MSNBC Host Lawrence O’Donnell Declares Trump Supporters “Liars” And Refuses To Have Them On Show

500px-MSNBC_2015_logo.svgSome of us have been highly critical of the trend in media toward “echo-journalism” where cable networks tailor their coverage to reinforce and repeat the expectations of their viewers.  Few hosts are willing to admit to the formula coverage, though there have been telling moments.  None have been open than Lawrence O’Donnell on  The Al Franken Podcast when he declared that MCNBC was completely over the need to present two sides of coverage on Trump because defenders of Trump are “liars” and “I don’t bring on a liar.” It is that simple.  The other side is just lies so only our side needs to be reported.

As someone who once worked for NBC and MSNBC (and has appeared on O’Donnell’s show), I was astonished by the statement. I always found him to be an intelligent and perceptive person in our past dealings.  He should not want to work in a mere media echo chamber.

I am not sure what is more chilling: the suggestion that CNN is too far to Trump or the declaration that MSNBC has now abandoned even the pretense of balance. O’Donnell’s statement drew no correction or rebuke from NBC or MSNBC.  He was responding to a statement by Franken that CNN is a network which “[plays] it down the middle, except we hate Trump.”  That was at least a recognition of the bias at CNN, but strangely O’Donnell did not view it biased enough. Indeed, he suggests that CNN is preferred by Trump because it gives a balanced view but MSNBC discards with any such pretense:

AL FRANKEN: So, I want to ask you about cable news because you’ve got CNN, which is sort of, “We’re playing it down the middle except we hate Trump.”

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: No, they don’t. One third of the people on their payroll love Trump. So, you’re guaranteed on any hour of CNN to, minimum, one third of the programming will be supportive of Trump. Someone on their payroll saying, “Here’s why Trump is right.”

FRANKEN: Well, they bring someone on to do that. Their hosts don’t do that.

O’DONNELL: Their hosts don’t. But that’s one of the reasons Trump kind of wants you do watch CNN instead of MSNBC.


O’DONNELL: Because he knows on MSNBC there will be no one defending him because we don’t bring on liars. I don’t bring on a liar. I won’t do that. And there’s no one on CNN —

FRANKEN: Are you saying that to defend  Trump, you have to lie?

O’DONNELL: Yes, absolutely.

FRANKEN: Of course. Of course.

O’DONNELL: How else do you defend a liar, a pathological liar who lies about everything? You have to lie. So, CNN has people on the payroll who they basically pay to tell their lies to the CNN audience in the middle of, you know, a CNN hour for some number of minutes.


FRANKEN: So, you’re the progressive station. Fair to say?

O’DONNELL: Yeah, I’ll take that. I believe that what I do in my hour, what Rachel does, what Chris Hayes does, we discuss everything in a completely honest way and that sounds partisan in today’s era because the Republican Party is just non-stop lying.

There was a time when MSNBC would have been quick to correct such statements, including the idea that the entire network is there for one part of the electorate.

I recently wrote a column noting this one-sided approach to stories like attacking Republican senators for defending Trump before the trial but not Democratic senators for pronouncing his guilt.  Thus, in a column on such statements, MSNBC legal analyst Joyce Vance objected only that “some of the jurors have already committed to vote for the defendant.”  The reshaping of MSNBC as pure partisan advocacy has led to serious misjudgments like the airing of an unvetted allegation recently against President Trump.  O’Donnell apologized for that story on the air.  O’Donnell often takes jabs at Fox News for being one-sided but it appears that his objection is not with any bias but the wrong bias.  In reality, Fox News routinely has far more diversity of opinion than MSNBC, including considerable criticism of Trump who has repeatedly lashed out at the network.  Hosts like Chris Wallace has delivered some of the most stinging interviews with the President.

This is why this country is so rigidly divided. Media hosts now proudly declare that they will tailor the news to fit their view of truth and bar those who disagree as liars. In this case, a viewer can sit and watch O’Donnell and not hear a single thing that challenges their assumptions or bias.  No wonder people are so angry when they only receive news in such media silos maintained by hosts like O’Donnell.

102 thoughts on “MSNBC Host Lawrence O’Donnell Declares Trump Supporters “Liars” And Refuses To Have Them On Show”

  1. I agree with Lawrence O’Donnell. We never had fake news until we had a fake president, and the mainstream media is responsible by giving the lunatic fringe access to a platform to spew their hatred and even, in Turley’s case, to publicize legally flawed opinions. I’m writing MSNBC to request that Morning Joe and the other shows never call you to appear again. You should stick to FOX.

  2. Problem is with most so called news sources is that they are actually part of the entertainment of all networks and not in anyway setup to do anything more than that. They are there to get attention and give people their opinions not really give us enough information to make educated decisions on any matters related to our government. The BBC and many others are far less biased against the majority of Americans than our own news sources, and sadly I never thought that it would come to a point where this is so blatantly obvious and so many are oblivious to this fact.

  3. It is very sad when people have no respect for anyone else. Even when I completely and utterly hate someone I can find at least one thing good to say about them. Why has this fallen to such a new low? These kinds of attitudes can do nothing good for this country or the world, as they are only good for destruction of everyone and anything that exists. There are also at least 3 sides to most arguments. When I seen the name O’Donnell, my first thought was Rosie, but no it was a guy that is even far more opinionated and hateful. Also I used to watch Al Franken on SNL, and thought that he was a liberal, but he sounds far more normal than Lawrence O’Donnell. I also don’t get why someone would be so focused on Trump when it is just one of many that make life very difficult for me and millions of others. Also the President is not in complete control of the Whitehouse and has not been for a number of decades now. There are many unseen faces that tell the president that needs to get done and he does it. So blaming the President for everything that comes out of the White House is not being honest or fair to any President. Even worse is that many are not able to even understand what I am saying. There are also foreign influences in the white house that none in the news want to talk about in our news such as the Pope, Queen of England, and many others, including the head of the world bank and the FED just to name a few.
    I may not think very clear always, but things like this are obvious to me and many others around the earth. Also to say that none of those I mentioned have no effect on the presidents decisions means that that person knows very little of politics or is not willing to admit the truth. When someone is so opinionated as that and they are in positions where they can influence others it presents a clear and present danger to everyone of us. We need to have far fewer people filled with hate in positions of authority and power as in those kinds of people being in such positions always end up starting violence on one side or another and the last thing we need is more violence. I would like to see all forms of violence reduced not only the very small amount that is attributed to firearms. People are far more likely to be killed crossing the street in a sidewalk than they are to be gunned down in most parts of the USA. This is from FBI crime data, and other sources. If someone kills someone with a knife, a hammer, baseball bat or anything else the crime is the same far as I’m concerned it is premeditated murder. When I hear people saying it is about guns, that tells me that they feel it is acceptable to murder people by stabbing them, smashing their head open and many other things and that they see it a crime for someone to shoot someone with a gun to stop someone from murdering one of their family members. In other words people have no right to defend themselves or their family members or any of their friends or loved ones.

  4. All Trump defenders, likes must b ed liars. Trump is a huge liar. He wanted to bribe countries to let business live there. If you defend a liar. You’re a liar. It’s ok if you’re a lawyer or you defend a one off liar, like children, or people who are sorry for their behavior. Trump is NOT THAT. I BELIEVE HE IS AN ALIEN. HE’S BEST FRIENDS WITH TREASONOUS, CHILD MOLESTERS. HOW DO YOU DEFEND THAT.

    1. For your information buddy Clinton was way closer to Epstein. Trump barely knew his name.

      1. Agreed as I have seen the picture of President Bill Clinton wearing Monica’s dress, that is so weird it is hard to forget. Trump did have someone in his cabinet that knew Epstein and when he found out he fired him. Trump did know Maxwell, as he met someone close to him through her. Also Maxwell did hangout far more with all 3 of the Clinton’s and even went to Chelsea’s wedding. These things are known to anyone that is not brainwashed and hiding from things other than the entertainment media.

  5. Wonder if you would present “both sides” in Germany under Hitler? 16,000 lies by Trump. Most corrupt president the US has ever had.

    1. Truth or lie seems more and more to be in the eye of the beholder. So if your bias is liberal Democrat, you will see more lies. I certainly see a large number of false statements made by Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler, Schumer et al. Any time you totally drink the “Kool-Aid” of one side, you have lost the ability to reason, and are no better than the people whom you are trashing. Why don’t you consider taking a fresh look at the President?

    2. Polk was the most corrupt president the usa has ever had. Learn history, trump isnt even in the top 10

      1. Liam – would you back up your claims about Polk with some information. I have taught US History and I do not remember Polk as being corrupt.

  6. Lawrence is 100% right. “Both sides” means facts from both sides. Why would I waste my listening to what I know are lies? If I’m so inclined, Fox offers plenty of “alternative truths”; MSNBC doesn’t need to be that desperate.

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