We Read Howie Kurtz’s 3100-word Valentine to Chris Matthews So You Don’t Have To

The highlights:

    -Re: his “criminality” comment:

      “I did it on purpose,” Matthews says now. “I wanted to make a statement that we had a purpose on the show — to tell the truth.”

    -“You know he’s saying exactly what he thinks — that’s the whole trick,” says Tammy Haddad, the show’s former executive producer. “You know it’s coming straight from his gut. That’s what his appeal has always been.”

    -Matthews says his job “is to be provocative and say things — you know, ‘That’s crazy!’ — the way you might at a party.”

    -In a Christmas video for the NBC staff, Brian Williams jokingly called him “Rain Man.” Tom Brokaw cracked on “The Daily Show” that “when it comes to politics, Chris has a form of Tourette’s syndrome.” Matthews is the childlike genius with an uncanny command of political arcana who is sometimes oblivious to his own erratic behavior.

    -“Chris was very disrespectful to me,” [Dee Dee] Myers says. “He has every right to disagree with me, but he did it in a way that was dismissive and wrong. Not only was it bad manners, it was bad television. . . . My only regret is I didn’t make him apologize on the air.”

    -On his controversial Hillary comments:

      “I’ve said a million times, I like her,” Matthews says. “We kid around back and forth. She’s very charming.” But, he says, “the way that got portrayed was, I was somehow against women’s aspirations.”

    -“If all your life you’re afraid of needles, and you’re afraid of blood, and you’re notoriously afraid of doctors, you put things off you shouldn’t put off,” he says. Matthews has since dropped 35 pounds and injects himself with insulin four times a day.

    -He does not enjoy being on the receiving end. When Jon Stewart mocked his book “Life’s a Campaign” — “I’m not trashing your book, I’m trashing your philosophy of life,” the comedian told him — Matthews grumbled for weeks about what he called the “book interview from hell.”

    -Several friends expressed concern that Matthews, who assumed the title of managing editor last summer, is growing more ill-tempered. His periodic outbursts can be hard on the staff. When an aide screwed up the teleprompter years ago, he shouted at her, “I’m not some rape victim who’s going to sit here and take it!”

    Matthews definitely won’t be happy about what some hacksters did to his Wikipedia page…After the jump…