The obsession among MSNBC’s talk personalities with the ravings of their higher-rated rivals on Fox News Channel continued Thursday night with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell picking apart FNC’s Glenn Beck – again.
O’Donnell, the host of MSNBC’s 8 p.m./7c talk show “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and a self-avowed Socialist, went on the warpath on the subject of an apology Beck issued on his syndicated radio show earlier on Thursday. Beck, who hosts “Glenn Beck” on FNC weekdays at 5 p.m./4c, was apologizing for statements he made a day earlier in which he accused Reform Jewish rabbis of engaging in political activism that was on par with the political extremism of “radical Islam.”
Among those who protested what Beck said were the Anti-Defamation League, whose job it is to watch out for this kind of thing, and O’Donnell, who first discussed Beck’s statements Wednesday night on “The Last Word.”
Well, that wasn’t the last word, as O’Donnell went back at it Thursday night in a segment in which he scolded and lectured Beck (complete with pointed finger) and, in the process, appeared to parse every sentence, phrase and word in Beck’s apology. (You can see the video of the O’Donnell segment here.)
O’Donnell, who played short snippets of Beck’s apology and then commented on each of them, called Beck’s original statements “idiotic and untrue” –- which was not an inaccurate assessment. And Beck acknowledged the same thing in his radio apology. He admitted that he’d demonstrated “ignorance” about the differences between Orthodox and Reform rabbis and the extent of each group’s political activism and the relative strength of their Jewish faith. He said he realized the statements were a “nightmare” almost as soon as he uttered them. And he did apologize, invoking an excuse that is often used by radio personalities at such times -– the “I’m on the air for four hours every single day” excuse with which they try and explain how difficult it is to prevent a foot from occasionally being lodged in their mouths.
That particular excuse generally strikes us as lame, though it does have some merit. O’Donnell slammed Beck for it, though, making analogies to other occupations requiring more than four hours of work a day in which such an excuse would not be acceptable -– such as an airline pilot who has to stay alert and error-free for, say, a six-hour flight. O’Donnell’s analogies struck us as “apples-to-oranges” and essentially irrelevant.
And by the time O’Donnell was making them, this segment raking Glenn Beck over the coals had already gone on so long that you had to wonder if even O’Donnell’s most ardent followers had already decided to go elsewhere.
O’Donnell set the tone at the outset of the segment when he declared of Beck: “Today, he has bent to the pressure of my criticism and apologized.” However, it’s doubtful, or at least unknowable, whether Beck, who has the kind of ratings a guy like O’Donnell can only dream about, cared one way or the other what O’Donnell thinks of him.