Those who enjoy a side order of conspiracy theory with their news got more than they could swallow on Friday when Lawrence O'Donnell, host of MSNBC's "The Last Word", claimed-- without proof-- that Vladimir Putin might have masterminded the chemical attacks in Syria.
On Friday, O'Donnell offered a theory claiming that Putin ordered Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to use chemical weapons against his own people in a small-scale attack that was just large enough to attract media attention. This prompted President Trump to retaliate, thereby distracting Americans from the "real" issue-- the alleged ties between Russian officials and members of Trump's campaign staff.
O'Donnell devoted several minutes to passionately defending his wild speculation that had no basis in fact before bringing on his first guest.
O'Donnell believes it's the perfect explanation
“It’s perfect, just perfect," declared O'Donnell as he laid out the specifics of his conspiracy theory. "Putin said, ‘I have an idea. Go ahead, do a small chemical attack, nothing like the big ones you’ve done in the past, just big enough to attract media attention so that my friend in the White House will see it on TV.'"
According to the MSNBC host, Trump would then retaliate by firing some missiles, causing the media to temporarily forget all about Trump's supposed collusion with Russia. "It’s perfect,” O'Donnell stated once again at the end of his ramble.
Before O'Donnell brought out his guests, he told viewers that they would hear different opinions, but added, "what you won’t hear is proof that that scenario that I’ve just outlined is impossible.”
Will Lawrence O'Donnell become the next Alex Jones?The hallmark of any good conspiracy theory, of course, is that it could be possible-- that's what makes a conspiracy theory believable in the first place. And when it comes to wild conspiracy theories, the recent events in Syria have been a bonanza for those who specialize in them.
InfoWars, the website founded by far-right conspiracy king Alex Jones, recently uploaded a 2-hour long video on YouTube claiming to offer evidence that the Syrian chemical weapon attack was a "false flag" operation, perhaps staged by the Russian government.
Except for a few minor details, O'Donnell's theory isn't much different than the ones being offered by a host of other "fake news" sites and conspiracy theory YouTube channels.
The difference between InfoWars and MSNBC, however, is that InfoWars has been dubbed a "fake news" site by the likes of CBS News, Vanity Fair, The Washington Times, The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Media Matters, Buzzfeed, Chicago Tribune, Fortune Magazine, The Huffington Post and Wikipedia.
MSNBC, on the other hand, has not-- at least not yet.