Kathleen Matthews, a former Marriott executive who is probably best known as the wife of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, is running for Congress in Maryland’s 8th District. As it turns out, guests on Hardball, Chris Matthews’ political talk show, have been quite generous to Kathleen Matthews’ campaign.
The Intercept reports that Hardball guests have contributed $79,050 to the Matthews campaign as of December 2015. Some of these guests appeared on the show long before they donated to Matthews’ candidacy, but at least 11 of them appeared after she announced her run, and none of their contributions were disclosed on the air, according to The Intercept.
Steve McMahon, a consultant who donated $2,700 to the Matthews campaign and appeared on Hardball after her candidacy was announced, insinuated that criticism of her relationship to the show is sexist:
McMahon told The Intercept that “it is inherently sexist for anyone to suggest that Kathleen Matthews isn’t doing this on her own.” He added that he donated to Matthews because “I support candidates I believe in,” and that he hopes to “continue to (appear on “Hardball” long after my friend Kathleen Matthews is elected to Congress.” He did not respond to whether donations by on-air “Hardball” guests should be disclosed.
“Kathleen’s name has rarely come up” on the show since her candidacy has announced, the Intercept notes, and it does not appear that any of the donors’ Hardball appearances were related to her campaign.
However, many of Matthews’ donors are former Bill Clinton administration figures, and Hardball has faced criticism for its seemingly negative coverage of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s primary opponent.
Chris Matthews is not the only MSNBC personality to be accused of allowing personal ties to affect his coverage of the 2016 campaign season. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of Morning Joe have been heavily criticized for their relationship with Donald Trump, after a series of reports including a voicemail the pair left for the candidate which was obtained by Gawker.