Hardball Host Goes Hardhead


Having seen MSNBC host Chris Matthews on Late Night With Stephen Colbert this week, your agent was taken aback by his ethnocentric view of the United States.

So, because I was away from Bulldog World Headquarters, your agent typed this missive on his smart phone. Man, are my fingers tired.

The episode to which I refer is at the bottom of the post:


Kristen Osborne

Senior Manager, Media Relations, Hardball



I understand you handle public relations for the show Hardball.

That must be a big job because I’m sure host Chris Matthews draws lots of flak.

We discovered from Matthews on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show this week that your Hardball host believes the U.S. is the greatest country in the world. Matthews said everyone in the world knows that.

Usually I agree with Matthews but on this he is wrong. The greatest country in the world doesn’t threaten 125,000 jobs in my country for no reason or impose tariffs unprovoked on steel and aluminum.

The greatest country in the world doesn’t say there is a “special place in hell” for my leader who was only responding as he should to bullying tactics from the so-called greatest country in the world and the wrongly named “leader of the free world”. He’s not a backstabber. He told the world how he felt. He told U.S. President Donald Trump how he felt.

If Donald Trump is so tough, why doesn’t he tie on the gloves and go a few rounds with Justin Trudeau. The prime minister is quite an accomplished boxer. I think we know how that tilt would work out. Trudeau weak? I don’t think so.

Canada sent troops to Afghanistan to fight your war with terrorists who slammed planes into the World Trade Centre. We did it because you are, or were, our friends and allies. About 100,000 Canadians gathered in my city to show solidarity with our allies to the south after the attack.

Canadian troops held the most dangerous place in Afghanistan that being Kandahar. A lot of Canadian boys came home in boxes with red and white flags on them fighting for our friends in a difficult time.

Now our cars and steel are seen as security threats by the United States. It will be a long time before Canada helps the U.S. in a similar situation. The biggest security threat to Canada at present comes from the U.S. We have much better allies in Europe and Japan.

Matthews said all Americans need to be is Americans to solve your international woes. That’s not good enough. Nowhere near good enough. Americans are acting like Americans now. Ugly Americans. Why China and Russia don’t threaten 125,000 Canadian jobs. Those are real jobs that support real families. That’s a pretty ugly American decision.

Maybe China would like our oil and natural gas more than the U.S. I understand it gets cold in the western U.S. in winter.

Canadians would never say what actor Robert De Niro said about Trump at the Tony Awards. That’s because at present Canadians are much better people than Americans.

But you know what we are thinking when we hear De Niro’s words.

So is the U.S. the greatest country in the world? No, there are many other countries greater than the U.S. if you look beyond the narrow standards of the U.S. In many other nations, parents don’t allow their children to be shot in schools and do nothing about it. In many other countries, their leaders don’t openly promote racism or call G7 communiques “socialist”. The G7 has seven countries. Six of them are better than the United States.

Matthews thought the whole Canadian situation was funny. Tell that to unemployed auto workers or the friends and relatives of dead Canadian soldiers who fought side-by-side with Americans in Afghanistan. That wasn’t our war. It was yours. We helped you because you were a good neighbour.

So Matthews should modernize his ethnocentric views. Those opinions are the seed that has grown into the bullying Trump administration. Give your head a shake.

I defended the U.S. for years in the face of some of my peers who didn’t share that view.

I don’t now.


Ken Gray

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Hardball host Chris Matthews explaining how the U.S. is the greatest country in the world.


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5 thoughts on “Hardball Host Goes Hardhead

  1. I don’t know how long ago, but it has long since disappeared from the rear view mirror, that the media became a subset of the entertainment industry.

    There is but 15 minutes of news on any given day and 24 hours of coverage. Whether it is TV, internet or print, the media are in a constant, never ending search for eyeballs, because eyeballs translate (roughly) into advertising revenue. Bland is boring. Sticking with the facts does not attract eyeballs. Being outrageous and making lots of noise tends to attract eyeballs. All of which is to say that anything on MSNBC, CNN, Fox, CBC … the list could go on forever … needs to be filtered through the lens of an industry desperately chasing revenue.

  2. Ron. I asked a classroom of Grade 4 students I was tutoring if we communicated enough these days (in my mind we communicate far too much, what with all our texting, Twittering, Facebooking, etc). One of the students noted “we don’t communicate effectively”. A Grade 4 student provided this response. I think there is, perhaps, hope for us after all. Back to your point, wading through all the “noise” is very difficult when it comes non-stop.

    Ken, a great piece today, and an interesting video. As I was thinking about references throughout to “the greatest country”, I couldn’t help but think about “the smartest person”. I don’t know Barrhaven Councillor Jan Harder but suspect you’ve spoken to her in the past. Maybe you can convince her not to run for council in the fall municipal election and set her goal instead on president of the U.S. However, she probably lacks the credentials unless she has dual citizenship.

  3. Ken,

    Many Americans know that there are other good countries , it is just that they think U.S. is the best.
    Most Americans refer to their presidents as “leader of the free world”.

    In an episode of the Newsroom, the Jeff Daniels character lays out in black and white why the U.S. is not the best at many, many things.

    I look at it this way – when someone shows you a picture of their kid, they probably assume that their child is the cutest, brightest child that ever was. Let them have that thought, it is natural. In the meantime, you know that your child is actually the cutest and brightest. So both of the children are cute and both children are bright, but I still know my child has the other beat – I just don’t tell them that.

    Let the Yanks be in awe of themselves. They always have been that way. Now, their current president – that’s a horse of a different colour and nobody should claim he’s cute or bright.

    De Niro said !@#$ Trump, he did not say nor would he say !@#$ the U.S.A..

    I am in favour of snubbing the U.S. until the Orange Man is gone.

    1. Chaz:

      Like it or not, Donald Trump is the president of the United States.

      He was chosen by the people in a free, democratic election.

      Sorry but the worst threat for Canada has always been the U.S. going rogue. Well it has done that.

      Here is a dictionary definition of fascism: “a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.”

      The U.S. is not completely there yet, but it is showing some elements of fascism.

      That’s bad for Canada and the world.



  4. Ken,
    You’re preaching to the choir. I turned down a corporate promotion many years ago. The only way up past the position I was in in the Canadian corp was to take a position in the states. I said no, called a head-hunter and it was bye-bye. Didn’t like their country, as a whole, then and like it even less now. The unfortunate thing is that the people can be quite wonderful as long as you don’t talk guns to the gun nuts; race to the bigots, social safety net to the tea-party types,etc..

    But, it’s getting a bit like that around here too. People seem to be becoming too polarized and too unwilling to meet in the middle. Too many can’t carry two opposing ideas in their head at the same time.

    Do they not teach social studies in public school any more?


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