A 4Chan user has taken credit for the hoax which lead to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell issuing an apology on air on Wednesday evening.
O’Donnell had reported, based on one single source, that Russian oligarchs had co-signed Donald Trump’s loans from Deutsche Bank in 1998, which was a lie.
“Deutsche Bank is in possession of loan documents that show Donald Trump has obtained loans with co-signers and that he would not have been able to obtain those loans without co-signers,” O’Donnell had said, adding, “The source close to Deutsche Bank says that the co-signers of Donald Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans are Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.”
In a 4Chan post claiming credit for the hoax, an anonymous user wrote, “here to claim my prize. It’s easy to send an annoymous tip to a a trump hating new organization and watch them report it with no fact checking. I send the attached email to Lawrence O’Donnell yesterday and he reported it!!! I didn’t think it would work but the bait was too juicy. Now he is disgraced and discredited. All nbc email addresses are [email protected]. They are begging for tips so I sent one!!,” they added, “Hi Ben Collins! Hi Hilary!”
The post also contained a screenshot of the email that they claim to have sent the host, in which they claimed to be the wife of a Chief Loan Officer for Deutsche Bank. The email did not contain a date or time stamp, so it cannot be confirmed.
O’Donnell had ran the loan story on Tuesday night, though he repeatedly stated “if true,” showing that he didn’t bother doing any homework at all in his quest to report dirt on the president.
Last night I made an error in judgment by reporting an item about the president’s finances that didn’t go through our rigorous verification and standards process. I shouldn’t have reported it and I was wrong to discuss it on the air. I will address the issue on my show tonight.
— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) August 28, 2019
The host admitted on Twitter on Wednesday that he had made an “error in judgement” running with the story, then took to the airwaves later that night with a more thorough apology.
“Last night on this show I discussed information that wasn’t ready for reporting,” O’Donnell said. “I repeated statements a single source told me about thepresident’s finances and loan documents with Deutsche Bank. Saying ‘if true’ as I discussed the information was not good enough. I did not go through the rigorous verification and standards process here at MSNBC before repeating what I heard from my source. Had it gone through that process I would not have been permittedto report it. I should not have said it on air or posted it on Twitter. I was wrong to do so. This afternoon, attorneys for the president sent us a letter asserting the story is false. They demanded a retraction. Tonight we are retracting the story. We don’t know whether the information is inaccurate. But the fact is, we do know it wasn’t ready for broadcast, and for that I apologize.”
Eric Trump was not willing to accept the apology and announced that the company will be taking legal action against the disgraced host.
This was a reckless attempt to slander our family and smear a great company. Apologies are not enough when the true intent was solely to damage and cause harm. As a company, we will be taking legal action. This unethical behavior has to stop. @Lawrence @MSNBC https://t.co/i4X6CcdkCm
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) August 29, 2019