Chris Matthews Biography
Claim to Fame: News anchor and political commentator (Hardball with Chris Matthews and The Chris Matthews Show)
DOB: December 17, 1945
Diabetes Type: 2
On December 6, 2006, Chris Matthews, political commentator and host of the top-rated talk shows Hardball with Chris Matthews and The Chris Matthews Show, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, an illness that, despite existing in his family, he admits to never giving a moment’s thought. In a 2009 interview with Diabetes Health Magazine he stated, ”I never had it in my head about checking blood sugar... I ignored diabetes. I didn't know what high blood sugar meant. And when the doctor would tell me about it, I always said ‘Yeah, OK,' and left it at that." With such a fast-paced, demanding life, it is no wonder Chris was blindsided by the diagnosis. However, after a period of adjustment, a series of doctor visits, and a considerable amount of education, he was on a regular schedule of diabetes oral medications Januvia and Metformin, as well as injections of Lantus insulin at night. Through education and constant monitoring, the media personality has learned to keep up with his demanding career without compromising his health.
Possessing a sharp wit and, at times, insensitive candor, Chris Matthews has attracted a considerable following for his hard line, political-themed talk shows and deep-rooted views on political and social issues affecting the country. Driven by a strong understanding of politics and even stronger personal convictions, Matthews openly stirs controversy, using it to garner viewers and draw attention to highly debated issues.
Born Christopher John Matthews, the anchor grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Originally a reserved and quiet boy, Chris grew up in a devout Roman Catholic, Irish American household. As a teenager, Chris’s introduction to the world of politics began with a fascination with John F. Kennedy. A young Irish American and the first Roman Catholic president, JFK was an inspiration to Chris and he closely followed Kennedy’s presidency and life, later writing a biography on Kennedy, entitled Jack Kennedy: Exclusive Hero.
In keeping with his Catholic education, Chris attended La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania and College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, graduating in 1967. Following college, Chris joined the United States Peace Corps and worked for a time in Switzerland and Africa, before returning to the United States in 1970 to work on a graduate degree in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Upon arriving in Washington, D.C., Chris took a job as an officer in the United States Capitol Police before working a series of jobs in politics, ranging from a member of the staff for Democratic Senators Frank Moss and Edmund Muskie, to serving as a speech writer for the president under the Carter Administration. Chris also served as a top aide for Speaker of the House, Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. In 1974, he attempted a more visible political career, running for Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Though ultimately unsuccessful, Chris made the transition from the background to a more public position.
In the 1980’s Chris began a career in print journalism, working as Washington Bureau Chief for the San Francisco Examiner until 2000, and as a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle from 2000 to 2002. During his career as a journalist, he reported on a number of historically significant events, ranging from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the first election in South Africa to welcome all races. With both the Chronicle and the Examiner, he established a strong sense of politics based on action, as opposed to theory and conceptualization.
In 1997, Chris began a television career with CNBC, creating the political-themed talk show Hardball with Chris Matthews, which is still on the air and currently appears on MSNBC. The show is set-up as a panel discussion of current political issues with Chris serving as host and mediator. The show has raised criticism, with many arguing that Matthews monopolizes the show and does not allow guests to make their point if it conflicts with his own. Regardless, the show has a regular panel of speakers and attracts senators, congressmen, presidential nominees, activists, and even celebrities.
In addition to Hardball, Chris began The Chris Matthews Show in 2002. Unlike his original show, The Chris Matthews Show is set up as a roundtable discussion with Chris as mediator, accompanied by a constantly changing group of journalists. The show appears on NBC. Outside of his success on television, Chris has published a number of books, some discussing his political views and others analyzing politics in American history. He has published numerous books, inluding: Hardball: How Politics is Played, Told by One Who Knows the Game; Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry that Shaped Postwar America; Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think; American: Beyond our Grandest Notions; Life’s a Campaign; and Jack Kennedy: Exclusive Hero.
Despite criticism and disapproval by some, Chris continues to draw attention and appeal to viewers. As a political analyst and commentator, both liberals and conservatives alike have challenged his views, calling him inconsistent or conflicting. Regardless, he continues to have a following and, in March of 2009, renewed his contract with MSNBC for Hardball with Chris Matthews to continue through 2012.
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