Richard Howell

Former contributing Writer


Latest from Richard Howell

On Sunday, panelists on MSNBC’s AM Joy attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his defense of religious liberty in the United States. Without question or dissent, Sessions was condemned in the harshest of terms. Host Joy Reid asked Minister Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove about his position that defending religious liberty is really only defending conservative Christians. He claimed: “I think this way that religious freedom is being framed is rooted in the history of slave holder religion and the way in the 20th century that it tried to justify discrimination.” 



In the wake of Facebook apparently discovering and shutting down Russian troll and disinformation pages, MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle has turned to an authoritarian solution. On the 11th Hour with Brian Williams Wednesday night, Ruhle said, “I'm not going to feel bad for Mark Zuckerberg. This is the world he created, and maybe it's a Frankenstein. Maybe he created a monster,” of the social media site. She continued: “And while it's our gargantuan problem, Facebook has a gargantuan amount of money to address this.” 



On All In Tuesday night, the conversation turned to recent reports that the right-leaning Koch brothers were considering supporting candidates outside the Republican party. Commentary soon drifted, however, into outright criticism of the prominent libertarian donors. Apparently, Charles and David Koch don’t want to pay taxes. 
 



On All In with Chris Hayes Tuesday night, Hayes and a panel of guests discussed Democratic candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and concluded that, in the end, her specific socialist policies don’t matter. After misrepresenting Republican positions, the panel arrived at the conclusion that perception of Ocasio-Cortez trumped her lack of substantive proposals.



The media are desperate to lend support to congressional Democrats in their frenzied opposition to the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, an otherwise qualified jurist, to the Supreme Court. On MSNBC's All In Monday night, host Chris Hayes cherry-picked a single remark in order to denigrate the federal judge. 



On MSNBC’s All In Tuesday night, and then again on CNN’s New Day Wednesday morning, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut repeated his claims that the current moment is comparable to 9/11. Each time, the hosts failed to ask him to clarify or add nuance to his extreme statement. 

 



On Monday night, MSNBC prime-time shows spent the vast majority of their time discussing President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court. Of the 27 guests which appeared over the four-hour block from 8:00 p.m. to midnight ET, not a single conservative was given time to speak about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.



On Sunday’s edition of AM Joy, a discussion on President Trump’s potential Supreme Court justice pick turned into a full frontal attack on Republicans and the party’s pro-life positions. Three separate guests lambasted the GOP as hypocrites not fit to accurately call themselves pro-life. 



On the Sunday edition of MSNBC’s AM Joy, apologists for California Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters and incivility were out in full force. The Root’s Jason Johnson and The Beat DC’s Tiffany Cross both lent support to calls to harass Trump officials.



Justice Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday, and the ramifications sent the media into a frenzy over all things Supreme Court. On MSNBC Live with Katy Tury, stand-in host Steve Kornacki did not speculate on the best replacement for Kennedy but instead asked four different guests about the possibility of Republicans failing to confirm President Trump’s nominee to the high court. 



Over the weekend, MSNBC repeatedly failed to condemn the removal of Sarah Huckabee Sanders from a Virginia restaurant because of her political affiliation. The story received only minutes of coverage, often being squeezed into the last moments of a program in favor of wall-to-wall coverage of the immigration crisis, but the tacit approval of the removal was remarkable. 
 



Noting the death of conservative author and columnist Charles Krauthammar late Thursday night, MSNBC anchor Brian Williams delivered an obituary that was positive overall, but was unable to resist laying blame for the Iraq War at the feet of the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. 



On The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell Wednesday night, MSNBC National Affairs Analyst John Heilemann wrote off Republican responses to President Trump’s immigration policy as little more than self-interested. Heilemann argued that Republicans were facing an existential crisis and that “this policy was going to put 100 Republican seats in jeopardy.”



Democrats in Congress are intent on using outrage against the Trump administration's immigration policies, rather than substantive action, to rally their electorate. On Tuesday, during a three-hour block of immigration coverage on MSNBC, it was clear the media was set on helping them do so.



Lawrence O’Donnell on Monday accused congressional Republicans of nothing more than political theater in their responses to the FBI text scandal. He treated the texts as a sideshow, and he attempted to present Republicans as hypocrites by comparing their criticisms of the FBI at a congressional hearing to their own criticisms of Donald Trump.



Democrats love protecting children and invoking a higher power, but only when it benefits them politically. On All In with Chris Hayes Thursday, former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer cited religion, sin, and children to blast the Trump administration’s immigration policy. 



MSNBC, continuing to seize on Tennessee Senator Bob Corker accusing the Republican Party of acting like a "cult," has doubled down on the accusations of cultishness that started with Chris Matthews. While appearing on The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell on Wednesday, The Root’s editor Jason Johnson suggested that cults of personality have infected the GOP for decades. 



Rather than hard-hitting journalism, weekend MSNBC anchor Joy Reid routinely allows soft answers and vague replies from her liberal guests. An interview on Sunday was no exception, when the AM Joy host asked Democrat Lucy McBath, congressional candidate for Georgia’s 6th district, questions about her stance on gun control.
 



Reports of the seizure of New York Times reporter Ali Watkins’ personal belongings and the arrest of a senate staffer who allegedly leaked  information to her have been met with consternation from the media. On Thursday night's The 11th Hour, however, host Brian Williams and guest Peter Baker of The New York Times discussed the precedent for such action: the Obama administration. 



In a segment on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell Wednesday night, host O’Donnell and guest Ron Klain, former senior Obama aide, wrote the eulogy for the Republican Party in California. Narrowly focusing on Tuesday's Senate primary in which incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein was the heavy favorite, the GOP was described as being “wiped out” and Feinstein’s predictable victory as nothing short of “stunning”