MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell messed up pretty badly this week, and the Trump regime will ride his stupidity for months, if not years to come.
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell on Wednesday retracted a story that alleged that Russian billionaires “close to Vladimir Putin” had co-signed a loan that was given to President Trump by a foreign bank. The brief report, which O’Donnell credited to a single source when it aired Tuesday night, led to the threat of a lawsuit by the president.
On Wednesday, O’Donnell opened “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” by saying his reporting had not gone through the network’s verification and standards process and he was wrong to repeat the allegations on air and for posting it on Twitter.
The previous night, O’Donnell had stressed that the report was unverified, noting that it would be a big deal “if true.” “I have not seen any documentation from Deutsche Bank that supports this and verifies this. This is just a single source who has revealed that to me,” he said.
He later noted that it was not confirmed by news reporters at MSNBC’s parent company, NBC. The next night, he said “saying if true” was “simply not good enough.”
“Tonight we are retracting the story,” he said Wednesday. “We don’t know whether the information is inaccurate but the fact is we do know it wasn’t ready for broadcast and for that I apologize.”
Now, the fact that Trump went bugnuts on this should have news organizations hounding this Deutsche Bank story like terriers at a rat convention, but nobody will touch it now because Larry here had to blow his wad.
It's far from the first time it's happened too. Eager to get an exclusive, we've had people jump the gun: Rachel Maddow on Trump's 2005 tax returns (which for all intents and purposes looked like a trap by Trump that Maddow fell for hook, line and sinker) is just the most recent prior example of this, but the O'Donnell screw-up is just bad journalism, period.
The anti-Trump side has to do and be better, and right now it's failing all of us.