Lawrence O'Donnell Accuses Newsweek of Corrupt Deal for Sarah Palin 'Love Letter' Cover Story

On MSNBC’s The Last Word on Monday, host Lawrence O’Donnell suggested Newsweek magazine is not only failing badly at the newsstand, it’s allegedly making corrupt deals with Sarah Palin to boost its own flagging sales.

Without citing him by name, O’Donnell slammed Palin profiler Peter Boyer, a long-time favorite of Newsweek editor-in-chief Tina Brown, insisting he just sold his soul on this puff piece for the money.

As to why Newsweek decided to give Palin the softest treatment the lamestream media ever has, the answer actually lies at the end of the article, where Newsweek inadvertently confesses to the deal it obviously made to Palin for the cover, the flattering photography, and the puff piece.

"’The mainstream press is becoming less and less relevant,’ she said. Adding that she would have no hesitation in shunning media outlets she does not trust. ‘I would say no to those who have lied about me. There is no need to reward bad behavior. I`ve learned, you know, once bitten, twice shy. I have learned.’"

There’s Newsweek telling you that she would have no hesitation in shunning media outlets she does not trust. That means Newsweek had to make promises to her to get her trust. I have specifically avoided mention of the author of the Newsweek piece because he has done good work in the past and he surely will again and should not be known for this love letter to Sarah Palin.

But there’s a puzzle O’Donnell missed: if Palin were really using a “once bitten, twice shy” approach, why on Earth would she be granting access to Newsweek, who’s slammed her in several cover stories, including the controversial one with the cover photo borrowed from Runner’s World?

The segment’s introduction was amusing, as O’Donnell suggested Newsweek was a poor value and a collapsing business proposition, but then to him, so was Palin:

Time for tonight’s Rewrite. The once-noble "Newsweek" and now the fastest sinking ship on the newsstand, in a desperate attempt to boost newsstand sales of a five dollar magazine that is 68 pages long, 17 and a half of which are advertising, has put this lie on its cover this week. Sarah Palin`s lie, quote, "I can win" goes uncontested in Newsweek’s lengthy, adoring profile.

O'Donnell never has a problem when Newsweek is offering its long, adoring profiles to Barack or Michelle Obama. But Palin-boosting is corrupt, since it promotes the corrupt conservatives.

It’s awfully tiring to hear O’Donnell claim it’s a “lie” to predict a crystal-ball proposition. Is it a “lie” that O’Donnell promises that MSNBC’s job is to “lean forward”? O’Donnell then launched into a lecture on Palin’s current unpopularity, and then another lecture on how it was stupid to let Palin mourn about trying to “return to the governor’s chair after defeat on a national ticket. Michael Dukakis was the last to manage it in 1988.”

Most people would read that and think that Dukakis was the last governor to lose on a national ticket, but O’Donnell somehow thinks it incorrectly implies that “others have tried and failed” in between Palin and Dukakis, because “Newsweek does everything it can to make the madness of Sarah Palin seem reasonable.”

One could joke that Larry O'Donnell is now admitting that George W. Bush actually won in 2000 -- although he never did agree with the liberals and acknowledge defeat and go back to Austin.

O'Donnell claimed: “So another way of writing that sentence is the last sitting governor to lose on a presidential ticket had no problem managing the return to his governor's job. Such is the pathetic pro-Palin tilt that permeates this utterly absurdist piece.” O'Donnell knows who will "lose the future" and it is Palin:

Palin obviously negotiated and successfully demanded Newsweek's cover in order to cooperate with the magazine. "Newsweek" said she`s worthy of the cover because of, quote, "her standing as a possible presidential candidate with presumed front runner potential."

But, of course, as viewers of this program knows, Sarah Palin is never going to run for president or any other elective office. She has discovered the joys of the responsibility-free celebrity and the millions in income that are hers through deft management of that celebrity. Surely some at "Newsweek" are smart enough to know this and may have decided to go with the Palin cover because, with Michele Bachmann soaring in the polls, they are only days away from the utter irrelevance of Sarah Palin.

The all-knowing Larry O’Donnell has read every crystal ball about Palin’s future and can say that she can never win and will never run. (He clearly hasn't seen the Palin documentary "The Undefeated," where she's painted as Reagan's natural heir.) But after all of that bluster about how horrid and corrupt Newsweek is, guess what O’Donnell said seconds later as he went to commercial?

After saying Peter Boyer sold out for money, he added: “Speaking of the money, it turns out that this week's Newsweek is, for once, worth every penny of the five bucks it costs at the newsstand because of Carl Bernstein’s masterful article, ‘Murdoch's Watergate.’”

It's too bad O'Donnell didn't get an interview with Tina Brown, so he could show her his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde routine in person.

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Tim Graham's picture