Throughout the day Monday, journalists and pundits were rightfully applauding conservative radio host Charlie Sykes for his tough, hard-hitting interview of Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. Word spread quickly about the 15-plus minute segment, in which Sykes held Trump’s feet to the fire and did not allow him to continuously pivot or deflect. All in all, it was the type of interview Trump should have been dealing with months ago, something Sykes himself pointed out.
During Monday night’s broadcast of The Last Word, host Lawrence O’Donnell spoke glowingly about the interview, devoting quite a bit of his one-hour program to it. Towards the end of the show, he talked to MSNBC reporter Tony Dokooupil, who had interviewed Sykes earlier in the day. The segment, however, inadvertently became less about Sykes’ no holds barred conversation with Trump and more about why the mainstream media, and specifically MSNBC, has treated Trump with kid gloves until recently.
O’Donnell asked Dokoupil about Sykes’ shock regarding the lack of challenging Trump interviews so far in this election cycle and the amount of attention he is getting for basically being the first one to really go after the celebrity billionaire. The response the MSNBC host got from Dokoupil was likely not what he was expecting.
The reporter explained that Sykes, unlike other networks, publications or radio stations, knew he was getting a “one-and-done” scenario with Trump. Essentially, Sykes realized this would be the only opportunity he’d have to talk to the real estate mogul, so he had the luxury of being tough with Trump because he didn’t have to worry about getting access to the man or campaign later.
However, those who are on a Trump “beat,” along with their outlets, can’t risk upsetting the candidate with hard but fair questions, lest they be shunned by the campaign.
“Charlie Sykes, he took his opportunity. He knew it would be one and done. He does not 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 had that luxury of being incredibly blistering.”
Right away, O’Donnell, being the good company man, did his very best to provide cover for MSNBC, saying the following:
“Well I don’t think the fact that we have to cover Donald Trump means that you then play softball with him so you can guarantee he will speak to you another time. Once the mission of the interview is to get the next interview with the same person we know how soft that interview is going to be.”
Sorry, Lawrence. While you may have been tough with Donald these past few months — which is why you don’t get him for interviews — you know for a fact your colleagues haven’t. It is obvious to regular watchers that the Morning Joe crew, Chuck Todd, Chris Matthews and others have done their best to coddle The Donald and let him steamroll over them during interviews, while the entire network has provided tons of free, uncritical, media coverage to the celebrity billionaire cum fascist demagogue.
I’m sure Dokoupil will be chastised by higher-ups for letting the cat out of the bag, but he sure wasn’t lying with what he said.
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of The Blaze: