But more important than Matthews retiring from “Hardball” is the climate that made his departure necessary, at least from the corporate perspective. In the post-“#MeToo” era, the movement that has started to put an end to sexual harassment ranging from sexual advances and intimidation to rape (Harvey Weinstein) has swept people such as Matthews into its vortex of contempt and condemnation.
It is tempting once more to ask why so many television newsmen have been swept up in the #MeToo movement. The industry, even more than other lines of work, has long been fertile ground for harassment. So much of the medium is about appearances that many of the metrics are misplaced. On top of that, even on good days, most normal humans would be uncomfortable on air. It’s simply much more exposed and vulnerable than real life.
This course correction was essential given the abuses with which we’re now all familiar, but this seems a good time to recognize that not all sins are created equal. One woman’s compliment may be another’s sexual harassment. Clearly, the answer is to avoid making personal comments, but I worry this is leading us to stifle human interaction.