Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A-E* Pants on Fire # 1: Lawrence O'Donnell, Unbigoted and Fair Commentator

(*A-E means After-Election)

Dear Madame L, 

Is it true you watch MSNBC and read for news and commentary on political issues? 

If so, I'm extremely disappointed. Are you aware that Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC's "The Last Word" is not only a religious bigot but also a laughably delusional hypocrite? 

Here are two quotes from him. Most recently, he said shortly after the election was called for Barack Obama, early in the morning of Nov. 7, 2012:  

"Let's just remember the reason his religion was discussed in political terms by analysts at any point was the Bible-thumping side of the Republican party, and that's where anti-Mormon feeling resides. It doesn't exist in the Democratic party. If he was running in Democratic primaries, it never would have come up as a factor."

If that were true, then good for him for pointing it out. But it's NOT true. He himself made a big point of talking about Mitt Romney's religion repeatedly even while proclaiming proudly that he didn't think religion should be an issue in American politics (and while talking about his own upbringing in the Roman Catholic church, the fact that he doesn't drink alcohol, and so on --- as if anyone cared). Here's one of the defamatory and untrue things he said during the Republican primary contests in April 

"Mormonism was created by a guy in upstate New York in 1830 when he got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it. Forty-eight wives later, Joseph Smith's lifestyle was completely sanctified in the religion he invented to go with it. Which Mitt Romney says he believes."

So, Madame L, what do you have to say about that?


Bugged by the Hypocrisy of So-Called Liberals

Dear Bugged,

Madame L agrees with you that Mr. O'Donnell has expressed some hateful, mean, bigoted and hypocritical views about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Gov. Mitt Romney, and she does not excuse him for that. 

In fact, Madame L called him out for those hateful expressions, both here on her blog and by sending him e-mails. Madame L also knows that Mr. O'Donnell supposedly apologized for his lies about Joseph Smith, although his so-called apology was far from real or sincere.

 You may also want to read Michael Scherer's confirmation of the way Lawrence O'Donnell used a bunch of lies to hide behind so he could express his personal animosity toward the LDS Church and Mitt Romney; Mr. Scherer also points out that Mr. O'Donnell's so-called apology was only saying he wished he hadn't said that, not really apologizing for having said it and not explaining the truth. Mr. Scherer writes:

     "So O’Donnell was factually incorrect. But that is not the sum of what happened on his April 3 program. In mentioning Smith’s polygamy, and then connecting it to “what Mitt Romney says he believes,” O’Donnell seemed to be doing what he has condemned in other contexts. He was raising a question about Romney’s own judgement and values based upon his religious beliefs, which would be out of bounds in the context of other religions. [Emphasis added.] I am Jewish, for instance, and I have been a guest on O’Donnell’s show. O’Donnell would certainly never suggest that Abraham’s apparent willingness to murder his own son, Isaac, reflect on my own judgement and values."

Mr. Scherer also points out that Mr. O'Donnell had on several other occasions maligned the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, mis-stated its teachings, and made fun of its members. Mr. Scherer quotes what Mitt Romney said about the issue of his religion, comparing it to the issue of Jack Kennedy's religion when he ran for president:

     "Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts explained that he was an American running for president, not a Catholic running for president. Like him, I am an American running for president. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith. Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin."

Does all this mean that Madame L has stopped watching "The Last Word"? No. Madame L sometimes records the show and then (occasionally) watches the bits she thinks will be useful or interesting, for instance, Mr. O'Donnell's interviews with public figures. (In practice, this means that Madame L fast-forwards through the opening bits in which Mr. O'Donnell grins exuberantly while saying mean and hateful things about the people he has decided to criticize that evening, and then through his other introductions to interviewees, as well as the commercials.)

However, and here's the sad fact for Mr. O'Donnell and his opinions: 

Neither Madame L, nor you, nor anyone else, can ever really trust anything Mr. O'Donnell himself says, not only about Mitt Romney and his (and yours, and Madame L's) religion, nor anything else, can we. 

Thank you for giving Madame L another chance to address this issue. 


Madame L


Lisa said...

Thanks for neatly summarizing an aspect of American politics and journalism that I wasn't aware of until reading your post! - Lisa

AskTheGeologist said...

Michael Scherer is the editor of The Sceptic, and is a good example of an ethical atheist and honest person. I admire him and read his articles in Discover.

For Scherer to flag Lawrence O'Donnell is a vindication of my own assessment: he's a hypocrite and startlingly dishonest. I suppose those two usually go together.

I refuse to remain in the room when his face comes on the TV. If I do, I feel slimed.