Trump May Have Cost Lawrence O’Donnell His Job, So Rachel Maddow Steps in to Defend Him
Maddow lends her support to O’Donnell
Rachel Maddow has come to the aid of her MSNBC colleague Lawrence O’Donnell, whose contract expires in June. O’Donnell, who hosts The Last Word, has evidently gained the wrath of President Donald Trump because he has a habit of telling the truth—something to which Trump seems allergic.
It all started in 2011, when MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell called on NBC to fire Trump, who was then producing, hosting and inflicting his show Celebrity Apprentice on the world, accompanied by racist “birther” commentary about President Obama. In 2015, O’Donnell said Trump was lying about his wealth.
Trump is no forgiver of grudges, and he’s evidently been stewing over this for some time. Now he’s leaning on Comcast (MSNBC’s parent company) like a drunk 400 lb gorilla. Three sources told the Huffington Post that Trump has pressured MSNBC President Phil Griffin to fire O’Donnell on a number of occasions. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Griffin discussed Trump’s pushy efforts to have O’Donnell ousted:
“[Trump] started calling me all the time in 2011 to say Lawrence O’Donnell was a ‘third-rate anchor.'”
And while Griffin and O’Donnell share a cordial relationship, Griffin’s power as president has been weakened by the return of Andy Lack, the chairman of NBC News. There is fear among some staffers at MSNBC that Lack is making programming decisions in order to appease the Trump administration — something that CNN and Fox News have also been accused of — in order to draw more conservative viewers.
Now the final days of his contract are within sight, and a deal has yet to be struck, so O’Donnell’s future at the network doesn’t look so bright. This is something that’s highly unusual in the world of television news. And this seems like network suicide when you consider the fact that The Last Word is MSNBC’s second most popular program right behind the first-place Rachel Maddow show.The Last Word has actually done so well that it has frequently beat Sean Hannity’s Fox News program. It’s especially popular among viewers in the 18-49 age range, a cherished and sought after demographic among television advertisers.
Because the situation is up in the air, he alerted his fans of the goings-on in a tweet:
Contract expires June 4. I'll let you know where you can watch me June 5 if it's not msnbc. I'm sorry this situation has become public. https://t.co/bS8V8GXbZ1
— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) May 17, 2017
In another tweet he thanked his fans:
— Lawrence O’Donnell (@Lawrence) May 12, 2017
O’Donnell has been with MSNBC since the network’s inception, and has hosted The Last Word since 2010.
We need journalists like O’Donnell as a line of defense against the rise of Trumpism.
With the possibility that her colleague’s program may be canceled despite its success, Rachel Maddow showed her support with a tweet:
Sure doesn’t sound like he’s going anywhere.
— Joe Adalian (@TVMoJoe) May 17, 2017
And in this touching video below.
Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for UNICEF