MSNBC primetime host Lawrence O’Donnell had the last word on some folks in his control room late last month, venting first about someone talking in his ear about “a Labor Day rundown” then some apparent knucklehead using a hammer. Video of his tirade, spiced with no shortage of colorful language, was leaked today, and O’Donnell took to social media this afternoon to apologize for it:
It was the night of August 29 — one the longtime liberal commentator likely would rather forget. The clip shows O’Donnell thanking his lead-in Rachel Maddow then settling in to start that night’s edition of The Last Word. Then things went south. As he began to chide President Donald Trump’s empathy-free visit to flooded Texas that day, O’Donnell stopped. A voice is heard in the background, and the host went off.
“What’s going on?” he asked. “Why don’t I have sound?” The glitch then appears to be rectified, but no such luck. “Someone in that control room is out of control,” the host griped. He tried to keep it together, even succeeding for a while, then got more agitated as a producer counted down to camera time.
“F*ckin’,” he whispers. “Goddammit.”
If that had been it, all would be well — but it wasn’t. The host soldiered on with his report, but after awhile, the ghost in the machine returned.
“You have insanity in my earpiece,” O’Donnell said, still kinda keeping it together. But it didn’t last. His eyes fairly glowing with internalized rage, he tried to introduce a panel. Then this:
“Stop the hammering! Stop the hammering out there! Who’s got a hammer? Where is it? Where’s the hammer? Is it on the — go up on the other floor! Somebody go up there and stop the hammering! Stop the hammering! I’ll go down to the goddamn floor myself and stop it! Keep the goddamn commercial break going. Where’s f*ckin’ [MSNBC president] Phil Griffin? I don’t care who the f*ck you have to call. Stop the hammering! Empty out the goddamn control room and find out where this is going on! (Pointing up then down) It’s either there or there! Or out there somewhere! (Pause.) The woman talking in my ear was talking about the Labor Day special. Repeatedly… f*ckin’ out of control shit… Jesus Christ! Crazy f*ckin’ sounds coming in my ear. This f*ckin’ stupid hammering. … It just f*cking sucks, it just f*cking sucks to be out here with this out of control shit.”
Later there was more, but you get the idea. The rants recalled such famous outtake tirades as those of a younger Bill O’Reilly on Inside Edition and Casey Kasem on American Top 40 — though not as rough as then-L.A. Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda when asked his opinion of the performance by a player who’d hit three home runs off the Dodgers that day.
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