Published June 21, 2013
LOS ANGELES – Actor Jeff Daniels, star of the HBO political drama series "The Newsroom," appeared on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" show on MSNBC on Thursday. During the interview, Matthews expressed his admiration for the Aaron Sorkin drama, in which Daniels plays anchor Will McAvoy.
"It's the most organic show I've ever watched, it seems to come out of itself every week, it seems to grow like a human being," Matthews enthused. "That's what makes it so unpredictable and so fascinating to people."
The news host went on to praise the cast, including Emily Mortimer and Jane Fonda, before closing out that they keys to the show are "honesty" and giving audiences "something to take away."
Matthews happily mentioned his son Thomas has an acting role on the show, but what he failed to disclose is that he is also a paid contributor. The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that the MSNBC host, along with the likes of former CNN president Rick Kaplan and anchor Ashleigh Banfield, cash "Newsroom" checks.
"Matthews hilariously praised the show’s 'honesty' during his five-and-a-half minutes with Daniels, but never once did he admit that he is one of the 13 paid consultants working 'to make season two as realistic as possible,'" said Dan Gainor, VP of Business and Culture at the Media Research Center. "Apparently, Matthews never heard that honesty is the best policy."
Media critic and author John Ziegler said Matthews will simply "get away with it because no one on the left will call him on it and his audience won't ever even know there was an issue."
Communications pro Glenn Selig concurred it was quite a misstep. "Chris Matthews has a vested interest in seeing the show succeed, because he is making money, and because his son in on the show," Selig said. "There is no doubt that he should have disclosed that information to the public. The fact that he did not, makes it appear as though he is trying to hide something. It comes across as sneaky."
A rep for MSNBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.