A national reporter for MSNBC seemed to let the cat out of the bag Monday night live on-air about a dirty little secret at the intersection of politics and journalism, and Lawrence O’Donnell was quick to correct it to save face.
Network national reporter Tony Dokoupil was wired in for his live shot Monday night on The Lawrence O’Donnell Show from Janesville, Wisconsin one week ahead of the state-wide primary. The topic of conversation was the recent contentious interview that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump gave to conservative Utah radio host Charlie Sykes.
Dokoupil identified the one key advantage that Sykes had when interviewing the real estate mogul that most on cable news don’t get: the one-and-done scenario. Sykes is unlikely to ever score another interview with Trump, so yesterday’s interview on WTMJ allowed for the self-described #NeverTrump host to really hit the candidate hard. “[Sykes] knew he had one shot at Donald Trump. He didn’t think he was even gonna get it, because he assumed that someone from the Donald Trump campaign would’ve Googled ‘Charlie Sykes’ and seen that for almost a year now, Charlie’s been calling Trump a ‘vulgar buffoon’.”
“He pushed it as much as he could,” Dokoupil said of Sykes.
He then continued to identify Sykes’ advantage over others in the journalism world, and in the process, directly implicated his own network MSNBC for admittedly pulling punches:
“[Sykes] does not even have to go back to Donald Trump ever again. People who are on the beat — people who work for our network — they have to keep that relationship going for a long, long time. Charlie did not have that burden. And as a result he has the luxury of being incredibly blistering.”
The veteran O’Donnell in the studio went into damage control immediately, offering, “Well I don’t think the fact that you have to cover Donald Trump means that you then play softball with him so you guarantee he will speak to you another time. Once the mission of an interview is to get the next interview with the same person, we know how soft that interview’s going to be.” While O’Donnell spoke to clarify, Dokoupil silently stood, perhaps realizing his slip-up in real time.
Watch the above hit from MSNBC.
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