Why Lawrence O’Donnell Is Not a Real Journalist Either

Lawrence O'Donnell

Lawrence O’Donnell accuses a “right-wing website” (he means Reason.com) for refusing to criticise cops – even though Reason.com not only frequently criticises cops, but regularly carries the columns of Radley Balko, one of the most prominent critics of police brutality in the country.

Nick Gillespie responds.

Kevin Carson responds.

Radley Balko responds and then responds some more.

I would hold my breath waiting for O’Donnell’s apology and retraction, only I’m not suicidal. As Kevin points out, O’Donnell himself has admitted that he regards only the great and powerful as deserving of courtesy.

, ,

13 Responses to Why Lawrence O’Donnell Is Not a Real Journalist Either

  1. MikeP August 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    What makes O’Donnell’s comments even more egregious is that he himself has devoted almost no time on his show to issues of law enforcement brutality/corruption/malfeasance.

    If it doesn’t fit into the inside-the-Beltway-debate of the day or into the my-team-is-better than your team game, he has not time for it. So not only is he flat out wrong in his attack, he’s a hypocrite for even raising the issue since it’s one he clearly doesn’t care about himself.

  2. Brandon August 6, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    One thing about O’Donnell that made a strong impression on me was about ten years ago when his good pal Bob Kerrey was revealed to be a war criminal. The McLaughlin Group was debating the issue and the only one of them that even suggested Kerrey might be a war criminal and the incident probably should be investigated was Eleanor Clift. O’Donnell, who was one of the commentators on the show at that point, began yelling and screaming at her. If he doesn’t care about u.s. war crimes, why should anyone take him seriously about police brutality?

  3. Kevin Carson August 7, 2011 at 2:21 am #

    I find O’Donnell especially annoying because of the way, when he’s up on his high horse, he leans his head forward and… Talks. Real. Slow. Like. This. It’s like he’s trying to be some kind of cheap Edward R. Murrow knockoff, or something.

    I like Rachel Maddow because she’s always courteous even to people she disagrees with, and gives them plenty of uninterrupted time to make their case. I even liked Keith Olbermann because, as infuriatingly obtuse as he could be, I got the impression he was sincere — and he was quite entertaining at times.

    But O’Donnell’s combination of opportunism with a pose of seriousness and moral superiority just makes me sick.

    • Roderick August 7, 2011 at 3:22 am #

      I share your ordinal ranking.

      (Does that mean interpersonal comparisons of utility are possible after all?)

  4. dL August 8, 2011 at 8:40 am #

    In some degree of fairness, I have watched O’Donnell on a couple of occasions heap extended on praise Ron Paul for delivering “left-wing social positions” to a conservative audience.

    Of course, O’Donnell, like most of the rest of the MSNBC lineup, is generally unwatchable because of the corrupt partisan narrative of the communitarian culture war. However, there is a valid critique to make against libertarians, even though MSNBC certainly is incapable of making it.

    Libertarians do focus on the “Police State,” but then again, they also seem primarily concerned with the fiscal solvency of this police state. If a Police State, why any concern for the “fiscal solvency” of this thing?

    A general point is that if the press were actually “real journalists,” they could probably hit the libertarian movement pretty hard, easily exacerbating the long-standing divisions within the movement, and tear it apart.

    • Kevin Carson August 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

      He does deserve credit for evading the “yay, team” approach on Paul. But the very fact he considers antiwar positions “left-wing” when the national security state was created by FDR betrays some degree of historical blindness.

    • Roderick August 8, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

      I’ve criticised the mainstream libertarian movement plenty, but in the main I think it’s been pretty good on the issue of abuses by police. Anything that Mises, Cato, and Reason are good on can’t be something that libertarians are generally bad on.

      • dL August 10, 2011 at 5:40 am #

        Just to clarify, I think the libertarian community does a good job on police abuse; so good in fact, that it would be fair to say the libertarian consensus generally views the US as a police state.

        The question then is: If the US is a Police State, then why should there be any concern over the fiscal solvency of this Police State?

        This is a question that genuine leftists, not necessarily libertarian, can legitimately ask. For example:


        • martin August 10, 2011 at 6:11 am #

          The question then is: If the US is a Police State, then why should there be any concern over the fiscal solvency of this Police State?

          Why not? Why shouldn’t there be concern over it’s other abuses (other than being a police state)?

          This is a question that genuine leftists, not necessarily libertarian, can legitimately ask. For example:


          That’s an entirely different question.

  5. dennis August 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Which libertarians focus primarily on the fiscal solvency of the police state? I don’t mean this as a confrontational question, I just haven’t noticed any. Most libertarians I’m aware of are more concerned with the billy clubs and tasers being used on people than the cost of said billy clubs and tasers. What libertarians need to more effectively convey is that police brutality is an inherent characteristic of the state, it is just as much a part of “enlightened”social democracies as it is here. I know Monty Python meant it half in jest, but Dennis the Peasant was right “see the violence inherent in the system.”

  6. Kevin Carson August 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Hey, I was just thinking….

    Either O’Donnell or Olbermann, in past dustups over “right-wing extremists” who were hostile to the cops, or people who wanted to cut funding for police departments, adopted an egergiously self-righteous “for shame” tone of voice for being so un-American as to hold anti-police views. The very suggestion that cops might suppress our liberties, or that funding drug task forces might be an unproductive waste of money, was comparable to killing Baby Jesus. When it serves their agenda, these people are as reflexively pro-cop as any Archie Bunker type.

    Likewise, depending on their tactical position at any given time, they can tsk-tsk in hurtful tones about unpatriotic treatment of “our intelligence officers” (when the enemies are Cheney and Libby), or express total skepticism about claims made by the spooks.

    Of course the GOP is open to a tu quoque response, since they go from mocking CIA dissent and defending Libby’s attack on Plame when they’re expressing skepticism about Bush’s Iraq claims, to defending them in tones of wounded righteousness when the enemy is Panetta.

    Or the sainted 9-11 widows — until one of them falls afoul of Ann Coulter by criticizing the war and ceasing to be a sainted stage prop on a pedestal.

    They’re all, on both sides, pretty much capable of attacking cops, the CIA, and the troops when it suits their agenda — and then wrapping themselves in the flag and the aura of moral goodness surrounding the police when the opposition does the same thing.

    • Roderick August 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

      You almost make them sound like hypocrites ….

    • JOR August 11, 2011 at 12:27 am #

      As I always say, right and left (as they occur in mainstream politics) are not in a conflict of ideas, but rather are skirmishing tribes (or to be more precise, shifting confederations of ever-shifting tribes). Their only real defining feature is opposition to each other. Ideas, principles, the interests of particular tribal constituents, even the political careers of particular players, are just weapons, tools, and terrain as far as their conflict is concerned.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes