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Chris Matthews retires from MSNBC, cites comments to women
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Chris Matthews retires from MSNBC, cites comments to women

Chris Matthews retires from MSNBC, cites comments to women
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File
FILE - This Aug. 2, 2011 file photo shows MSNBC host Chris Matthews takes part in a panel discussion at the NBC Universal summer press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. Matthews announced his retirement on his political talk show "Hardball with Chris Matthews" on Monday, March 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Chris Matthews retires from MSNBC, cites comments to women

Longtime MSNBC host Chris Matthews abruptly retired from his “Hardball” show on Monday, apologizing for making inappropriate comments about women and following a brutal week where he also took heat from supporters of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

His exit came after a weekend of discussions with his bosses, three days after GQ ran a column by a freelance journalist about her “own sexist run-in” with Matthews in the makeup room before appearing on his show.

Matthews opened his program Monday with the announcement, talking in his familiar staccato style, that he was ending his run on the political talk show he started in 1997. After a commercial break, he was replaced in the anchor chair by a shaken Steve Kornacki.

“This is the last ‘Hardball’ on MSNBC, and obviously this isn’t for lack of interest in politics,” Matthews said.

He said that "compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have incorrectly thought were OK were never OK. Not then, and certainly not today, and for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.”

The 74-year-old Matthews, who underwent prostate surgery last year, worked as a speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter and was top aide to House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O'Neill before turning to journalism as Washington bureau chief for the San Francisco Examiner. He had been talking to MSNBC management about retiring after the election, but he didn't survive until Super Tuesday.

He apologized last Monday for likening Sanders' win in the Nevada caucus two nights earlier to the Nazi takeover of France. On Friday's show, he confused the identities of South Carolina Senate candidate Jaime Harrison and Sen. Tim Scott, both black men.

And he was criticized for an uncomfortable interview with Warren following the presidential debate, asking if she believed Mike Bloomberg was lying when he denied telling a pregnant female employee of his news company to terminate the pregnancy.

“Why would she lie?" Warren said.

In her first-person story GQ story released Friday, journalist Laura Bassett said Matthews behaved inappropriately toward her when she was a guest on his show in 2016.

In the makeup room prior to the show, Matthews looked at her and said “why haven't I fallen in love with you yet?” she wrote.

"When I laughed nervously and said nothing, he followed up to the makeup artist. ‘Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her,’” Bassett wrote. “Another time, he stood between me and the mirror and complimented the red dress I was wearing for the segment. ‘You going out tonight?’ he asked.”

Bassett said she wrote about the encounter in a 2017 essay but didn't name Matthews because she was afraid of network retaliation, adding, “I'm not anymore.”

It was noticed by outsiders when Matthews didn't appear on MSNBC's coverage of the South Carolina primary on Saturday night.

Crew members backstage at “Hardball” on Monday learned of their boss' exit about an hour and a half before Matthews' statement. There were audible gasps in the green room from guests waiting to go on for the first segment when they listened to the announcement the same time as viewers. Shortly after he made his statement, Matthews left the studio with his wife and family.

MSNBC said there will be rotating subs in the time slot before a permanent replacement is named for the host who has been a mainstay of the network's lineup since two years after MSNBC launched.

Even before his last week, there was some discontent among Sanders supporters about Matthews' lack of enthusiasm for their candidate, putting the news network that appeals to a liberal audience at odds with a potential liberal presidential nominee.

Kornacki, at the end of Monday's show, said he watched the show as a teenager.

“Chris has plenty of intellect but he also was willing to wear his heart on his sleeve,” he said. “That's what made him compelling viewing.”

Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker tweeted that she's writing an angry column about his exit.

“Chris Matthews is a friend of mine,” she wrote. “He and I have flirted unabashedly for 20 years. This is an atrocious end to a noble, happy-warrior career. I will continue to be his friend.”

____

Associated Press writers Lynn Elber in Los Angeles and Jonathan Lemire in New York contributed to this story.

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The South Korean automaker also donated $4.1 million to the Korea Disaster Relief Association to assist ongoing efforts to control the virus’ spread, while Hyundai Motor America announced plans to donate $2 million to 10 hospitals with drive-through coronavirus testing facilities. Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor India has ordered coronavirus diagnostic kits from South Korea for 25,000 people and plans to deliver them to hospitals in India, CNN reported. UK races to convert convention hall into country's biggest ICU to handle coronavirus overflow Update 4:21 a.m. EDT April 1: The NHS Nightingale will open its doors this week on London’s East End in a bid to ease the United Kingdom’s anticipated ICU bed shortage. In less than one week, the UK’s National Health Service will have converted the ExCel Center into a 4,000-bed field hospital to handle coronavirus overflow from overtaxed hospitals. To date, the UK has confirmed 25,481 COVID-19 infections, resulting in 1,793 deaths nationwide. Illinois governor says he’s ‘purchasing every ventilator that I can find’ amid coronavirus surge Update 4:05 a.m. EDT April 1: After receiving barely 10 percent of the ventilators he requested to meet rising demand, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he is personally scouring all available sources in the absence of federal assistance as the novel coronavirus sweeps his state. “I’m purchasing every ventilator that I can find,” Pritzker told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday, adding, “But we’re buying them in 100 lots and 200 lots. Frankly, I’m taking them 50, 20, 10, wherever I can get them.” Pritzker told Cuomo Illinois requested 4,000 additional ventilators but has received only about 450 to date. “We are going to run out of ventilators, and the federal government really isn’t helping at all,” Pritzker said. Captain of embattled aircraft carrier requests Navy evacuation as coronavirus infects sailors Update 3:17 a.m. EDT April 1: In a letter dated March 30, U.S. Navy Capt. 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US coronavirus deaths hit 4,076, total cases top 189K Update 12:31 a.m. EDT April 1: By early Wednesday morning, the number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States neared 200,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 189,510 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 4,076 deaths. U.S. cases now outnumber those in any other nation by wide margins, including the 105,792 reported in Italy and the 95,923 confirmed in Spain. Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 1,550 – or nearly half of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 267 in New Jersey and 259 in Michigan.  In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with at least 75,795 confirmed cases – or roughly four times the next-closest state – followed by New Jersey with 18,696 and Michigan with 7,615. Three other states have now confirmed at least 6,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 6,932, including 150 deaths • Florida: 6,732, including 84 deaths • Massachusetts: 6,220, including 89 deaths Meanwhile, Illinois, Louisiana and Washington state each has confirmed at least 5,000 novel coronavirus infections; Pennsylvania and Georgia each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; Texas and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Colorado, Tennessee, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s complete state-by-state breakdown.
  • Running out of ideas for fun family activities to do indoors amid coronavirus stay-at-home orders? You may want to follow Shaquille O’Neal’s lead. According to Fox News and USA Today, the former basketball star-turned-DJ shared a now-viral video Monday of himself putting on a concert for his two sons, stepson and nephew from his kitchen. Less than a minute into the clip, the party turns raucous as two of the boys jump onto the kitchen counter and show off their dance moves. “Don’t be down,” O’Neal, who performs under the name DJ Diesel, captioned the clip, which had been viewed more than 4.7 million times by Wednesday morning. “Be safe love yall,” he continued. “Oneal boys kitchen concert.” >> Watch the video here Read more here or here.
  • A Charlotte, North Carolina, mother who was desperately trying to protect her twin baby boys just learned her entire family was exposed to the coronavirus by a Spectrum technician. “He told me the tech that had been at our house had just tested positive for COVID-19, and my heart just stopped,” said Emily Beaty. The mother said she has been protecting her twin baby boys since they were born 26 weeks premature. She called Spectrum last week to have her internet serviced. She said she asked the customer service representative the steps that the company was taking to protect customers from exposure to COVID-19. 'They were taking this situation very seriously. They were prescreening their employees, and all of their employees were healthy,” she said. She said the tech arrived at her home and started doing work outside. Her husband saw him cough briefly outside. Eventually, the tech came inside to quickly finish up before leaving, she said. Four days later, she said Spectrum called her and said the tech tested positive for COVID-19. 'I just don't feel like they were doing a proper screening. I mean, they sent a tech out to my house that had a cough and not two days later, he is being tested for coronavirus,' Beaty said.A spokesperson for Spectrum sent WSOC-TV the following statement: “We have confirmed that one of our Charlotte-based technicians has tested positive for COVID-19. We immediately contacted the customers recently served by this technician, as well as the technician’s co-workers. “We learned this technician was not feeling well on March 25 (Wednesday) and sent the technician home immediately. The technician sought medical attention and was subsequently tested. When we confirmed the positive test on March 27 (Friday), we began contacting customers served by this technician and co-workers. “We are continually communicating and educating our staff on best practices according to the CDC health and safety guidelines, such as proper hygiene and social distancing. We are encouraging all technicians to take their temperature at home before reporting for work. We have made clear, including in a message directly from our chairman and CEO to all employees that any employee who is sick, or who is caring for someone who is sick, should stay home. If an employee needs to self-quarantine, they will not need to use their paid sick leave, but will continue to be paid and receive full benefits while under quarantine. The company also has given every worker an additional 15 days of COVID-19-related paid time off, and hourly workers who do not use this time during the COVID-19 pandemic will be paid out the remaining unused days at the end of the year.
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  • At the beginning of the spread of the novel coronavirus in December 2019, we didn’t really have an idea of just how quickly the virus could spread. It was when COVID-19 was officially declared a global pandemic that the situation became very real for the entire world - especially those in countries where the virus had already spread far and wide and claimed hundreds of lives on a daily basis. So far, it’s become clear that obtaining as much data as possible is the best way to combat the virus, mainly by testing as many people as possible and ensuring we have the appropriate approach to deal with the numbers. Now, mapping the outbreak is the goal for many tech companies across the globe as we learn more about how and when COVID-19 spreads from person to person. WFXT found two companies that teamed up to show just how far and wide the Spring Break revelers in Florida spread out after congregating at a single beach during a national call for social distancing in early March. Mapping platform Tectonix teamed up with cell phone location data tracker X-mode to create a viral video that shows thousands leaving one Florida beach over Spring Break, fanning out across the country and potentially spreading the coronavirus. “Despite international news, no one seemed to be changing behavior based on what we saw at all, like nothing happened,” said Rob Gresham, Co-Founder of Tectonix. Together, both companies were able to “analyze secondary locations of anonymized mobile devices that were active at a single Ft. Lauderdale beach during Spring Break” and track them as the spread out across the country. Most of the more than 5,000 people in the sample size were headed to the Northeast. Co-Founders of Tectonix, Rob Gresham and Elliott Bradshaw say they hope to apply their mapping technology to other areas and industries impacted by the virus. “We’re looking to apply that technology not just to looking at how Spring Breakers spread coronavirus, but home logistics shipments are moving around the world and how airline trends are being impacted by this type of crisis,” said Bradshaw. Researchers at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and Harvard have developed their own way to map the virus. Using crowdsourcing, https://www.covidnearyou.org/#!/ asks the public to report current symptoms in real time and be identified only by ZIP code. “There really is a lack of understanding of the true burden of this disease across our country, particularly with the limited amounts of testing being done,” said Kara Sewalk, one of the developers of COVID Near You. Sewalk says the goal is to help public health experts and government officials understand how many people are infected on a local, state and federal level. “It’s not meant to replace surveillance of COVID or any other type of illness, but rather to augment existing surveillance systems to supplement the information that we’re collecting across the U.S.,” said Sewalk.