Kathy Shaidle

MSNBC: Matthews: Gates "didn't say 'your momma'" — "Irish-American cop" was merely "projecting"

Posted on July 30 2009 10:00 am
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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The credibility of MSNBC host Chris Matthews took another hit on Monday night’s episode of Hardball. In a segment devoted to the ongoing controversy surrounding the brief arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Matthews remarked:

Apparently, the officer in question, the arresting officer, Sergeant Crowley, in his police report said that the professor at Harvard said, when asked to come outside, “I‘ll speak with your mama outside.”  Now, this is the way he recorded this.

I wonder whether some projection here about two or three degrees. He thought this was what a black fellow would say. This is what a white guy thought a black guy would say. He didn‘t say this.

Regular Hardball panelist Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post responded immediately:

I cannot imagine in this universe Skip Gates saying, I‘ll speak with your mama outside. This is one of the preeminent academics in—in America, you know, one of the most prominent professors at our nation‘s most prestigious university, at the top of his profession, at the top of his game.  He—he—you know, he—he rolls with kings and queens and Nobel Prize winners…

Always eager to bolster his liberal bona fides, Matthews warmed to his theme, speculating wildly upon the arresting officer’s mental state while commenting upon Sergeant Crowley’s ethnic heritage:

But I wonder why a white police sergeant, an Irish American, would think — (…)

Do you think he just projected what he thought was street talk, jive talk, whatever you want to call it? I know, in the Major Leagues, the one thing you can‘t do is mention the other fellow’s momma. We know the words that might have been used in a baseball game that get you thrown out of a game.

Do you think this is just one guy projecting attitude that wasn‘t there, or what?

In a twist on the concept of “projecting” that might make Carl Jung’s head spin, it was in fact (Irish-American) Chris Matthews who was desperately “projecting” in this particular instance. For contrary to his and Robinson’s stubborn assertions, Professor Gates is not above using the “jive talk” expression “your momma.”

In fact, Gates can be heard using the phrase here, in a video NewsRealBlog commented on earlier this week.

Eugene Robinson has a history of rushing to judgment, at least when the subject is race. In 2007, he took it as a given that the Duke University lacrosse players accused of raping an African-American stripper were guilty, referring to their accuser at “the victim,” in a column published “after the meager results of the accuser’s medical examination had been publicized, as well as the negative DNA tests for the lacrosse team.”

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