Yesterday, I watched the inauguration of President Obama on CNN. I don’t often watch other channels, because a lot of them try to go into the negative aspects of a day such as this. I had friends who turned off their televisions when other stations started talking about everything Bush did wrong. I’d say CNN did a nice job of keeping away from the negativity, for once, and focusing on Obama. This was his day, after all.
Online, some friends of mine in the disability community informed me about what was happening on MSNBC during the inauguration. Chris Matthews, the Hardball guy, was covering the inaugural events, and he made some harsh comments about Dick Cheney. Unfortunately, the way in which he said them were critical of every person in a wheelchair.
You probably already know Dick was in a wheelchair after he strained his back while lifting boxes as he was moving. Friends of mine, like Kara Sheridan have posted their thoughts on this, especially about how he could have rented a better wheelchair, so he could either push himself or motor into the inauguration. I, personally, felt Cheney was ashamed of the wheelchair, and getting something more comfortable, might have been too much for a proud, evilite like him, to handle.
Regardless, the issue was sensitive for him, and the press couldn’t keep from commenting about it. CNN was the most polite. They sort of brushed over the fact he was in a wheelchair, other than to explain why he was in one. That was fine. Tom Brokaw angered a few with his comparison of Cheney to Dr. Strangelove. I’m not so sensitive that this bothered me. In fact, I believe Brokaw said what he meant in a stupid way. I believe he was reflecting on the irony of the fact that, like Dr. Strangelove, another evil man has ended up in a wheelchair. He wasn’t offending the wheelchair user, but rather dissing Cheney. I think he phrased it stupidly, but I don’t think there was malice in what he said.
What I can’t forgive is Mr. Hardball’s comments. Chris Matthews said something downright stupid and inaccurate. By all intents and purposes, he tried to say (not verbatim) that Cheney’s evil ways meant he deserved to be in the wheelchair he was in. It’s a metaphor for the low esteem in which he is held by the world. Sure, I can agree Dick is a DICK. I can’t stand him, but making cracks because he’s in a wheelchair? How does he think the people in wheelchairs, who are there long term, felt?
I bet there were some scratching their heads asking, “If he thinks Dick Cheney deserved to be in a chair for his evil deeds, then what did I do to deserve to be in one?”
I can look past Dr. Strangelove, but not these comments. Both comments were stupid, but Brokaw was dissing Cheney, while Matthews was dissing the wheelchair, and why Cheney was in the wheelchair.
What is wrong with him, seriously? What makes people think they can say such crude things, and get away with it? I’m not sure why he said it, but, if you haven’t viewed the video above, you can check out his comments by visiting:
So, what do you think about Chris Matthews’ comments? He offended a whole group of wheelchair users, even those of us not easily offended.
If you agree that Chris Matthews was wrong, I’m asking you to email MSNBC and complain about his remarks.
You can email MSNBC here:
Perhaps we can get Chris Matthews to see how insensitive his comments were, and how other networks like CNN took the high road, choosing to ignore the wheelchair in order to keep things positive for President Obama.[tags]Chris Matthews, Hardball, MSNBC, Tom Brokaw, CNN, Inauguration, President Obama, Dick Cheney, wheelchair, discrimination[/tags]