So Long Lawrence O’Donnell

By On

Lawrence O'Donnell has fooled me for a couple years now. He comes on MSNBC each weekday evening right after Rachel Maddow. They both are known as enlightened stalwarts of liberal and progressive political perspectives. Not like those conservative talking heads on Fox who exaggerate and polarize and even press false information on their fan boys. Not like the Fox guys who bully their guests.

Well, this evening, O'Donnell inadvertantly showed he is no better than the Fox folks. He had on a highly qualified liberal reporter he expected would support his view that Putin orchestrated the Snowden debacle and Putin is causing the problems. Setting that up, he posed his question to her and asked her to explain it for viewers.

Julia Ioffe disagreed with O'Donnell and said Putin did not control the situation and had no option but to give Snowden asylum. O'Donnell did not want to hear that and, in effect, came back with, no, no, no, - that is not true. He chastised her and told her what she really should admit. She stood her ground. He came back with a condescending rant - and went after her in absolutes, getting angry in the process. She stood her ground. He bullyed her. And then he refused to proceed with the interview - switching to another guest. Eventually, he came back to her for a comment on something else before the commercial break.

O'Donnell showed his true colors. He was pushing the old Cold War rhetoric that he lived with as a Senate aid and staff member. He treated Julia Ioffe like a traitor or an idiot.

Now, MSNBC puts up the videos of all his guests each night. You can see it here - but the interview starts at 04:10. Or, to see just the interview, has the video. 4 minutes.

So, I won't be watching O'Donnell any more. He could not bear being contradicted by a qualified guest. I see now that his show is propaganda by a narrow-minded old Cold War-rior, not the enlightened explorations of the day's political news by an intelligent and experienced progressive. And I wil be looking for Julia Ioffe and checking her website. She stood up to him, risking not being invited back to his show and maybe to any show on MSNBC. She has courage and integrity.

You know, I haven't posted in a while. I have two articles in process, one on our city park's department that I hope to post tomorrow. And this website tries to deal with local issues, not national. But as this 4 minute interview concluded this evening, it was something I just had to comment on. We liberals must be ready to criticize those on the left who act badly. Just as we expect our conservative friends to police their own ranks. Loyalty heavies will think of this as 'eating our own,' but the truth is that sort of thinking is what has caused our country to be so divided of late. Lawrence O'Donnell should be sharply taken to task by Rachel Maddow and others for this evening's program. I doubt it will happen.

Here is the final irony. O'Donnell is taking his talking points from the Obama administration - a pundit of his stature has regular input from Obama's aides - and O'Donnell is following it - while he condemns such by the Russian media. Just like during the Cold War. Actually, all the talking heads tonight suggested that Russia is restarting the Cold War - which is absurd. But they are all taking their cues from Obama on Jay Leno last night. They are doing what they accuse the Russian media of doing. We Americans would do well to be aware of that.

Well, just before posting this, I did a final web search - and here loffe has posted what she wanted to say on O'Donnell. A good read.

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About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Dick Conoboy

Aug 08, 2013

Long ago I stopped watching O’Donnell, along with Maddow, Schultz, Sharpton, Matthews,  I find O’Donnell to be a sanctimonious boor and the rest of them are no more than faux progressives who shill for this administration [and don’t forget to BUY GOLD as a hedge against the coming catastrophe!) in the guise of liberalism.  Most of all they don’t say much of importance.  “Gotcha” journalism at its best. Petty sniping and mewling about nasty Republicans and Tea Party voters. They win all the arguments but never talk about the issues.  Consider this:

“The lie of omission is still a lie. It is what these news celebrities do not mention that exposes their complicity with corporate power. They do not speak about Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, a provision that allows the government to use the military to hold U.S. citizens and strip them of due process. They do not decry the trashing of our most basic civil liberties, allowing acts such as warrantless wiretapping and executive orders for the assassination of U.S. citizens. They do not devote significant time to climate scientists to explain the crisis that is enveloping our planet. They do not confront the reckless assault of the fossil fuel industry on the ecosystem. They very rarely produce long-form documentaries or news reports on our urban and rural poor, who have been rendered invisible, or on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or on corporate corruption on Wall Street. That is not why they are paid. They are paid to stymie meaningful debate. They are paid to discredit or ignore the nation’s most astute critics of corporatism, among them Cornel West, Medea Benjamin, Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky. They are paid to chatter mindlessly, hour after hour, filling our heads with the theater of the absurd. They play clips of their television rivals ridiculing them and ridicule their rivals in return. Television news looks as if it was lifted from Rudyard Kipling’s portrait of the Bandar-log monkeys in “The Jungle Book.” The Bandar-log, considered insane by the other animals in the jungle because of their complete self-absorption, lack of discipline and outsized vanity, chant in unison: “We are great. We are free. We are wonderful. We are the most wonderful people in all the jungle! We all say so, and so it must be true.”

This quote comes from a 24 March 3013 article entitled “The Day That TV News Died” by Chris Hedges.  You can read the full piece at this link.


Dick Conoboy

Aug 08, 2013

Correction: That is a 24 March 2013 article by Chris Hedges.

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