Today the jurors in the corruption trial of Senator Bob Menendez (D – NJ) will go back to work on orders of the judge, seeking to break what appears to be heading for a deadlock. Of course, if you don’t read conservative blogs or watch Fox News, you probably didn’t know that. There’s been a vacuum in terms of coverage on the major networks and most of cable news. One glaring example of this is MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell, who freely admits that he hasn’t mentioned the trial once since it began.
Why is that? He was actually asked about it this week on the Dom Giordano Program, a local CBS production in Philadelphia. While admitting that it’s an important story which should probably merit more coverage, O’Donnell had an explanation for his lack of interest. I’ll give you one hint. It rhymes with Ronald Bump. (CBS Philadelphia, emphasis added)
The Dom Giordano Program spoke with MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell who said he hasn’t talked about Menendez since charges were first brought, mainly because of President Donald Trump.
“If we had anyone else in the White House, if we had any other president in the White House, any other of the Republicans that were running for president, never mind, have Hillary Clinton as president, the Menendez trial would be a very big item in all of our coverage. But this is what Donald Trump has done to coverage; the trying to keep up with everything the president is generating on a given day is just overwhelming. Now you have a special prosecutor and that is more important case than the Menendez case. If it not were for the special prosecutor’s investigation and the congressional investigations and the Trump presidency, Menendez coverage would be much higher.”
O’Donnell goes on to say that the Democrats have a serious problem in Bob Menendez, but “they’re allowed to duck” it because the President is tweeting all of the time. If I may be so bold, I would suggest that they’re allowed to “duck” the Menendez corruption trial because Lawrence O’Donnell and his colleagues have made a conscious decision not to talk about it.
Circling back to Roy Moore, the MSNBC host tossed out some other word salad about how it’s easier (and apparently more newsworthy) to get a Senate candidate to step aside than it is to expel a sitting member of the upper chamber. That’s an obvious truth, but how in the world does that relate to the newsworthiness of the story? A candidate is a candidate and nothing more. There’s an increasing chance that Roy Moore will never even make it to the Senate at this rate, and if he does there are people in his own party saying he should be immediately expelled. He might never even get to cast a vote.
On the other hand, Menendez has been in the Senate for more than a decade and before that, he was in the House dating back to Bill Clinton’s first term. He’s had his hand in all sorts of deals and now we learn that he’s allegedly been on the take. Shady deals, a suspiciously lavish lifestyle, exotic foreign trips, a deadlocked jury… let’s face it. It has all the makings of a shocking scandal. If Menendez had an R after his name they’d have already started filming the mini-series.
But at least O’Donnell is in good company when it comes to his silence. (Alright.. maybe not “good” company.) As has recently been reported at conservative outlets, over 62 days of the trial there was precisely zero coverage of this spectacle on the major networks’ evening news programs. CNN has, to their credit, mentioned the trial on occasion but the vast majority of their coverage was all done by Jake Tapper. The rest of the hosts on the network have been nearly as silent on the subject of Menendez as MSNBC.
But now, thanks to Lawrence O’Donnell, we at least know why. It’s all Trump’s fault. Thanks, Larry!