IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, July 8th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Monday show

July 8, 2013
Guests: Faith Jenkins, Nicole Safar

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: George Zimmerman`s defense still hasn`t
used George Zimmerman as a witness. They have the only witness who knows
exactly what happened that night, and they haven`t used him yet. But
today, they tried to use Trayvon Martin`s father.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We begin in the courtroom on day 10 of testimony.

UNIDENTFIED FEMALE: New developments at the trial of George
Zimmerman, now in its third week.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC ANCHOR: Any moment now, George Zimmerman`s lawyers
will start calling witnesses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The defense is presenting its case.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: The defense calls friends of George
Zimmerman to testify.

MARK O`MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: State your name, please?





MITCHELL: Whose voice is crying for help?

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: Questions about who was screaming for

LISA BLOOM, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Whose voice it was on the 911 call.

MITCHELL: The 911 recording from the night Trayvon Martin died.

O`MARA: Have you ever had an opportunity to listen to that phone

BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: Do you hear yells for help?

O`MARA: Do you have an opinion as to whose voice that is?

DE LA RIONDA: Are they continuous yells for help?

O`MARA: Were you able to identify Mr. Zimmerman`s voice?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When is the first time you heard that tape?

DE LA RIONDA: You listened to it on the radio --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Defense attorney Mark O`Mara says among the
witnesses he plans to call the to stand --

MITCHELL: Could the defense also call Martin`s father to the stand?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon Martin`s father.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does anyone have a better argument than the

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only two people really know what happened on that

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About whether it was George Zimmerman or
Trayvon Martin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is day 20 of this trial. Day 10 of

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defense team says they plan to wrap up their
presentation to the jury by mid to late week.

JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, SEMINOLE COUNTY: Court is in recess until 8:30
in the morning.


O`DONNELL: The shocker in the George Zimmerman trial today was that
George Zimmerman`s defense called Trayvon Martin`s father as a witness. It
was a very risky tactic for the defense, which they apparently thought was
worth it after the testimony of Chris Serino today, the lead investigator
of the Zimmerman case, who was the -- the very first person to play the
audiotape of the 911 call where someone can be heard screaming before
George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. He played that for
Trayvon Martin`s father.


that your son`s voice in the background?" or something -- I think I said it
a little differently than that. But I inquired as if that was in fact his
son yelling for help.

O`MARA: And what was his response?

SERINO: He -- it was more of a verbal and non-verbal. He looked
away and under his breath as I interpreted it said no.


O`DONNELL: The defense used another police officer to set up the
testimony from Trayvon Martin`s father.


O`MARA: Do you recall what it was that you heard officer Serino ask
Mr. Martin after playing the 911 call?


O`MARA: OK. Again, do you have the exact words or --

SINGLETON: I don`t know if those are exact words, but that was the
question, if he had recognized the voice.

O`MARA: OK. And Mr. Martin`s response?

SINGLETON: That it was not his son.


O`DONNELL: Then, came the defense`s dramatic tactic, calling Tracy
Martin to the stand.


played the tape he basically just said, "Do you recognize the voice?"

O`MARA: And what was your response?

MARTIN: My response was I didn`t -- I didn`t tell him no, that
wasn`t Trayvon. I kind of -- I think the chairs had wheels on them and I
kind of pushed away from the -- away from the table and just kind of shook
my head and said, "I can`t tell".

O`MARA: So your words were "I can`t tell"?

MARTIN: Something to that effect. But I never said, no, that wasn`t
my son`s voice.


O`DONNELL: The next time Tracy Martin says he heard the 911 tape was
at the mayor`s office in March of 2012.


O`MARA: What did you say about the tape when you listened to it that
time in the mayor`s office?

MARTIN: What do you mean what did I say?

O`MARA: Did you acknowledge anything about the tape to anybody?

MARTIN: After listening -- after listening to the tape for maybe 20
times, I said it was -- I knew that it was Trayvon`s voice.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom, and Faith
Jenkins, a former criminal prosecutor.

Lisa, I can`t remember seeing a move like this. This was so risky
for the defense to be calling Trayvon Martin`s father.

How do you think it worked in the courtroom?

LISA BLOOM, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I`m sorry, was Tracy Martin on
trial today? Right? Because if he was, he was guilty. He was guilty of
being grief-stricken and upset and putting his head down when he heard the
recording of his son`s final moments before the bullet shot rang out that
killed his son.

I mean, what a ridiculous distraction for the defense. This to me is
one of the biggest blunders they`ve made, right up there with putting
George Zimmerman on "Hannity" to say that killing Trayvon Martin was God`s
plan. I mean, this was a disaster for them.

O`DONNELL: Faith, it was shocking for me to see them -- because it
is so risky and the one thing you lawyers don`t like to do is take risks in
the courtroom where you don`t know how it`s going to work. His testimony,
I think it made perfect sense to me that he would have the reaction he did,
basically being asked, you know, do you recognize that sound? And he`s
never heard that sound before.

his testimony was very compelling and very believable to these jurors and I
think to people watching today too.

But look at how the defense tried to set it up. They put these
police officers first who didn`t equivocate about what he said in terms of
him saying, no, it wasn`t my son`s voice. But I think the prosecutor did
such an effective job of wringing out from Mr. Martin what an emotional
moment this was for him. He just heard his son being shot and killed in
that moment on that tape.

And so, his testimony -- the substance of his testimony I think was
really compelling today.

O`DONNELL: Lisa, the point Faith makes, the defense called back
Chris Serino, called back these two police officers. They gave this
testimony, that basically said when we played the tape for him, he said the
way they put it is he said it wasn`t his son`s voice. Why wouldn`t the
defense lawyers have left it at that?

When you bring in Tracy Martin, it actually made much more sense the
way he responded.

BLOOM: That would have been enough. There may have been a
discussion at sidebar. We don`t know this. But my hunch as a trial lawyer
is that those two got to testify about what would be hearsay, what Tracy
Martin said, subject to tying it all up with Tracy Martin himself

O`DONNELL: So you think both sides knew that this was going to be
the sequence today?

BLOOM: Yes, I do. That`s -- again, that`s my educated guess as a
trial lawyer.

O`DONNELL: So, Faith, that would suggest that Tracy Martin would
have been given a heads-up that you`re going to be called today.

JENKINS: I think he expected to be called today. After I saw the
cross-examination of Sybrina Fulton by Mark O`Mara, I expected them to call
Tracy as a witness today after the state didn`t because they are being now
very aggressive.

You usually don`t see an attorney cross-examining a grieving mother
in the way Sybrina was cross-examined. So I knew after I saw that cross-
examination, I`m sure they prepared him you could be called as a defense

O`DONNELL: But there`s a disadvantage. I mean, lawyers normally
considered a disadvantage to have Tracy Martin on the stand, as the
defense`s own witness because they can`t really do -- they can`t use the
same techniques of cross-examination when you call him as a witness.

BLOOM: Right. And think about what Mark O`Mara said on cross-
examination of Trayvon`s mother. You hope that`s your son, don`t you?
Because the alternative is too painful.

Well, isn`t that equally true for all of his seven witnesses who said
that`s George Zimmerman`s voice on the 911 call? They were family and
friends of George Zimmerman.

O`DONNELL: I want to play a sample of the witnesses that preceded
all of this who were saying I know George Zimmerman and that`s his voice on
the 911. Let`s listen to this.


O`MARA: Do you know whose voice that is, in the background

SONDRA OSTERMAN: Yes. Definitely it`s Georgy.

O`MARA: He`s screaming or the noise in the background. Do you have
an opinion whose voice that is?

MARK OSTERMANN: I thought it was George.

O`MARA: Can you identify whose voice that was yelling in the

RUSSO: George`s.

O`MARA: Do you have an opinion as to whose voice that is in the


O`MARA: And whose voice is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Zimmerman`s voice.

O`MARA: Whose voice do you believe that to be screaming for help?

DONNELLY: There`s absolutely no doubt in my mind that is George
Zimmerman. And I wish to god I d not have that ability to understand that.


O`DONNELL: Lisa Bloom, I`ve got to say, I don`t know how a jury can
accept that there`s absolutely no doubt in your mind. We`ve all listened
to that tape. None of us can sit here and say, oh, that`s, you know,
George or that`s Trayvon. You can`t do it. You can make your best

And that`s why it seemed to me that the kind of humility in Trayvon`s
brother, for example, when he talks about what he thinks he heard sounds
more real to me than "there`s no doubt in my mind."

BLOOM: Right. Or Tracy Martin who says initially he hung his head
down, kind of an "oh, my God" reaction and then he had to hear it ten
times. None of the witnesses has said for sure it`s either Trayvon Martin
or George Zimmerman said they heard any of them screaming hysterically in
any kind of similar circumstances, which is obviously different than normal
conversation. And, of course, none of them knew both men`s voices so they
could compare.

Frankly, if I were on the jury, I don`t think any of this testimony
would be all that significant to me.

JENKINS: And remember, George Zimmerman said when he first listened
to this call, "That doesn`t even sound like me." He said that about
hearing his own voice.


JENKINS: So how can these witnesses then come in and say, "Oh, yes,
I recognize his voice, that sounds just like him," when he, the person
who`s screaming said that didn`t even sound --

O`DONNELL: And even if that is George Zimmerman`s voice, his
reaction, "That doesn`t sound like me," is a perfectly understandable
reaction under these circumstances.

Lisa, you`ve been making a point that I think has been present
throughout a trial but has not yet really been isolated in the testimony,
that George Zimmerman says the gun was here, was right on the hip, kind of
in the back on the right. He also says I`m down on the ground. He`s got
me pinned down.

You`re asking the question, how does that gun ever get out of that

BLOOM: Right. It`s time to start putting all this evidence
together, right? So we know that, first of all, the holster is an inside
the waistband holster, which means it`s almost completely covered by the
pants. Add to that, George Zimmerman is wearing a shirt that goes out over
the gun and a jacket that was open. It was very dark. It was raining.

And when I looked at his re-enactment video, which has been admitted
into evidence, he demonstrates by touching his hand to the back of his
right side, although he moves his arms around a lot, that`s where he says
the gun was holstered. All right?

So when you put, as you say, Trayvon Martin on top of him, as he
says, knees to armpits, he`s really pinned. It`s very hard to understand
how Trayvon Martin would have seen the gun. And of course that`s the
essence of his self-defense story. Trayvon Martin saw the gun, he reached
for the gun. If the jury doesn`t believe that, he`s got real trouble.

O`DONNELL: Well, faith, this goes to something that was testified to
today. They actually brought on his trainer in what I thought was one of
the more irrelevant moments.

But what they were bringing up was George was a really terrible
fighter. It was this guy`s job to train him as a fighter and he kept
saying how bad a student George was, which is to say how bad a fighter he
was, which is to say he`s the guy who absolutely can`t pull off this move
of getting the gun out of there. He`s the guy who will never pull off that

JENKINS: Right. And in addition to that, this testimony really,
what you`re talking about goes to George Zimmerman`s knowledge of self-
defense and "Stand Your Ground" because when you think about shooting
someone in a justifiable homicide, one of the best defenses you can
possibly put on is that person went for my gun and then told me you`re
going to die tonight. So there`s no question if someone tells me that in
my mind that they are going to kill me. It`s almost too perfect.

And so having that combination there, I think the prosecutor`s going
to tie that into the fact he has all this knowledge about self-defense law
and how to come up with a good defense and this scenario, which is
improbable, is just too perfect.

O`DONNELL: Lisa Bloom and Faith Jenkins, thank you very much for
joining me tonight.

JENKINS: Thank you.

BLOOM: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, we have breaking news in Wisconsin, where a
federal judge has stopped the implementation of a new anti-abortion law
signed by Governor Scott Walker this weekend. And we have new video of
Edward Snowden tonight talking about how he turned against his employer.

And in "The Rewrite" tonight, the Washington media criticizes the
Washington media and in the process of course makes a classic Washington
media mistake.


O`DONNELL: Time for another episode of "What was Pat Robertson doing


PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVANGELIST: I was reading today, just happened to
be reading in Leviticus. And there`s a list of sexual sins. And it has to
do with sex with an animal. It has to do with adultery. It has to do with
other types of sexual misconduct, incest, et cetera.


O`DONNELL: Yes. That`s what Pat Robertson was doing today.

And later, the surprising new moves in the careers of a couple
politicians who were not quite as horrified as Pat Robertson by their
readings of Leviticus.


O`DONNELL: Breaking news in Wisconsin tonight, a federal judge has
blocked a restrictive, new anti-abortion law that was supposed to go into
effect today. Republican Governor Scott Walker signed the law on Friday of
the holiday weekend when he tweeted, "spent the morning signing 18 bills
into law at the capitol."

Those bills included such bipartisan and non-controversial
legislation as a bill to increase public appreciation of the scenic nature
and historical significance of the rock river and a bill regarding special
license plates designed for the Lions Club of Wisconsin, and that included
Senate Bill 206, "relates to requirements to perform abortions requiring an
ultrasound before informed consent for an abortion, and providing a
penalty. This bill improved a woman`s ability to make an informed choice
that will make her physical and mental health now and in the future. Women
have a choice as to the ultrasound they receive. Pregnancies that are the
result of a sexual assault or incest are excluded from this legislation."

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have filed a federal lawsuit claiming
the bill is unconstitutional. They won a victory tonight with the
temporary restraining order.

Joining me now is Nicole Safar, the public policy director for
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin.

Nicole, where does the case go from here? The one in which you`ve
gotten this injunction.

next step is hearing that the judge scheduled for a week from Wednesday to
discuss whether or not we are able to get a preliminary injunction and
further enjoin the law.

O`DONNELL: And what are the -- when you read this law, what is this
law really trying to do? Is it trying to shut down abortion in effect
completely? Is it trying to shut down abortion clinics, providers?

SAFAR: Well, this law is just one step to put restrictions targeted
specifically at physicians who provide abortion services and ultimately to
shut down facilities that provide abortion services. In Wisconsin,
abortion is already extremely restricted and limited. There are only four
health centers in the entire state where a woman can get an abortion. And
this law would have had the immediate impact of shutting down two of those
facilities, one of which is a Planned Parenthood clinic.

O`DONNELL: I want to read from Federal Judge William Connelly`s
opinion and what he said tonight in his restraining order.

He said, "There`s a troubling act for justification for the hospital
admitting privileges requirement. Moreover, this court`s review of the
limited legislative history of the act does not reveal any medical expert
speaking in favor of the act or otherwise articulating a legitimate medical
reason for the admitting privileges requirement."

The bill seems to be filled with that sort of stuff, that the judge
himself couldn`t justify on any medical policy ground.

SAFAR: That`s correct. I was really heartened to read that in the
judge`s opinion. It is -- the evidence is overwhelmingly -- of medical
experts, is overwhelmingly on the side of opposing laws like this. The
Wisconsin Medical Society, the American Congress of Obstetrician and
Gynecologists, every major medical organization that supports physicians
who provide services for women opposes policies like this.

And the judge, you know, found it very clear that the other side
could offer no evidence that there was a medical necessity for this kind of

O`DONNELL: And the law itself includes a civil component for
enforcement of it that is beyond strange. It says, "If anyone violates
this section, the mother, the father of the aborted unborn child or the
grandparent of the aborted unborn child can sue for civil remedies under
any abortion that violates the terms of this law."

So, that would mean that if two people involved, a male and a female
involved in a pregnancy decided that they wanted to end it that their
parents, no matter what their ages are, their parents could sue and
interfere with that.

SAFAR: Right. I mean, that`s a huge problem in these abortion
restrictions that are being passed in Wisconsin. They almost all contain
this open-ended civil liability aimed at physicians. And it`s another way
to intimidate physicians into not providing a service that is safe and
legal in Wisconsin right now.

O`DONNELL: Nicole Safar, thanks for joining us on this breaking news
night from Wisconsin.

SAFAR: Thanks so much.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, if you liked Dick Cheney, you will love
Senator Liz Cheney.

And in a new, never-before-seen video, Ed Snowden explains why he
leaked U.S. secrets. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, Edward Snowden.

He now has competing offers of asylum from three countries, and we
have new video from his interview with "The Guardian" last month in Hong


EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA LEAKER: I enlisted in the Army shortly after the
invasion of Iraq, and I believed in the goodness of what we were doing, I
believed in the nobility of our intentions, to free oppressed people
overseas. But over time, over the length of my career, as I watched the
news and I increasingly was exposed to true information that had not been
propagandized in the media, that we were actually involved in misleading
the public and misleading all publics, not just the American public, in
order to create a certain mindset in the global consciousness. And I was
actually a victim of that.


O`DONNELL: Edward Snowden describes what inspired him to release
classified documents.


SNOWDEN: I grew up with the understanding that the world I lived in
was one where people enjoyed a sort of freedom to communicate with each
other in privacy, without it being monitored, without it being measured or
analyzed or sort of judged by these shadowy figures or systems anytime they
mention anything that travels across public lines.

I think a lot of people of my generation, anybody who grew up with
the Internet, that was their understanding. As we`ve seen the Internet and
government`s relation to the Internet evolve over time, we`ve seen that
sort of open debate, that free market of ideas sort of lose its domain and
be shrunk.


O`DONNELL: Today, Venezuela and Bolivia confirmed receipt of Edward
Snowden`s official asylum requests. On Saturday, the Bolivian president
offered asylum to Snowden. On Friday, the Venezuelan president did the
same. That same day, the Nicaraguan president said he would grant Snowden
asylum, if circumstances allow it, whatever that means.

And today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said this.


in touch via diplomatic and law enforcement channels with countries through
which Mr. Snowden might transit or which might serve as final destinations
for Mr. Snowden, and we`ve made very clear that he has been charged with a
felony, or with felonies, and as such he should not be allowed to proceed
in any further international travel other than travel that would result in
him returning to the United States.


O`DONNELL: In an op-ed in the "Washington Post" today, Daniel
Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon papers 40 years ago wrote this, "Many
people compare Edward Snowden to me unfavorably for leaving the country and
seeking asylum rather than facing trial as I did. I don`t agree. The
country I stayed in was a different America, a long time ago. For the
whole two years I was under indictment, I was free to speak to the media
and at rallies and public lectures.

I was, after all, part of a movement against an ongoing war, helping
to end that war was my preeminent concern. I couldn`t have done that
abroad. And leaving the country never entered my mind. There is no chance
that experience could be reproduced today."

Joining me now, MSNBC`s Richard Wolffe.

Richard, there are so many things to cover. Let`s get to the asylum
situation and the difficulty for Edward Snowden seems to be how would you
get from Moscow to any one of these places without crossing airspace that -
- European airspace you won`t be allowed to cross?

they`re so far away here`s someone who went to Hong Kong for safekeeping
and then on to Russia, where he thought he would have some measure of
protection as well, and none of that came to pass. So, he`s now in a very
distant place away from where he thinks he might end up.

But you know, there`s also a statement of intent in these countries that
he`s going to. In the interview he talks about government`s relationship
to freedom of the individual. What government is he talking about or
thinking about when he goes to China or Russia or if he ends up where I
expect him to end up, which is Venezuela?

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Well, in his defense on that point, I
would simply go to the point of he will be more effective not in prison
anywhere in the world than he would be able to be effective in any way in
prison in the United States.

WOLFFE: I think we have to understand, he`s already peaked in terms of his
maximum effectiveness, you know. What we`re seeing now is the more of his
interviews that come out the more questions are raised about his conduct,
the more he interferes with the debate that he has successfully triggered.
There is a real debate to be had about the FISA courts, about supervision,
checks and balances, about the limits of what surveillance should be. But
all the while he`s engaged in this cat and mouse game and his intent and
his credibility is thrown into question. He is hindering the very debate
he seeks to trigger.

O`DONNELL: I think I see it more as he takes up some of the space, a lot
of the space in that debate, but that debate is still floating out there
because of what he`s done and because he`s still at large. I think if he
was just in custody and, you know, it would be much harder to get the
debate going. I was struck by the first thing he said in this new video.
I enlisted in the army shortly after the invasion of Iraq.

WOLFFE: Right.

O`DONNELL: He enlisted in the army more than a year, not just a year after
the invasion. It was a year after Bush did the mission accomplished thing.
It was so -- the Iraq war was so already a failure on its own terms. There
were no weapons of mass destruction and we knew that.

WOLFFE: Exactly.

O`DONNELL: When Edward Snowden oddly, very oddly claims this idealistic
notion about joining the army because of the invasion of Iraq.

WOLFFE: Right. And this also throws -- this gets to the question of his
intent. It throws into question when did he signed up to the job he
currently did? Was he somehow outraged by what he found at the time
working for Booz Hamilton or was it actually prior to that, was he outraged
because he was such an idealistic young man who signed up after 9/11?
Well, it turns out it wasn`t after 9/11 because of what happened in New
York and Pennsylvania and elsewhere. It wasn`t because of the invasion of
Iraq itself.

So what`s the truth here? And this is what I mean by him getting in the
way of a very, very important debate. His credibility is coming into
questions with these kinds of interviews. Frankly, the guardian`s
credibility. This interview isn`t in response, as they had pretended it to
questions. This was an interview that was done many, many weeks ago before
there were any questions, before anyone actually knew who Snowden was.
There`s too much hype going on here about a very important thing.

O`DONNELL: I guess there are two different stories. One is the NSA story
based on the revelations of Edward Snowden, which was a big and important
story that should have its own life. And then there`s this other story,
which is the plight of Edward Snowden. And that`s where it becomes
interesting who he is because what you`re seeing here is an expression of
stunning naivet‚, which by the way isn`t even true.

When he says I enlisted in the army shortly after the invasion of Iraq and
in the same sentence goes on to say I believed in the goodness of what we
were doing in Iraq? A year after mission accomplished? How impressionable
can you be? And how subject to very quick opinion change can you be?

WOLFFE: Right. Well, if you`re a libertarian, Ron Paul supporter, maybe
that`s a mindset that would have tracked for him, someone who was very
trusting of conservatives who found that according to the web chats that
we`ve seen he thought that the "New York Times" leaks in the Bush years
were awful and leakers should be shot in parts of their body that would be
very painful.

So you know, he has undergone some kind of conversion. That doesn`t mean
the debate is illegitimate. It just does raise questions about his
character and judgment.

O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

WOLFFE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up in the "rewrite," the lazy Washington media`s take on
the lazy Washington media and how they handled the IRS non-scandal.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m running for mayor because I`ve been fighting for
the middle class --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe with the public`s permission I could come back.


O`DONNELL: Really? Really, guys? You two couldn`t find any other thing
to do in the world, any other way to maybe help people? Nothing other than
running for office?

This is how president George W. Bush spent his last week, working to
rehabilitate a clinic in Africa that screens women for cervical cancer.
The clinic was opened with help from Bush`s pink ribbon red ribbon cancer

He knows what to do when he can`t run for office anymore. Viewers of this
program have donated more than $5 million and have helped thousands of
children in Malawi through the kind fund, kids in need of desks. The
partnership that it program has with UNICEF that helps put desks in schools
in Africa where kids would otherwise never, ever see desks and sit on the
floor and go through rough days in school. In fact, if you could like to
help lift more kids off the floor, get them desks into their schools, you
can go to our Web site, That means you, Elliot
Spitzer. You can go. In fact, you can go to Africa and start your own
program. You are rich enough to donate $5 million to anything anywhere in
the world right now tonight.

And Anthony Weiner, you did OK in the private sector after being a
congressman. You`ve got a few bucks. There`s nothing you can think of
doing, neither one of you guys, other than running for office? That`s it?
Nothing else comes to mind?

All right. The "rewrite" is next, by the way. And it`s a kind of personal
"rewrite." I`m in it, and it`s about salon and an article they did today.
Salon says I`m distressed about their article, but I`m not. I`m actually
really delighted by it. And I`m not going to attack the author of it
personally. I won`t even mention his name because he`s kind of young and
starting up and he`ll do better work than this in the future. I am not
distressed about it in the least. I am truly delighted because it proves
one of my favorite things about the Washington media, and that is next in
the "rewrite."


O`DONNELL: Faithful viewers of this program can just imagine my joy when I
saw this tweet this morning from salon. A blow by blow account of how the
media completely humiliated themselves on the IRS scandal. I clicked on
the link immediately and was thrilled to read the headline, how the media
outrageously blew the IRS scandal: a full accounting. And then the sub-
headline, almost everything reported about the big Obama scandal was wrong,
and no one has been held to account. That`s the kind of thing I`ve been
saying for months. I was thrilled. I thought wow, I can`t wait to read
this because I`ve said that right here on this program from the start, the
Washington media has done a terrible job covering the scandal that never
was a scandal. In fact, here are my very first words, the first words I
said about the IRS non-scandal.


O`DONNELL: If you`ve been anywhere near a news source today, you know that
tonight the internal revenue service is officially out of control and that
all of Washington is scandalized by the out-of-control IRS. But no one in
Washington seems to understand that the IRS has been out of control on the
matter in question since 1959, when Republican Dwight Eisenhower was
president. It was in 1959 that the IRS decided to change the meaning of
the English language in a very important way, and that change was created -
- created what was being called a scandal in Washington today but is really
just the IRS doing its job.


O`DONNELL: I said repeatedly that the fake IRS scandal was fueled by a
compliant and lazy political media.


O`DONNELL: When one of these things comes up, the very first thing you do
is say let me see the law, let me see the statute. You go and read the
statute which apparently is against the rules for the political media.


O`DONNELL: Salon`s blow-by-blow account of how the media fell for the fake
IRS scandal did not include the following blow against the media.


O`DONNELL: The Washington press corps could ask Darrell Issa about that,
but that would mean they`d actually have to read the law, which so far
apparently none of them have done except for Ezra Klein and a few others
who have talked about it on this program with me.

For weeks now the Washington political media have been writing about and
talking on TV about 501c4s, and every one of them who has not quoted the
very simple law on 501c4s literally does not have the vaguest idea what he
or she is actually talking about. You should mark this moment in political
punditry. The press corps has been given an intelligence test, and it is
failing it miserably.

The Washington press corps`s ignorance of 501c4 law is breathtakingly
relentless. The Washington press corps`s ignorance is a brick wall that
shows absolutely no sign of cracking.


O`DONNELL: And then comes Salon today pretending that it is taking a brave
and lonely stance against the Washington media`s brief infatuation with the
so-called IRS scandal without mentioning that the idea for the piece is
unoriginal, that the basic idea that the piece advances has already been
pushed relentlessly on this program for two months. But originality is not
the Washington media`s strong point, and the author of this piece and salon
itself are indeed Washington media players with Washington media

In the piece MSNBC is thrown in with everyone else who got the story wrong.
In order to do that, Salon had to ignore all three of MSNBC`s primetime
shows, the shows which happen to have the biggest audiences on MSNBC, with
Rachel of course having the largest audience of all. To accuse MSNBC of
getting it wrong, salon had to ignore the very existence of this program,
which has the second largest MSNBC audience.

In fact, more people heard this program, getting the IRS fake scandal
right, every night than heard anyone else on the network getting it not so
right. But Salon, just like the rest of the Washington media, didn`t hear
a word of what was said on this program. Absolutely no one in Washington
took their guidance. No one in the Washington media anyway took their
guidance on the IRS story from this program. And I never, ever expected
them to.


O`DONNELL: Once the political media has latched on to the paradigm of a
scandal, once they have collectively fixed its frame around what they think
are the relevant elements of that scandal, it is inescapable from that
point forward, that frame. And the media is incapable of processing any
new information that can show the political media just how wrong they have


O`DONNELL: And so, the 24 segments we did on there not being an IRS
scandal had no impact on scandal fever in the Washington media, but they
did affect members of Congress who were investigating the IRS story.


REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D), TEXAS: As Mr. Lawrence O`Donnell, as the crew
group, the citizens for responsibility and ethics in Washington has pointed
out in a petition, you are to be denied this status if you are not
exclusively engaged in social welfare according to the statute.


O`DONNELL: Each of our 24 segments managed to escape the attention of
Salon today when they decided to bravely give you a blow-by-blow account of
how the media completely humiliated themselves on the IRS scandal. That
was a damn good tweet, the blow-by-blow account thing. It`s the kind of
thing that gets people like me to read the piece, but it wasn`t true. And
the headline of the piece that said it was quote "a full accounting,"
that`s not true either.

And so you`ve learned something about Salon today, that Salon like the rest
of the Washington media, blow by blow doesn`t actually mean every blow and
a full accounting doesn`t mean a full accounting.

Viewers of this program can learn absolutely nothing about the fake IRS
scandal by reading the salon fake full accounting because every fact in the
piece used to describe why the scandal was fake has already been reported
here and elsewhere including Salon.

Salon should have, of course, just taken down the piece and rewritten it or
at least, at least just gotten rid of the full accounting bit in the
headline, a little modesty would have been in order, after I alerted them
via twitter that there were, you know, some problems with the piece.

But the Washington media doesn`t operate that way. Instead, what Salon did
was simply post a little update line at the end of the piece saying MSNBC
host Lawrence O`Donnell is distressed that we did not name him as an
exception to the media`s poor coverage of this story. Here, then, is an
example of where he did get it right.

Come on, salon. You could have said here is one example out of 24 where he
got it right. But, of course, I wasn`t actually distressed at all to find
the weaknesses in salon`s reporting. I was actually kind of delighted by
it for two reasons. Number one, it gave me something to talk about in this
space- tonight, which is always a chore to fill. And number two, it is an
exquisite proof, exquisite proof of the weakness of the Washington media.

Here is Salon, accusing the Washington media of being lazy and getting the
story wrong, and Salon is deeply distressed that the people who got the
story wrong haven`t come out and apologized for that. And Salon`s story is
itself lazy and wrong, and its blow-by-blow thing is not a blow by blow,
and its full accounting is not a full accounting. And Salon just like the
rest of the Washington media just can`t admit when it`s lazy and wrong.
That. That is perfection. Salon has delivered us yet another flawless
example of how the Washington media does its thing.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s an offense. It`s an abomination for a man to lie
with a man as with a woman. That`s what it says. And those who do that in
the old testament were stoned to death.


O`DONNELL: The old testament wouldn`t like Anthony Weiner`s tweets one
bit. And he`s not the only guy running for office in New York who`s got
some issues. That`s next.



GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: The time has come to pass on the mantle of
leadership. Today, I am announcing I will not seek re-election as governor
of Texas.


O`DONNELL: The man who would be president, were it not for debates and
elections. That was one-time Republican presidential front-runner and the
longest-serving Texas governor in history, Rick Perry, telling Texas and
the world that he finally does know how to quit Texas politics.

But New York politics remains irresistible for two of its most scandal-
plagued practitioners, who have trouble resisting things they should
resist, Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer.

Anthony Weiner is, of course, running for mayor after resigning his seat in
the House of Representatives for tweeting -- a tweeting sex scandal in
which apparently no human contact whatsoever was involved.

And Eliot Spitzer is now running for controller after resigning the
governorship as a result of being caught up in a prostitution
investigation. And Liz Cheney is contemplating a run for the United States
Senate in Wyoming, where her father, Dick Cheney, was elected to Congress.
The only problem being that Wyoming of course already has two Republican
senators, but Liz Cheney is reportedly considering a challenge to one of
them, Mike Ensey (ph). Former Republican senator from Wyoming Alan Simpson
is not looking forward to the Cheney campaign calling it quote "the
destruction of the Republican party in Wyoming if she decides to run and he
runs too. It`s a disaster, a divisive, ugly situation, and all it does is
open the door for the Democrats for 20 years."

Ari Melber, 20 years the Democrats get a Wyoming Senate seat. I don`t
know, Alan. We`d love to believe that.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Yes, I mean, the first takeaway there
is does he think Wyoming is that blue for that long? It tells you more
that he`s with the old guard in Wyoming.

O`DONNELL: So listen. These guys, Eliot Spitzer, really, like he can`t
think of anything else life to do except run for -- he craves the sound of
election night applause that badly? That he wants to run for comptroller
of the city of New York?

MELBER: Well, I think he definitely wants to get back in the game. Maybe
he shouldn`t have resigned so quickly. The big difference between I think
Spitzer and Weiner that one New York politico Blake Zefit pointed out right
when the news broke was Weiner`s trying to get a huge promotion and he lost
the last time he ran for mayor without a scandal.

Spitzer`s basically in a redemptive mode and he`s saying, hey, I will take
this lower job. As you point out it`s not the governorship, although it`s
a lot of money.

O`DONNELL: They are both addicts. They are both addicted to running for
office, getting the applause, the glad-handing and all of that for what
they`re doing. Neither one of them took any time for any kind of
interesting contemplative change in their lives once they were relieved of
office, relieved of the duties of that.

MELBER: Well, let`s be fair to Eliot. He spent some time in cable TV.
And you know how contemplative this is. You know what we do here.


MELBER: You`ve got to rethink your role in the world.


MELBER: I think what you point out is they both have been running the
whole time, right? I mean, it`s almost as if as they were both resigning,
they were both building back up and figuring out how to do that. And for
Weiner it was a lot of sort of open kimono in the "New York Times" and
telling everybody here`s everything.

O`DONNELL: Here`s one of the things I care about in politicians. If you
lose this election, do you know how to go about your life tomorrow? And
most of them don`t.


O`DONNELL: And it`s the thing I dislike about them the most-s that they
aren`t actual real human beings who know how to live in the world.

MELBER: Yes. Well, this is what I`ll say about Eliot. I do think he has

O`DONNELL: Eliot. It`s a first --

MELBER: Well, that could hurt me. When we run. The thing about Eliot is


MELBER: Do you want me to -- I`m not going to be pressured out of it.

O`DONNELL: Say my buddy Eliot.

MELBER: The thing about it is he has definitely taken on as his mantle
from attorney general to governor and in some ways the comptroller
position, Wall Street and you have a client relationship where he would
have a lot of sway as of sway as a shareholder activist. So, I do think
reforming wall street is a big passion of his. To your point, it`s not a
big a passion as political redemption.

O`DONNELL: No, look. He is the most qualified person to run for that job
in the history of that job. I just wonder who the human being is. but
that`s for another show.

MELBER: Another show and cable news.

O`DONNELL: It will be handled by someone else.

Ari Melber, buddy of Eliot gets tonight`s "Last Word."

Thank you.

MELBER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


Copyright 2013 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>