The next time FNC’s Chris Wallace and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews are contestants on Power Player “Jeopardy,” hopefully producers will pit them against each other. Then we might be able to determine just which Chris is more appealing. In the meantime, we’ll improvise.
In the game show that aired Monday, Matthews played against CNN’s Lizzie O’Leary and former Obama White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. Wallace’s round was broadcast Wednesday. He faced “Dr. Oz” host Mehmet Oz and “BBC World News America” host Katty Kay.
Based on coverage of both nights, Matthews bombed and Wallace crushed the competition. Following Matthews’ poor showing, NewsBusters recalled Matthews hypothesizing in 2008 how well former V.P. hopeful Sarah Palin would perform in the game (in short, he was calling her dumb). The NewsBusters story went viral. Flash to Wallace coverage: almost every story highlighted how well he did.
Jezebel Editor-in-Chief Jessica Coen called Matthews “entirely too slow” for the game show. His MSNBC colleague Willie Geist relentlessly mocked him for not seeming to grasp the answer-in-the-form-of-a-question rule of the game. “Did you see his face?!” Geist said the next morning.
For Wallace, the comments were nicer. “Congratulations to my friend Chris Wallace … for winning DC Jeopardy! tonight,” his colleague Juan Williams tweeted. “Go get ‘em, Chris!” FNC reporter Shannon Bream tweeted in support.
But Jeopardy is just a game, after all. We still need to settle the score between the two men: Who really is the better man?
Here we have Chris Matthews
Hair: Blonde. Gets unruly on long election nights. The mane looks crazier as the night wears on.
Education: College of the Holy Cross
Spouse: Kathleen Matthews, chief communications and public affairs officer for Marriott International
TV behavior: He’s the interrupter. He does it to the point where even his guests roll their eyes and look annoyed as they wait for him to finish diatribes. That said, reporters who go on his program also say they like him and insist that he’s quite amiable off air.
Best on-air moment: An incredibly awkward interview during the 2004 Republican National Convention in which former Democratic Sen. Zell Miller (who was being questioned via satellite) told Matthews to “get out of my face” and said he wished he could “challenge” him to a “duel.”
Controversy: Matthews has been accused several times of being openly sexist, particularly in regards to Hillary Clinton, who he said didn’t become a U.S. Senator on merit, but because her husband “messed around.” And then there’s the time he “forgot” President Barack Obama “was black for an hour” during the 2010 State of the Union address.
Famous relative: His son Michael‘s father-in-law James Ormonde Staveley-O’Carroll was implicated in a $8.1 million international drug bust. Over 4,000 pounds of pot were found in transit on a boat from Jamaica to the U.S in early 2011. The boat belonged to Staveley-O’Carroll. Also, Matthews’ son Thomas has been cast to play in Aaron Sorkin‘s upcoming HBO drama “The Newsroom.”
Workload: Hour-long nightly news talk show “Hardball,” half-hour Sunday morning news panel show “The Chris Matthews Show”
Accomplishments: Failed run for the House of Representatives in Pennsylvania as a Democrat; he received 25 percent of the primary vote.
And here is Chris Wallace
Hair: Dark and kempt and rarely moves. Fox News must have better hairspray.
Education: Harvard College
Spouse: Lorraine Wallace, author of the cookbook Mr. Sunday’s Saturday Night Chicken and Mr. Sunday’s Soups.
TV Behavior: Folksy. Wallace, unlike Matthews, is annoying in an entirely different way. He’s the school marm, the enforcer of the rules and making sure guests don’t interrupt one another. They might as well hand him a ruler for the show. At least then all his enforcing might be entertaining.
Best on-air moment: A contentious 2006 interview with Bill Clinton in which the former president accused Wallace of asking questions that he wouldn’t “ask the other side [Republicans].”
Controversy: Wallace faced some sexist claims of his own. Last year he asked then presidential candidate Michele Bachmann if she was “a flake” (which he later apologized for). His colleague Greta Van Susteren asked if he would “ask the same question of a man.” And Wallace faced intense criticism for a lack of objectivity when he said if presidential candidate Ron Paul were to win the Iowa Caucuses in January, it would discredit them.
Famous relative: Son of the late CBS reporter Mike Wallace.
Workload: Hour-long Sunday news talk show “Fox News Sunday”
Accomplishments: A Peabody and three Emmy awards