.S. senator to “get out of my face;” is “challenged” to a duel by the same senator; is attacked by a protestor onstage; tells The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart that he is conducting an “interview from hell,” and chastises actress Rosie O’Donnell for implying that U.S. troops in Iraq are “terrorists.”
Matthews worked for 15 years as a print journalist, 13 of them as Washington Bureau Chief for the San Francisco Examiner (1987-2000), and two years as a national columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, which was syndicated to 200 newspapers by United Media.
Prior to that, Matthews spent 15 years in politics and government, working in the White House for four years under President Jimmy Carter as a presidential speechwriter and on the President’s Reorganization Project, in the U.S. Senate for five years on the staffs of Senator Frank Moss (Utah) and Senator Edmund Muskie (Maine), and as the top aide to Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. for six years.
Matthews is the author of four best-selling books, including American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions (2002), a New York Times best seller. His first book, Hardball (1988) is required reading in many college-level political science courses. Kennedy & Nixon (1996) was named by the Readers Digest “Today’s Best Non-fiction” and served as the basis of a documentary on the History Channel. Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think (2001) was another New York Times best-seller.