A Salute to Hardball
The end came swiftly and unexpectedly to Chris Matthews, the host of Hardball on MSNBC. To understand what a political institution the show was, Hardball has been airing before there was an MSNBC on a network known as America's Talking back in the early 1990s. Hardball then moved to CNBC and eventually MSNBC.
Hardball, like it's CNN's Crossfire, was the political show when cable television was developing an audience. Unlike Crossfire, Hardball was a one-person show driven by Matthews' love of politics. The show was not to be missed during the Clinton impeachment scandals.
Remember, this was a world before the Fox News Channel, before Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. Today everyone on cable television talks politics, but Chris Matthews lived it. He worked his way up from a Washington DC cop to a speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter. I was always a fan of Hardball. Sure other shows had bigger audiences, but Chris made you earn your spot on his show.
I can remember getting my first call after appearing on multiple cable shows throughout the years. Hearing Chris Matthews say, ' and we now go to radio talk show host Kevin Miller,' is something I'll always treasure as a great accomplishment.
Hardball would invite local talk show hosts who disagreed with the host. But it wasn't a shouting match like we see today on cable television. It was a discussion. And that will be the lasting legacy of Hardball with Chris Matthews; you could agree to disagree.