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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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Watch: Texas Republican Opposes Any New Gun Legislation Because We’re Going to ‘Convict’ and ‘Punish’ the Shooters

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A Texas Republican state lawmaker said just one day after 19 elementary school students were shot and killed he opposes any new gun legislation for two reasons: the U.S. Constitution, and under existing laws prosecutors should just “convict” the shooters.

“What we want to know is what your solution is,” CNN host Alisyn Camerota told Rep. James White, who happens to be a former school teacher.

“We’ve all seen how quickly and creatively Texas—your local legislature—can act when it wants to, say, protect the unborn embryo,” Camerota added, referring to Texas’ vigilante abortion ban, as The Daily Beast reported. “Why not act with that alacrity to protect living, breathing 10-year-olds in this school behind me?”

“We have this thing called the Constitution,” White replied, even though the Texas abortion ban, under current law, violates at least the spirit of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

Like Texas Governor Greg Abbott and many other Republicans, and like the NRA, White then defended his desire to pass no legislation to help reduce gun violence by declaring the problem is actually one of mental health.

He said, “these young men, for some reason, they have some very disturbed emotional state.”

There is no evidence, according to Gov. Abbott, that this shooter had any documented mental health issues.

White then decided to propose utilizing existing law to reduce gun violence.

“At the end of the day,” he said, “we’re going to look at the people who do these acts, we’re going to convict them, and we’re going to punish them.”

Appearing flabbergasted, Camerota replied, “You can’t convict him, sir.”

“Sir you can’t convict him. He was killed. He was killed, along with 19 children in the school behind me.”

Watch:

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BREAKING NEWS

Duggar Gets 12 Years in Jail After Prosecutor Tells Judge He Has a ‘Violent Sexual Interest in Children’

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Josh Duggar, the former “19 Kids and Counting” reality TV star who was found guilty on horrific child pornography charges in December was sentenced by a federal judge Wednesday to serve 151 months – more than 12 years – in prison.

“Duggar has a deep-seated, pervasive, and violent sexual interest in children,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Dustin Roberts wrote in a sentencing memo, as Buzzfeed reported.

U.S. District Judge judge Timothy L. Brooks, appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama, called Duggar’s crimes “the sickest of the sick,” US magazine noted.

Editor’s note: Caution – graphic descriptions follow.

“Authorities described Duggar, 34, as a ‘very savvy computer user’ who tried to cover his tracks as he downloaded ‘sadistic and masochistic abuse’ material in 2019,” Buzzfeed adds.

Among the more than 600 images and videos that prosecutors said he downloaded was footage of prepubescent girls being raped, whipped, threatened with knives, and held naked in a dog cage.

Another video showed the rape and torture of a toddler — footage so terrible that a Homeland Security Investigations agent said it was among the most horrific things he had been forced to watch in his career.

The 34-year old Arkansas-born Duggar, who was forced to resign as executive director of FRC Action, the political activist arm of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council, spent nearly two years promoting his conservative and religious values as he was fawned over as a role model by the far-right, including FRC President Tony Perkins, and former Arkansas GOP governor Mike Huckabee.

“The former TLC personality has previously been involved in multiple scandals over the years,” US adds. “In May 2015, resurfaced court documents revealed that he molested five girls — four of which were related to him — between 2002 and 2003. He was 14 and 15 years old at the time. Sisters Jill Dillard (née Duggar) and Jessa Seewald (née Duggar)came forward one month later, revealing themselves to be two of their brother’s victims.”

Duggar has seven children with his wife Anna.

RELATED:

Josh Duggar Confessed to Molesting Multiple Minor Girls Close Family Friend Tells Jury Under Oath

Josh Duggar’s Attorneys Ask Court to Drop Child Porn Charges and Suppress Photos of His Hands Taken After Arrest

Federal Prosecutors: Josh Duggar Had Over 200 Obscene Images of Underaged Kids – Some of Children as Young as 5

 

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News

Watch: Video of Beto O’Rourke Confronting Texas GOP Governor and Lt. Gov. Goes Viral

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Democratic former U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke approached the stage where top Texas Republicans were holding a press conference following Tuesday’s mass school shooting.

“This is on you,” O’Rourke told Governor Greg Abbott, who is running for re-election against O’Rourke. Abbott was blaming the shooting that left 19 elementary school children and two teachers dead on a lack of mental health facilities in Texas, despite having rejected federal aid that would have expanded access in the Lone Star State.

“Sit down and don’t pull this stunt,” Senator Ted Cruz chastised.

But Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, arguably the most powerful person in the room, went ballistic.

“You’re out of line and an embarrassment,” Patrick told O’Rourke.

“You’re doing nothing,” O’Rourke said.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, on stage, loudly called O’Rourke “a sick son of a bitch.”

“He needs to get his ass out of here. Sir, you are out of line. Sir, you are out of line. Sir, you are out of line,” the mayor said, as WFAA reported. “Please leave this auditorium. I cannot believe you are a sick son of a bitch that would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.”

“You are doing nothing,” O’Rourke said. “This is totally predictable. You’re all doing nothing.”

“This is on you until you choose to do something about it,” O’Rourke added.

O’Rourke was escorted out of the auditorium by a security guard.

It was not Patrick’s first attack on O’Rourke. In 2019 he used an anti-LGBTQ slur on Fox News to go after the highly-popular Democrat, calling him “light in the loafers.” O’Rourke, as NBC News noted at the time, is heterosexual.

“He is so light in the loafers he floats off the ground at times,” Patrick told Fox’s Laura Ingraham, leading to an advertiser boycott.

After, O’Rourke told reporters the “only thing” Gov. Abbott did “was make it easier to carry a gun in public.”

“And he bragged about the fact that there would be no background check, no training, no vetting whatsoever. He talked about this was evil. The only thing evil is what he continues to do to the people of this state. He says this was unpredictable — it was totally predictable and I predict this will continue to happen when you continue to have a governor who will not stand up for the people of Texas.”

The video below has been viewed 1.2 million times in just over an hour. Other versions have also gone viral.

Watch the video from earlier Wednesday via CNN:

 

 

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