last night in the Saturday Night Card Game, in which I suggested that Matthews’ hyperbolic, non-stop accusations of Republican racism were a marketing ploy to secure himself a coveted media niche.

With the benefit of some hindsight, I think I was too kind in my analysis.

I think Matthews is looking to provoke a reaction and thereby create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And Matthews is getting a reaction.

At an MSNBC on-site location two people mockingly shouted at Matthews and MSNBC’s security detail then roughed them up:

A scuffle involving an MSNBC producer and two men who heckled host Chris Matthews was being investigated by security officials Thursday night a few blocks from the Republican National Convention.

Matthews was hosting a show at a makeshift outdoor stage near the Tampa Bay Times Forum after Mitt Romney accepted the GOP presidential nomination. During a break, two men shouted, “Hey Chris, how’s that tingle up your leg?” The comment was a reference to Matthews’ 2008 comment that a Barack Obama speech sent a “thrill up his leg.”

According to witnesses, a shoving match ensued.

“Then this short dude who works for MSNBC pushed them,” said Toby David, who came to the defense of the two hecklers. Another witness, Kim Churchman, added, “One of them was smiling and didn’t know it was coming, and the guy just shoved him.”

Matthews also was met with jeers at a restaurant in Tampa and Matthews fired back:

Matthews was booed and sworn at as he was leaving the Tinatapas restaurant, which is near the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Matthews turned back and confronted the taunting GOP officials. The Hill witnessed the exchange and interviewed Republican delegates after the confrontation.

Matthews told The Hill in a phone interview that after he left the restaurant, he heard a group of guys “heckling” and “hooting and hollering” at him.

He headed back into the restaurant to mix it up with them. “I wanted to confront them,” Matthews said, describing his exchange with the men as “towel-snapping” among guys.

Matthews said he told the rowdy group, “What’s this, a douchebag convention?”

The Republicans became angry and retorted back.

It’s publicity gold for Matthews.

Don’t take the bait folks.  It’s what Matthews wants.


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