MSNBC promoted the release of a video recorded by Omarosa Manigault Newman on "Hardball With Chris Matthews" Tuesday, and it turned out to be a video of people walking into a plane.
Specifically, the video shows President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen in September of 2016 entering Trump's plane and acknowledging Newman, who said Tuesday on "Hardball" that the video is evidence Cohen was central to the campaign. Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations Tuesday, is then shown walking past Newman and doesn’t answer her request to say goodbye.
The benign nature of the video did not stop MSNBC and Matthews in particular from hyping the video. In addition to television promos during the busy news day, Matthews and the "Hardball" account told viewers to tune in and see this peek into Newman’s "extensive stash of video."
Omarosa says she has video tapes. She's going to bring one to #Hardball tonight at 7.
— Chris Matthews (@HardballChris) August 21, 2018
— The ReidOut (@thereidout) August 21, 2018
Newman, for her part, explained the value of the video by saying it preempts the argument Trump will make that Cohen was not very involved in the campaign.
"It shows you're in there, at least," Matthews told Newman.
NBC and MSNBC gave Omarosa about $28 million of free publicity last week as she released her tell-all book on the Trump White House, Unhinged.
Cohen was a longtime Trump lawyer and associate, and he implicated a candidate for federal office in his testimony. Trump himself did not opine on the matter Tuesday, but Wednesday morning tweeted that, for those looking for a "good lawyer," he wouldn't suggest retaining Cohen's services.
Update 8/22/18 9:01 A.M.: This piece was updated with Trump's comment about Cohen in the wake of the lawyer's guilty plea.