Philly's Chris Matthews facing 'Hardball' questions over wife's campaign donors

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Chris Matthews

Philadelphia native Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, is facing his own hard questioning over the booking of guests who've contributed money to his wife's congressional campaign.

Kathleen Matthews is running as a Democrat in Maryland's 8th District.

As reported by The Intercept, which broke the story, and the New York Post, whose Right-leaning bias contrast with Chris Matthews' Left-leaning bias, Hardball guests have contributed close to $80,000 to Kathleen's campaign, with many of the contributions coming within a few days of the guest's appearance on the show.

The Post cites New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's $10,000 PAC contribution two days before her Hardball appearance as an example. Gillibrand was on the show to discuss campus sexual assault.

In full deflection mode, Kathleen's campaign manager Ethan Susseles told the Post: "Working women know it is possible to have their own career and not depend on their spouse for success."

That, however, isn't what's being questioned. This isn't a gender fairness issue. Anyone is free to give money to Kathleen Matthews' campaign. The issue is whether Chris Matthews can fairly interview those contributors on his program and what's the minimum amount of disclosure he needs to provide viewers.

Last year Chris, a graduate of La Salle College High School, said on Hardball, "As a journalist, I also know how important it is to respect certain boundaries on my support for her [Kathleen] both in my public role and here on MSNBC

"And while most of you know that our show doesn’t typically cover congressional races, I will continue to fully disclose my relationship with her as part of MSNBC’s commitment to being transparent and fair in our coverage."

Except the Post says transparency has been lacking. Chris hasn't always made it clear when someone giving him quotes has also given his wife money.

With trust in the media only slightly higher than trust in Congress, it's a problem Chris should address head-on and recuse himself from interviews when necessary. While there's no evidence of a quid pro quo (Kathleen donations equal Hardball bookings or easier questions), the perception creates the reality.

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