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MSNBC May Cancel Lawrence O’Donnell’s ‘The Last Word’ and It May Be Because of Trump

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OPINION – Message to Liberals: MSNBC Is Not Our Friend

MSNBC is not a “liberal” news network. It is a for-profit vehicle of global telecommunications giant Comcast. Comcast is not in the news business, it is the “you” business. MSNBC, especially NBC News and MSNBC chairman Andy Lack, has made clear the network is in business to sell its viewers to advertisers. Period. What programs it produces and what journalists it employs are merely a means to a desired end: profit. And squeezing out liberals in order to attract more conservatives is MSNBC’s game plan.

Case in point: Network executives, it appears, are preparing to cancel “The Last Word,” hosted by Lawrence O’Donnell, who has been on the network since MSNBC’s inception. O’Donnell’s show is the network’s second-highest rated show, after “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

There are just four weeks left on O’Donnell’s contract, and the network – as it did with Melissa Harris Perry – reportedly has not bothered to reach out to O’Donnell’s agent or even let him know if the show has a future. Usually these negotiations begin months in advance.

According to a report by Yashar Ali at HuffPost (formerly The Huffington Post), part of the reason may be that Donald Trump has been trying to get MSNBC to cancel O’Donnell for years.

Ali reports he spoke with ten sources both inside MSNBC and outside the network.

“If O’Donnell’s contract is not renewed, the news would certainly be welcome to President Donald Trump, who has had a long-running feud with O’Donnell,” Ali reports.

In 2011, O’Donnell called on NBC to fire Trump, then the host and executive producer of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” for pushing his racist and inaccurate “birther” conspiracy against President Barack Obama. In 2015, he also claimed that Trump was lying about his wealth. Trump threatened to sue O’Donnell for making false statements but never followed through on his threat (which O’Donnell had predicted). 

According to three sources, Trump has pressured MSNBC President Phil Griffin to fire O’Donnell on multiple occasions. Griffin alluded to Trump’s push for O’Donnell’s ouster in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter last month, saying, “[Trump] started calling me all the time in 2011 to say Lawrence O’Donnell was a ‘third-rate’ anchor.”  Griffin and O’Donnell enjoy a cordial relationship but Griffin’s power as the President of MSNBC has been diminished by Lack since he returned in 2015. As a result, Lack will be the one to decide whether O’Donnell stays and under what terms. 

“There is a fear, among some at MSNBC, that Lack is making programming decisions in an effort to appease the Trump administration (an accusation that has been made of CNN and Fox News), which may lead to more access to the White House and in turn, conservative viewers,” Ali notes.

Stunning.

If MSNBC executives are making programming decisions based on what President Donald Trump wants, it is not, by definition, an independent news network. And that’s a shame, because there are many, many great, hard working journalists at MSNBC and NBC News.

Regular watchers of the network have seen a stunning increase in conservative voices on MSNBC for the past year. The addition of former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren to MSNBC’s lineup at 6 PM was shocking, but more shocking has been her disappointing lack of ability sometimes to grasp and convey basic facts. 

Ali, writing at New York Magazine last month, reported “MSNBC is in talks with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt about creating a show for him on weekend evenings.” 

At an NBC News town hall after the election, Lack said that the organization should be focused on appealing to America’s heartland, according to people at the meeting. The remark was widely seen as a directive to, as one source put it, “focus on Trump voters.”

Some staffers have inferred a link between Lack’s directive and the decision to pull Today’s first black woman host, Tamron Hall, off the show to make room for former Fox News host Megyn Kelly. Ultimately, Hall chose to leave both NBC and MSNBC — where she had her own 11 a.m. program — rather than accept a diminished role. Lack also hired former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren and gave her the 6 p.m. slot on MSNBC’s weekday schedule. Since Van Susteren’s show debuted in January, the ratings have been, by any objective measure, abysmal. In a rare occurrence for that spot, her numbers have actually been lower than those of her lead-in program, Chuck Todd’s Meet the Press Daily. Van Susteren’s hire was not well-received internally at MSNBC, with Chris Matthews being especially frustrated by the decision, according to two network sources.

In January, the New York Post’s “Page Six” reported: “NBC wants to be ‘the next Fox News,’ insiders say.”

“He believes he’s building MSNBC and NBC into the next Fox. It seems the network wants to take a more conservative tone,” a source said.

Over the past year more right wing commentators have flooded MSNBC’s airwaves, some of the worst among them are Hugh Hewitt and Matt Schlapp – who are, from what I can tell, anathema to many liberal viewers. 

American democracy is in enough danger as it is. Americans need responsible, independent journalists to uncover and deliver the honest truth, not corporations pulling strings based on what the worst President in U.S. history wants.

There are some excellent journalists in front of and behind the MSNBC cameras. They, and the American people, are ill-served by decisions coming from Andy Lack.

To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.

Images: Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC via Wikimedia

 

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CRIME

Highland Park Shooting Deaths Include Both Parents of Two Year Old Found at Scene of July 4th Massacre

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On Twitter Sunday afternoon in the aftermath of the July 4th Highland Park mass shooting a photo of a young boy appeared in several tweets. He was described as lost, good samaritans assumed he had become separated from his parents in the mayhem of the massacre, and people were trying to reunite him with his family.

CBS Chicago reporter Marissa Parra now reveals the boy’s name is Aiden, but he won’t be reunited with his parents: both were shot dead by the Highland Park gunman.

“Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were among the seven people [who] were killed during the mass shooting,” CBS Chicago reports.

“We took him to safety under tragic circumstances, came together to locate his grandparents, and prayed for the safety of his family,” reads the story on a GoFundMe page hoping to raise money for Aiden.

“Sadly, I need to share his name…Aiden McCarthy. And he needs more of our help,” it adds. “At two years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents,” it adds. “Aiden will be cared for by his loving grandparents, Misha and Nina Levberg, and he will have a long road ahead to heal, find stability, and ultimately navigate life as an orphan. He is surrounded by a community of friends and extended family that will embrace him with love, and any means available to ensure he has everything he needs as he grows.”

About $475,000 has quickly been raised with more than 7600 people contributing. The top donation is $5000.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Invasion’: Texas Lt. Gov. Likens Border Crossings to Attack on Pearl Harbor – ‘These People Are a Danger to America’

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Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, a far-right Republican, is comparing migrants crossing the border into Texas to Japan’s 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that killed 2335 people. He is calling it an “invasion” and says that gives the state the right to “put hands on people.”

Patrick, who because of Texas’ unique structure is more powerful than the governor, told Fox News on Tuesday, “we are being invaded, and if we’re being invaded under the constitution I think that gives us the power to put hands on people and send them back. Put hands on people and send them back,” he said repeatedly.

“These people are a danger to America,” Patrick said in a rant. It was unclear if he was referring to migrants or President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The Lt. Governor, who has hawked the racist “great replacement theoryrepeatedly, and used the term “invasionrepeatedly, told Fox News that Texas is now spending $4 billion annually on the border, while Texas National Guardsmen and Texas Rangers complain of being called up to serve, having to abandon their regular jobs, for no apparent reason.

RELATED: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Blames ‘Video Game Industry’ for El Paso White Supremacist Terrorism: ‘We’ve Always Had Guns’

“This is the biggest danger we have, to your family,” Patrick says of the fentanyl crossing the border. “It’s all on Biden,” he claimed.

Last week Texas Governor Greg Abbott drew extensive criticism for using the deaths of more than 50 migrants packed into an 18-wheel tractor-trailer as a political opportunity to attack President Biden. Even some conservatives attacked Abbott for his inhumane remarks..

 

 

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BREAKING NEWS

7th Victim of July 4th Mass Shooting Dies

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Seven people have now died as a result of a gunman opening fire from a rooftop into an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois.

The latest victim succumbed to their injuries Tuesday afternoon, NBC 5 Chicago reported. Authorities have not identified all the victims, but have said five of those who died were adults. Another 46 people were wounded.

Police on Tuesday announced that the shooter fired at least 70 rounds into the crowd, using a “high-powered rifle” that is “similar” to a AR-15. They also revealed the suspected gunman planned the attack for weeks, purchased his weapons legally, disguised himself by wearing women’s attire to “conceal his facial tattoos and  his identity,” and to “help him during the escape.” He then walked to his mother’s house after the shooting.

Law enforcement Monday evening arrested Robert Crimo, who they say is a “person of interest,” but he has not been charged.

“There are no words for the kind of monster who lies in wait and fires into a crowd of families with children celebrating a holiday with their community,” Illinois Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes, their dreams, their futures. There are no words I can offer to lift the pain of those they leave behind. Please know that our state grieves with you, that MK and I grieve with you.”

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