MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell called out CNN for paying its pro-Donald Trump contributors to spew lies in defense of the president in a new interview in which he also lamented how Fox News has gotten “way, way worse” in the Trump era.
“No, they don’t,” O’Donnell told Franken, who resigned from the Senate in 2017 amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
“One-third of the people on their payroll love Trump,” said O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s nightly show “The Last Word.” “So you’re guaranteed on any hour of CNN, minimum one-third of the programming will be supportive of Trump. Someone on their payroll saying, ‘Here’s why Trump’s right.’”
It was “one of the reasons” Trump wants people to watch CNN over MSNBC because “he knows on MSNBC there will be no one defending him, because we don’t bring on liars,” O’Donnell continued. “I don’t bring on a liar. I won’t do that.”
Franken asked if “to defend Trump, you have to lie?”
O’Donnell, who in August apologized for an “error in judgment” after he was forced to retract an unverified story about Trump’s finances, replied:
How else do you defend a liar? A pathological liar who lies about everything? You have to lie. So CNN has people on the payroll who they pay to tell their lies to the CNN audience in the middle of a CNN hour for some number of minutes. And so Trump knows that if you watch CNN at least you’ll hear someone lying in my favor. So that’s one of the reasons why he attacks them.
CNN President Jeff Zucker has previously defended the network’s decision to give airtime to pro-Trump guests. “You can’t run a news channel and you can’t do a show if you don’t talk to all sides,” he told The Hollywood Reporter last year.
Prime time CNN host Don Lemon, however, in 2019 berated fellow anchor Chris Cuomo over the booking of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway following an interview that took a chaotic turn.
“She never answers a question. She berates you. She’s condescending,” Lemon told Cuomo. “For me, it feels beneath the dignity of this network to have someone on who constantly lies and misconstrues things.”
Check out the clip here:
Later in the podcast, O’Donnell criticized Fox News, whose hosts Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson frequently use their widely watched shows to stump for Trump.
Hannity has even vowed to campaign for Trump during the 2020 election.
The conservative network has gotten “way, way worse,” said O’Donnell. “Just like the Republican Party in the Senate and the House have gotten way, way worse. And they get worse every year of Trump.”