Lawrence O'Donnell, whose show was recently picked to replace the departed Keith Olbermann's, is hoping to make a name for himself in the world of TV hosting. The "Last Word" host is socialist in a sea of progressives, as he once explained, and in his latest interview with WWD.com he defended his use of the tag by going after Glenn Beck.
It's no secret that O'Donnell has showed up on Beck's radar for his comments about socialism. In a previous response, O'Donnell defended himself by saying "we're all socialists now," So when WWD.com brought up the subject of Beck's criticism, O'Donnell couldn't resist a few sarcastic comments:
“I wish I wasn’t saying it for shock value…because this is the only country where you can’t use the word; that word gets to live as a demonization tool,” O’Donnell smirked in a recent interview with WWD, going on to professorially explain that the U.S. government is a mix of socialistic and capitalistic policies. “I owe him [Beck] a thank you. I think his audience is 500 times the size of my audience, and the more he can say it the better.”
He turned to his friend, comedian and illusionist Penn Jillette, who was waiting to catch a late dinner with the anchor, and asked: “You know Glenn. Do I send him flowers? What do I do?”
The flowery language quickly gave way to dirty words. When the conversation topic turned to Rush Limbaugh, O'Donnell said he doesn't hate the top conservative talk show host, but he also won't shy away from criticizing him: "There’s a way to avoid being hated — I can do the f--ing weather.”
The fiery language continued from there:
Back in his office, an exasperated O’Donnell goes on a tear, calling politicians who come on his show with “nothing to offer up” other than talking points “clowns” and “hopeless stick figures.” [Emphasis added]
“There isn’t a magician alive who could get them to drop and reveal anything,” he said, his voice building in intensity. “They’re talking all night to not respond to anything that was a question, so I start doing this” — he cupped his hand to his face — “which you might as well know is a performance device I stole from Mr. Penn Jillette.”
O'Donnell's combative and irreverent attitude apparently doesn't faze MSNBC president Phil Griffin. While discussing O'Donnell to the website, Griffin said “I’m thrilled to have him kicking off prime time," while admitting what drives the network: "Our vision is unchanged, as is our goal — to beat Fox.”
That's a tall order. For example, even though MSNBC's 8 pm ratings increased by 50 percent on O'Donnell's first night in that slot, he still trailed Fox's 8 pm host Bill O'Reilly by 2 million viewers.
O'Donnell might want to polish up on his forecast delivery.