MSNBC embraced the "fake news" moniker Friday night.
Network host Lawrence O'Donnell began pushing a conspiracy theory on his Twitter account Friday suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin "OK'ed" Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dropping chemical bombs on his own people to elicit a response from President Donald Trump — all to end the narrative that Russia "hacked" last year's U.S. presidential election via collusion with the Trump campaign.
"Wouldn't it be nice if it was impossible to suspect Putin ok'd Assad's gas attack so Trump could fire missiles & change the subject in USA?" O'Donnell tweeted Friday.
Wouldn't it be nice if it was impossible to suspect Putin ok'd Assad's gas attack so Trump could fire missiles & change the subject in USA?— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence O'Donnell)1491591045.0
Tonight @TheLastWord let's see if anyone can convince me that Putin didn't plan all of this to help his fan in the White House. 10pm— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence O'Donnell)1491591606.0
According to the Washington Post, the theory, which is completely without evidence, first appeared on a small anti-Trump website Thursday before O'Donnell took it into the mainstream on his show Friday night.
"Wouldn't it be nice if it was just completely, totally, absolutely impossible to suspect that Vladimir Putin orchestrated what happened in Syria this week — so that his friend in the White House could have a big night with missiles and all the praises he's picked up over the past 24 hours?" O'Donnell said on his show.
O'Donnell contended that while his theory may be far-fetched, it's not impossible, given, what O'Donnell alleged, collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Later in his show, O'Donnell drew ties to a similar conspiracy theory that alleged former President Bill Clinton used missiles in 1998 to try and cover-up the growing Monica Lewinsky scandal.
When O'Donnell later had a panel on his show, he continued to contend that the possibility of his theory is not zero: "I raise it without assigning a statistical probability to it, I don’t know what it is. I just know that it’s not zero, and it should be zero. It has been zero with every previous president. But when you look at the way that events have unfolded this week, Donald Trump could not have asked for a better end of the week for his presidency as he sees it," he said.
O'Donnell was later mocked on social media for his conspiracy theory:
Trump could launch a nuclear strike on the Kremlin and liberals would still figure out a way to show it was further… https://t.co/S5qgCBtXfg— Scott Greer (@Scott Greer)1491603373.0
@Lawrence you are insane— Chris Mattmann (@chrismattmann) April 8, 2017
@Lawrence Are you stoned out of your mind, or just naturally this paranoid?— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) April 8, 2017
You don't know what fake news is until you watch Lawrence O'Donnell talk about Syria.— Max Abrahms (@Max Abrahms)1491651722.0