MSNBC’s ‘Last Word’ Apologizes For Confusing Satire With Truth

By Alex Weprin 

Earlier this week there was a satire piece published in Politico, in which one of the outlet’s reporters said that Paul Ryan referred to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail as “The Stench.” While there was some confusion on social media about whether it was a serious piece or not, most mainstream outlets realized that it was satirical. it may not have been very funny satire, but it was satire nonetheless. The same can’t be said for MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” which apparently did believe the piece was serious, with host Lawrence O’Donnell feigning incredulity at the whole affair.

On the “Last Word” blog, the staff of the show released an apology for getting it wrong:

We tried to book Roger Simon yesterday to discuss his piece but he was unavailable. Had he been a guest on the show, it obviously would have been clear that his piece was not meant to be taken literally. We regret and apologize for presenting some of the quotes in Roger Simon’s piece the way we did.

Spud at Inside Cable News argues that the show should have apologized on-air for the incident, because after all, how many people who watch the show in TV are really reading the blog?

The whole affair was reminiscent of a “Fox & Friends” incident from earlier this month. The program presented a photo that was taken from a satirical video shoot two years ago of President Obama talking to a pirate, and the program presented it as though Obama was meeting with the pirate rather than talking to Israel Prime Minister Netenyahu. The show never apologized on-air, instead releasing a terse tweet.