MSNBC’s O’Donnell Slams Newsweek For Not Slamming Sarah Palin

James Zilenziger and Michael W. Chapman | July 12, 2011 | 5:10pm EDT
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( – On his MSNBC show, host Lawrence O’Donnell accused Newsweek magazine of putting a "lie on its cover” story about Sarah Palin, slanting its coverage with a “pathetic pro-Palin tilt,” and of cutting a deal on the story: for access to Palin, she got the cover. Newsweek described O’Donnell’s allegations as a "rant" and "absurd."

The July 10 issue of Newsweek has a picture of Palin on the cover with the headline “I Can Win.” The story was written by reporter Peter J. Boyer.

Newsweek does everything it can to make the madness of Sarah Palin seem reasonable,” said O’Donnell on his show, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” on Monday. The magazine fills the story “with flattering photographs and a love letter to Palin,” he said.

This was done to boost the magazine’s newsstand sales, said the MSNBC host, who added that Newsweek “put this lie on its cover this week. Sarah Palin’s lie, quote, ‘I can win’ goes uncontested in Newsweek’s lengthy, adoring profile.”

Lawrence O'Donnell at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Polliwood. (Photo: David Shankbone/Wikipedia Commons)

“Such is the pathetic pro-Palin tilt that permeates this utterly absurdist piece,” said O’Donnell. “Palin obviously negotiated and successfully demanded Newsweek’s cover in order to cooperate with the magazine.”

“As to why Newsweek decided to give Palin the softest treatment the lamestream media ever has, the answer actually lies at the end of the article, where Newsweek inadvertently confesses to the deal it obviously made to Palin for the cover, the flattering photography, and the puff piece,” said O’Donnell.

He continued: “’The mainstream press is becoming less and less relevant.’ she said. Adding that she would have no hesitation in shunning media outlets she does not trust. ‘I would say no to those who have lied about me. There is no need to reward bad behavior. I`ve learned, you know, once bitten, twice shy. I have learned.’”

“There’s  Newsweek telling you that she would have no hesitation in shunning media outlets she does not trust,” said O’Donnell.  “That means Newsweek had to make promises to her to get her trust. I have specifically avoided mention of the author of the Newsweek piece [Peter J. Boyer] because he has done good work in the past and he surely will again and should not be known for this love letter to Sarah Palin.”

“We’ve all done things for money,” said O’Donnell. “This week, it was his turn.” asked Newsweek if it had any comment concerning O’Donnell’s allegations.

Sarah Palin signs copies of her book, "America By Heart," in Little Rock, Ark., on Nov. 30, 2010. (AP File Photo/Brian Chilson)

In an e-mail response, Andrew Kirk, director of public relations for Newsweek, said: “O’Donnell’s rant about Peter Boyer’s Newsweek interview with Sarah Palin was absurd and of course there was no deal. Far from being the ‘fastest sinking ship at the newsstand’ as Mr. O’Donnell asserted, the magazine’s newsstand sales have increased over 25% since Tina Brown’s first redesigned issue in mid-March, and July’s advertising pages are consistent yr on yr for the first time in over a year.”

Back on the Nov. 5, 2010 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, Lawrence O’Donnell described himself as a socialist. He said, “I am not a liberal who is so afraid of the word that I had to change my name to progressive. Liberals amuse me. I am a socialist. I live to the extreme left, the extreme left of you mere liberals, okay?”

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