O’Donnell retracts, sorta: “We don’t know if the information is inaccurate”


MSNBC called it a retraction. Lawrence O’Donnell called it a retraction too. Yet nowhere in this apology does O’Donnell actually retract his claim that Russian oligarchs co-signed Donald Trump’s loans from Deutsche Bank. Instead, O’Donnell apologizes for not vetting the story more thoroughly before it went on the air (via Twitchy):

When you state that “we don’t know if the information is inaccurate,” that’s not really a retraction. That’s a rather telling hedge, too, as MSNBC producer Michael DelMoro admitted yesterday that O’Donnell’s source hadn’t even seen the bank records to confirm the claim for him/herself, let alone produce the documents for NBC’s review. At best the claim was secondhand hearsay with no evidentiary value at all. It’s closer to a chatroom rumor that O’Donnell chose to amplify on a national broadcast.

Besides, if it was a retraction, wouldn’t O’Donnell have deleted this tweet?

As of 8 am ET this morning, that tweet is still live on O’Donnell’s Twitter thread, and has over 37,700 retweets and almost 90,000 likes. A lie — excuse me, a potential inaccuracy, according to O’Donnell — may get around the world before the truth gets its boots on, but usually a responsible journalist won’t keep the lie on world tour after offering a supposed “retraction.”

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Trump’s complaints about “fake news” often get tiresome and are almost always self serving. Hard to complain about it here, though:

One might even chalk up this claimed “retraction” as fake news. The original report was a black eye for NBC News and MSNBC, but at least that was mostly O’Donnell’s doing. The ongoing attempt to keep the rumor alive even while claiming a “retraction” is perhaps even worse, and even more indicative of the values of NBC/MSNBC than the original offense.

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