The Last Word
At MSNBC, many are rallying behind Barack Obama’s foreign policy, despite his seemingly aimless goals. On the August 12 edition of The Last Word, host Lawrence O'Donnell mentioned Hillary Clinton's comments about the President's foreign policy, in which she claimed that ‘don't do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle. O’Donnell couldn’t help but defend Mr. Obama, even if it meant attacking the likely 2016 presidential nominee for the Democrats.
After citing a quote from a Clinton spokesman designed at easing the tension between the former Secretary of State and the President, O’Donnell claimed: “Don't do stupid stuff, if it was the organizing principle of American international relations, would be the single best organizing principle we have ever had. We would finally stop doing stupid stuff.” [MP3 audio here; video below]
In a discussion about Rand Paul’s presidential chances on MSNBC’s The Last Word, a panel featuring Josh Barro and Richard Wolffe managed to hit Republicans for being anti-immigrant while also accusing Paul and conservatives – not the Obama administration – of misleading on Benghazi. Paul has received media criticism for supposedly fleeing a dinner with Rep. Steve King when the Iowa Republican was approached by two so-called “Dreamers” regarding his opposition to the President’s DACA program. Paul says he got up from lunch to conduct a pre-arranged interview with reporters a few feet away.
The New York Times’s Barro, who recently caused a stir for suggesting on Twitter that socially conservative attitudes need to be ruthlessly “stamped out,” had unkind things to say about those who support more border security as well. He whined that “so much of the Republican base...is just very strongly anti-immigration.” He elaborated further on the subject: “And when Republicans talk about these immigration issues, they come off as sort of nasty.” In Barroland, it’s “nasty” to want the President to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, but perfectly civil to daydream about society blackballing social conservatives for their religious beliefs. [MP3 audio here; video below]
On the July 23 edition of The Last Word, in an apparent effort to demonize conservatives as being uninterested in protecting children who were victims of sex trafficking, Lawrence O’Donnell deliberately misinterpreted the Republican position on the 2008 immigration law signed by President Bush.
O’Donnell played a clip of Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) expressing his support for sending illegal immigrant children back to their home countries. Brooks elaborated further by saying, “Now, if in fact some are, for example, being trafficked for slavery or sex purposes, that's a different issue.” Despite this clear statement, the host of The Last Word claimed that “one of the positions that these Republicans are holding is that they want to repeal the law that President Bush signed, which is about protecting children from sex trafficking. So they want to be on record as not wanting to protect children from this kind of sex trafficking.” [MP3 audio here; video below]
The MSNBC freak-out continued following the surprising split rulings regarding the federal ObamaCare health insurance exchanges. The 2-1 DC circuit court decision determined that, consistent with the text in the law, subsidies must come from state insurance exchanges as opposed to federal ones. The panel was appalled that the court could possibly come to such a conclusion, while at the same time they diminished the long-term impacts of the decision.
Towards the end of the segment on the July 22 edition of The Last Word, the Washington Post’s EJ Dionne insinuated – solely based on his negative opinion of the ruling – that it was actually conservatives who are the judicial activists: “If you wonder which side of politics judicial activism is on, it ain't on the side of the liberals anymore.” [MP3 audio here; video below]
It did not take long for MSNBC to begin blaming the right-wing “anti-Obama machine” for the backlash against the Bergdahl prisoner swap. Intent on ignoring their own poll in which 65% of respondents didn’t support Obama’s decision to make the exchange, the June 3 edition of The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell went above and beyond in criticizing Republicans for “swiftboating” Bergdahl.
After airing multiple clips from Fox News, host Ari Melber, filling in for O’Donnell, went so far as to claim that “many of the loudest voices here on the Right today remain utterly uninterested in any of the questions, and are instead obsessed with hurling any accusation that might, just might, stick to this particular president.” He accused Republican strategists of manipulating Bergdahl’s platoon members for testimony discrediting Bergdahl, an outrageous claim considering these veterans came forward of their own accord and even created a Facebook group labeling the Bergdahl as a deserter. [See video below. Click here for audio]
MSNBC seized on Pope Francis’s tweet yesterday that “Inequality is the root of social evil” to once again flog conservatives for their economic views. On Monday’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, fill-in host Ari Melber began a segment on the pontiff by gloating, “[S]ome Republicans are caught between a rock and a hard place. Specifically, between the pope's teachings and Rush Limbaugh's orders.”
First off, it’s a little dramatic to talk about Rush Limbaugh’s “orders.” He’s just one man who gives his opinions on the radio. And second, MSNBC wants to pretend Pope Francis is completely aligned with American liberals and against conservatives, but that’s not true. The pope may emphasize social justice, but he is thoroughly conservative and traditional on key cultural and theological issues.
Actor and gay rights activist George Takei is known for his outspokenness when talking about gay marriage. As a result, the former "Star Trek" cast member felt the need to jump into the debate surrounding Arizona’s new religious freedom bill.
Appearing as a guest on The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell on Monday night, Takei expressed his outrage with the Arizona bill and proclaimed that not only is Arizona’s SB 1062 “not a religious freedom bill at all” he shrieked that “religious freedom is just a cloak for prejudice.” [See video below.]
At 4:57 on Monday afternoon, MSNBC’s Alex Wagner hyped “Breaking news from the Treasury Department. The White House has announced a second delay to part of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate. Details on that are next.” But the next “details” did not come for 12 and a half hours at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning during MSNBC’s Way Too Early broadcast.
In between, MSNBC ran 9 full stories on Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) and the “Bridgegate” scandal surrounding his administration. Rachel Maddow, devoted nearly half of her broadcast, 29 minutes to the Christie scandal. The rest of her primetime colleagues similarly couldn’t be bothered to inform their viewers of the latest ObamaCare delay, despite Wagner’s promise: “details on that are next.”
During Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's weeknight program “The Last Word,” host Lawrence O'Donnell responded to a statement made earlier in the day by President Obama about the Internal Revenue Service's discrimination against conservative groups seeking non-profit status: “Across the board, everybody believes” what was revealed in the report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is “an outrage.”
“Everybody but me,” O'Donnell insisted. “I believe that the IRS agents in this case did nothing wrong.”