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I've always like Lawrence O'Donnell, but his coverage of the Trayvon Martin tragedy has taken my respect for him to a much higher level.

He has done a tremendous job of reporting and interviewing, but tonight he really took Joe Zimmerman's defender Joe Oliver to the woodshed in a tense interview.  Bottom line:  Oliver admitted that he's not a close friend of Zimmerman's and that he's basing his defense of Zimmerman on nothing more than a gut feeling.

In short, Oliver does not really know Zimmerman very well at all and has no business running around telling anyone who will listen that there's no way Zimmerman is a racist and that Zimmerman killed Trayvon in self defense and has been crying ever since.

In addition, O'Donnell knocked Oliver off balance by telling him that he (O'Donnell) had discovered that Oliver and Zimmerman were once co-workers, which contradicted Oliver's initial claim that they only knew each other via social circles.  Oliver really started backpedalling after that revelation.  It seemed as though he was surprised to be told himself that he once worked with Zimmerman.  In effect, O'Donnell caught Oliver in a lie of omission.  I'm not sure why he didn't hammer him on that point because it totally undermined Oliver's credibility.

By Oliver's own admission, he has not even seen Zimmerman since a week or so before the shooting.  He talked to Zimmerman by telephone.  Therefore, how can Oliver really know Zimmerman's physical condition right now?  And why would Oliver, by his own admission, quit his job to go on a PR tour for Zimmerman?  This guy seems to be a nutcase glory hound who just wants publicity.  When O'Donnell told him what he's doing makes no sense, all Oliver could do was sit there with a weird grin on his face and say he understands that his actions make no sense.  Pretty damned strange.

If Joe Oliver is the best Zimmerman and his lawyer can do, Zimmerman is in big trouble.  

Kudos to Lawrence O'Donnell and the entire team at MSNBC for having so much passion and conviction, and for doing such an outstanding job on fairly covering this tragic case.  Let's hope it all leads to justice for Trayvon Martin.


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