On Tuesday night’s The Last Word, George Zimmerman friend and former news anchor Joe Oliver finally ran into an interviewer who has been watching the game films, and the result was an epic two segments of television that left Oliver’s premise, that he knows Zimmerman well enough to know he couldn’t have killed Trayvon Martin in cold blood, in tatters.
This interview, with host Lawrence O’Donnell (possibly still steaming from last night’s walkout by Zimmerman’s lawyer) and The New York Times‘ Charles Blow, is amazing on many levels, and covers many of the points I’ve raised about the misleading, nonsensical things Oliver has been saying, and challenging the closeness of his relationship with Zimmerman. By the second segment, when WaPo’s Jonathan Capehart tagged in, Oliver began to actually dispute the characterization of him as a “close friend,” and told all three that “My role in this just doesn’t make sense.”
Some highlights include Oliver’s weird evasion of O’Donnell’s questions about whether Oliver and Zimmerman were ever co-workers. By the end of the second segment, Oliver acknowledged that “we’re co-workers.” He also made several stunning admissions, including volunteering that “George may have been drinking” the night he was arrested in 2005, then quickly adding that he’s never, ever known Zimmerman to drink.
Aside from the blistering barrage of questions, there were a few unrelated, priceless moments, like when O’Donnell is quizzing Oliver about anger management counseling, and looks like he’s about to slug some guy at the bar. Then, toward the end of the first segment, some of the lights go out in Oliver’s studio, leaving him in a sinister half-light. That should have been a clue to Oliver that things were not going to get better.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with a friend trying to help out a friend by attesting to his fine character, but what Oliver was doing went well beyond that.
I can’t figure out, for the life of me, why Oliver hung in there for two whole segments of this, but the result was as compelling as anything I’ve seen on cable news. I’ve seen O’Donnell do the pit bull thing before, with varying results, but tonight, he got a subject he could really sink his teeth into.
Here’s the interview, in two parts:
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