Wednesday, there was a hubbub in the media world after MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, one of the network’s chief propagandists who spread the bogus Russian “collusion” narrative, tried to re-up that old chestnut.
On his show Tuesday night, O’Donnell said that Duetsche Bank “is in possession of loan documents that show Donald Trump has obtained loans with co-signers, and that that he would not have been able to obtain those loans without co-signers.” He went on to claim that the co-signers were Russian – with his only supporting evidence being one unverified, anonymous source.
Trump’s lawyers weren’t having it. They blasted O’Donnell and demanded a retraction.
“We write concerning the false and defamatory statements published by Lawrence O’Donnell and NBC University about Mr. Trump and Trump Org. in an episode of the program, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell …” Charles J. Harder of Harder LLP reportedly wrote to NBC Universal.
“These statements are false and defamatory, and extremely damaging. The only borrowers under these loans are Trump entities, and Mr. Trump is the only guarantor,” Harder continued. “Numerous documents for each of these loans are also recorded, publicly available and searchable online. Thus, actual malice can easily be proven based on your reckless disregard of the truth and unreasonable reliance on an alleged ‘source’ who you will not even identify in your story and likely is seeking to mislead you and the public for political reasons or other ulterior motives.”
So, O’Donnell apologized. He apologized on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, and on his show Wednesday night.
“Last night I made an error in judgment by reporting an item about the president’s finances that didn’t go through our rigorous verification and standards process. I shouldn’t have reported it and I was wrong to discuss it on the air. I will address the issue on my show tonight,” he said.
Last night I made an error in judgment by reporting an item about the president’s finances that didn’t go through our rigorous verification and standards process. I shouldn’t have reported it and I was wrong to discuss it on the air. I will address the issue on my show tonight.
— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) August 28, 2019
He said essentially the same thing on his show.
But, there’s still one little problem.
O’Donnell Tweeted the lie before reporting it on his show Tuesday night, and before the subsequent apologies on Wednesday. That Tweet, at the time of this publication, remains live, meaning that if you haven’t been following the saga, but you stumble across O’Donnell’s Twitter feed, you might still think his reporting is true.
I wrote about this non-retraction propaganda technique in my latest book, Enemies: The Press vs. The American People.
Here is a screenshot of the lie, in case it disappears:
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