According to one prominent MSNBC host, anyone who would dare to defend President Donald Trump is a liar.
Lawrence O’Donnell, host of “The Last Word” on the network, recently appeared on former Sen. Al Franken’s podcast. Franken (who was forced to resign from the senate because of how he treated women in comedy bits a decade ago) said CNN’s coverage of the Trump administration amounted to “playing it down the middle, except we hate Trump,” O’Donnell interjected, reported The Daily Beast.
“No, they don’t,” O’Donnell said. “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’s right.’”
“That’s one of the reasons why Trump kind of wants you to watch CNN instead of MSNBC,” O’Donnell said, according to the Beast. “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.”
Franken then asked O’Donnell the obvious question: “Are you saying that to defend Trump you have to lie?”
O’Donnell gave the predictable response.
“Yes, absolutely you do,” O’Donnell said. “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 pay to tell their lies to the CNN audience in the middle of a CNN hour for some number of minutes,” O’Donnell continued “And so Trump knows that if you watch CNN ‘at least you’ll hear someone lying in my favor.’”
The Beast gently pushed back against O’Donnell’s “one third” comment, saying it “may be somewhat of an exaggeration,” but went on to knock CNN for “paying Trump-defending pundits who in some cases cannot even publicly criticize him without violating non-disclosure agreements.”
The network also had a habit of paying Obama-defending pundits who didn’t even need a non-disclosure agreement to keep them from publicly criticizing their messiah. CNN also has a habit of paying people who actively tried to bring down Trump, such as former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (who is paid by the network despite being found to have lied to federal investigators). Naturally, these points didn’t make it into the Beast article.
The outlet had previously spoken to two of O’Donnel’s NBC colleagues – “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd and Chris Hayes. Todd told the Beast in early 2019 that he would keep bringing on people to present Trump’s side of the argument, like White House advisor Kellyanne Conway (whom the Beast said had a “proven propensity to mislead,” as if no left-leaning guests ever mislead viewers) because he didn’t “have a hard and fast rule about who I put on and who I don’t.”
“I don’t think you ban anybody. She works for the president of the United States. If she is relevant to a story we’re doing, I do think it’s important for the country to hear from a senior aide to the president,” Todd said.
Hayes said he was more concerned with “good faith” versus “bad faith” arguments.
“To me, the distinction between good faith and bad faith is an elemental one, and I just can’t deal with bad faith hackish spinning,” he told the outlet in September. “I hate running around in circles with people who are just gaslighting you, like Corey Lewandowski. Life’s too short to argue with Corey Lewandowski.”