And he refused to answer the question.
A petulant Chris Matthews wouldn’t talk about MSNBC’s recent ratings dip during an interview flogging his fawning essay on the late Sen. Edward Kennedy that’s in the November issue of Boston magazine.
“Let’s just drop all the conversation about my network,” the “Hardball” host huffed the other day. “I’m not a media critic.”
It could be that Matthews got a little hot under the collar because his left-leaning network has been losing viewers.
During the recent third-quarter ratings period, Fox News averaged about 2.26 million total viewers in prime time and was up 2 percent from the same time last year. CNN had 949,000 viewers and was down 30 percent. MSNBC averaged 795,000 viewers and was down 10 percent.
In the coveted 25- to 54-year-old demographic, Fox News averaged 589,000 viewers and was up 5 percent. CNN had 288,000 and was down 39 percent. SNBC had 275,000 and was down 21 percent.
Mediaweek television analyst Marc Berman says Fox News is well above the competition.
“There’s bleeding everywhere except Fox News,” Berman said. “The rich has gotten richer and that’s Fox News.”
Matthews did, however, weigh in on the feud between rival Fox News and the Obama administration, which has accused the channel of being an “arm of the Republican Party” and said it shouldn’t be treated as a news organization.
“My hunch is they’ve discovered in their research that the commentators on that network have begun to cut into the independents and that they’re worried that some independents are listening to those voices and believing them,” Matthews opined.
As for his essay on Kennedy, Matthews says the glossy mag approached him to write it. The theme of his piece is how the legendary lawmaker triumphed over tragedy, and it’s the opening essay for the magazine’s upcoming Kennedy bonanza.
Boston magazine senior editor Paul Kix said they picked Matthews because he’d known Kennedy for a long time and because of his connection to the late House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr. Matthews was the Cambridge Democrat’s top aide for six years.
Kix said he was also chosen for the “buzziness.”
“Though he’s not a local guy, he does have a reputation within media circles,” Kix said.
In addition to O’Neill, Matthews tells us he does have other Bay State ties. He graduated from Holy Cross and has a summer home on Nantucket.
The magazine had tried to get Kennedy’s widow, Vicki, to cooperate but she wasn’t interested . . .
Mary Jo Kopechne was not available for comment on the essay.