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The downfall of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and other commentary

Media watch: The Downfall of Chris Matthews

MSNBC host Chris Matthews’ Monday on-air retirement was “shocking . . . but not very surprising,” notes Joel Mathis at The Week. His incendiary comments on the Democratic race and a GQ “first-person article accusing Matthews of sexual harassment” meant “the end was clearly nigh.” Yet he is just the latest of many “high-profile flameouts in the TV news industry in recent years.” Matthews always “offered his audience a show — political news as entertainment,” rarely ­“enlightening or informative” but always a “spectacle” that was “good for ratings.” But his “shtick had curdled and grown sour after 20 years.” Still, it’s fitting that “the end of his run on MSNBC was such a spectacle, a masterpiece of sound and fury.”

Conservative: Corona’s Economic Hit

Even short of the worst-case COVID-19 scenarios, “the economic — and potentially political — pain will be massive,” warns The Federalist’s Christopher Bedford. We are “looking at a lost spring and summer of travel, spending, gathering, socializing, and productivity,” plus “the rise of a Democratic candidate who scares the hell out of Wall Street,” so recession becomes a serious risk. It isn’t just the stock market’s dip: “The effects of the virus are already on Main Street,” thanks to the disruption of supplies from China and South ­Korea, with other nations likely to follow. Some US companies will close, ­especially mid-sized employers; larger firms will slow down, with many workers telecommuting. Travel and hospitality industries will be hit hard. “For ­Donald Trump, this means major political risk just in time for the election.”

Urbanist: Bernie’s Unhelpful Housing Approach

Bernie Sanders has come out against “Boston’s proposed Suffolk Downs Redevelopment, one of the largest mixed-income, transit-oriented housing projects in the country,” reports City Journal’s Alex Armlovich. The plan would transform the “161-acre defunct horse track” into “a mixed-income, mixed-use community of 10,000 housing units, of which 20 percent will be rent-controlled, non-market units, plus 40 acres of public open space,” as well as job-creating office and retail space. Sanders’ announcement “sparked a mix of reactions, revealing a divide on the left between anti-gentrification radicals and pro-housing liberals.” Radicals’ “resistance to building housing on unoccupied land makes it more likely that current residents will face higher rents, and eventual displacement, from the limited existing housing stock.” This “uncompromising approach to development, with no role for the private market,” will “do nothing for people in Boston desperate for a place to live.”

Foreign desk: How Not To Leave Afghanistan

Though the United States is “understandably eager to withdraw from ­Afghanistan,” the new US-Taliban agreement has major holes, Richard Haass argues at Project Syndicate. It doesn’t include the Afghan government, and it’s “silent” on political and human-rights concerns. Already, the Taliban has restarted “armed attacks” on government forces. Washington needs to sign a “commitment to the Afghan government,” protecting against Taliban insincerity and reassuring Afghans that they aren’t “being abandoned.” The best solution would have been “keeping several thousand troops in the country to continue to build and train the Afghan security forces and to conduct select counterterrorism missions.” That wouldn’t have ended “the ‘forever war’ ” — but neither will this agreement.

From the right: The End of Globalism

According to “gushing” early 21st-century cosmopolitans, globalization was “the end of history,” making “nationalism, borders and even the nation-state itself all irrelevant,” sneers National Review’s Victor Davis Hanson. They were wrong from the start: Not only was globalism nothing new, but the globalists foolishly just assumed that “globalization was inherently superior to, say, nationalism.” Indeed, it’s exactly because of globalization’s “dissemination of information” and “ease of travel” that we’re facing the coronavirus, which previously couldn’t have spread “throughout the world in a matter of hours.” Even globalization’s good effects usually come when “viable nation-states” manage to check “globalism’s excesses and dangers.” The moral of the story: Globalists were aiming at “utopia” — forgetting that “utopia” means “no place.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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