Philly Inquirer Goes Easy on Matthews

Sure, it’s his hometown paper.

But did the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Bob Fernandez have to make things so cushy for MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in a profile (of sorts) today? The moments of so-called tension are expected: A Sarah Palin trip to Israel is “phony baloney.” Family gatherings with his Republican brother, Jim Matthews, who ran for the state’s lieutenant governor in 2006, are charged. “It’s a huge crowd,” Matthews tells the Inquirer of family Christmases in Lower Gwynedd. “It keeps the cousins together. Some of the cousins.”

More business story than fluffy feature, the peg is that Matthews is now an employee for the “rebooted” Comcast Corp.

An excerpt: “We are now working for a company that’s selling our content to the home,” said Matthews, an often-repeated view at NBC. “They can help us. Before, we were working for a company that manufactured aircraft engines and lightbulbs.” That is not to say there is not some apprehension. “It’s very business-oriented,” Matthews later observed confidentially. “These guys, I understand, are very IBM-ish.”

MSNBC President Phil Griffin claims “Fox is now in our vision, and there are a couple of hours where it’s getting close.” The story says CNN did not return a phone call about ratings.

It’s unclear what Matthews means entirely when discussing potentially (as in never) going head to head with CNN’s former host Larry King. “Larry [King] is the only one who would have beat me. And he’s gone. I don’t think of myself in that way anyway,” he tells the newspaper after they call him “youthful” for his 65 years and declare him one of the “longest-serving” cable hosts. “I’m so energized.”

The genuinely interesting part of this story? This photograph…of Matthews as a boy with his dog. The year is 1957. Matthews is 11 years old.