Dan Gainor: MSNBC and NY Times don’t let facts get in way of anti-Trump stories – Fiction is more interesting

MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell, who used to write for the fictional TV show “West Wing,” proved this week that he hasn’t lost his touch. He showed that he’s not limited to discussing real news – he can make it up and report his fictional version as if it were real.

Like much of what is wrong with the media, it began with a tweet. And then O’Donnell repeated his fictional claim on MSNBC Tuesday night.

In on-air conversation with Rachel Maddow, whose show immediately precedes his, O’Donnell said he had information about how years ago businessman Donald Trump was “able to obtain loans when no one else would loan him money.”


“I may have some information, in this next hour, which would add a great deal to their understanding of that, if true, and I’ll be discussing it here,” O’Donnell added. "I stress ‘if true,’ because this is a single source who has told me that Deutsche Bank obtained tax returns… this single source close to Deutsche Bank has told me that Donald Trump’s loan documents there show that he has co-signers. That’s how he was able to obtain those loans and that the co-signers are Russian oligarchs."

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Ah, “if true.” If true, O’Donnell would be a legitimate TV journalist and not an embarrassment to his network.

Maddow’s reaction to O’Donnell was priceless. She seemed completely floored by the allegations and responded loudly: “What?” Then she continued by saying “that is a scenario that I have never contemplated.” Now we know why.

This was worse than a Joe Biden gaffe and the fallout was extensive.

O’Donnell was back the following night like a kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar. “Last night on this show, I discussed information that wasn't ready for reporting,” he told viewers.

He added: “Saying ‘if true’ as I discussed the information was simply not good enough.”

This is what is known as a “Duh” moment. It’s especially hilarious that he explained his comment “did not go through the rigorous verification and standards process here at MSNBC.”

Standards? This is the same news station that employs Brian Williams, who lost his prestigious job as anchor of the “NBC Nightly News” for rewriting history more than Quentin Tarantino.

MSNBC also employs host Joy Reid for some reason, despite her own bizarre defense of anti-gay statements on her blog.

Besides, we now know that MSNBC wasn’t just trying to get a clean conscience.

President Trump’s lawyers sent a letter to NBC Wednesday stating: “We write concerning the false and defamatory statements published by Lawrence O’Donnell and NBC Universal. … Demand is hereby made that Mr. O’Donnell and NBCU immediately and prominently retract, correct and apologize for the aforementioned false and defamatory statements.”

The letter from Trump lawyer Charles B. Harder added: “Failure to do so will leave my clients with no alternative but to consider their legal options which could include immediate legal proceedings against Mr. O’Donnell and NBCU.”

Still no word whether MSNBC will discipline its incompetent host.

Washington Post Media Critic Erik Wemple slammed O’Donnell’s “uncorroborated, wish-fulfillment garbage.”

“With his repeated ‘if true’ caveats, O’Donnell was mocking the core idea of journalism – which is to say, the verification of stray tips and rumors,” Wemple wrote.

Wemple closed out his criticism by asking the key question regarding O’Donnell: “Is such a fellow fit to host an MSNBC program?”

Well, given the lack of standards at MSNBC, yes.

More incompetence at NBC

One definition of insanity is to do something the same way and expect a different result. Or, perhaps, it’s working in the NBC universe.

The network was part of an incompetent pile-on against the Trump administration over the claim that “children born to U.S. service members outside of the U.S. will no longer be automatically considered citizens." That story was tweeted by NBC’s Ken Dilanian.

Washington Post Media Critic Erik Wemple slammed O’Donnell’s “uncorroborated, wish-fulfillment garbage.”

Turns out it’s not true and Dilanian had to issue a correction. The new rule actually only impacts about 100 children annually. Maybe get it right instead of getting it first.

New York Times doesn’t want scrutiny it gives to others

The New York Times has fallen on hard times. The prestigious left-wing newspaper came out this week against … journalism. Only it didn’t call it that.

The paper published a story headlined: “Trump Allies Target Journalists Over Coverage Deemed Hostile to White House.” The article called it an attempt “to undercut the influence of legitimate news reporting.”

Publisher A.G. Sulzberger responded with a strongly worded statement saying that the “unprecedented campaign appears designed to harass and embarrass anyone affiliated with independent news organizations that have asked tough questions and brought uncomfortable truths to light.”

While the Times had done a hit job on the conservative Western Journal just days before, its hypocrisy is even worse. In the fifth paragraph of Sulzberger’s 500-word whine, he actually pretends to welcome journalism about his organization. “No organization is above scrutiny, including The Times,” he wrote.

Why then the big freak-out? Is Sulzberger worried that there are even more open anti-Semites on his staff other than, say, Tom Wright-Piersanti who was outed by Breitbart for his slurs against Jews? Or perhaps Sulzberger is worried about readers discovering there are more anti-white bigots than editorial board member Sarah Jeong?

Politico’s Senior Media Writer Jack Shafer defended the practice of digging into what journalists have said on Twitter and elsewhere. “Journalists don’t deserve a get-out-of-bigotry-jail free card just because they’re journalists,” he wrote.


New York Times rewrites history

When it’s not going back hundreds of years to spin American history, the New York Times is content with rewriting recent history – in this case the history of the Tea Party.

The Times did a 10-years-after story on the conservative grassroots movement under the headline: “The Tea Party Didn’t Get What It Wanted, but It Did Unleash the Politics of Anger.”

The article even called the rise of the Tea Party “a summer of rage,” and began with how “the country seemed to lose its mind.”


But we’ve learned that The Times can never be liberal enough for its conservative-hating readers. As a result, the story got updated … and meaner. Here’s the Times’ politics Twitter account: “We have updated this story assessing the policy failures of the Tea Party movement 10 years after its rise to include context about attacks on President Barack Obama and racist displays at some Tea Party rallies.”

This is an example of how The New York Times and many in the left-wing media, now regularly attack conservatives as racist simply for being conservatives.

It is also an example of the newspaper bowing once more to the liberal Twitteratti, upset that the Times was insufficiently harsh to its opponents.


The paper’s own staff know who is editing the news now. Opinion Staff Writer and Editor Bari Weiss told CNN that Twitter “becomes almost like an assigning editor, sometimes.”

Or, in the case of the Times, a thought-control editor. Like you used to have with Pravda in the old Soviet Union.