Defying MSNBC Spin, Dana Milbank Vents at 'Mean,' 'Ornery' 'S.O.B' Barney Frank

Liberal Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank defied the conventional wisdom of MSNBC, a network he contributes to, and angrily vented in a column that Barney Frank is a "mean," "ornery" "S.O.B."

In his November 30 column, Milbank derided the Congressman as "one of the most notorious bullies, known for berating staff, alienating allies and causing aides to cower in fear of his gratuitous and frequent browbeatings."

Milbank (see file photo at right) made sure to state that he thinks Frank is "smart" and effective, but his harshly negative tone is quite a departure from shows such as Hardball, where the writer is a frequent guest.

On Tuesday, Matthews gushed, "Barney has brains, wit, and a conscience, and a pretty good sense of proportion." The host added, "He can argue his case but still see the other guy’s, especially if it’s a good argument."

Milbank, however, lashed out: "But the gratuitous nastiness, to allies and especially to his own staff, have kept him from achieving far more in his three-decade career on the Hill."

The columnist showed a different side of Frank, one not played up on MSNBC:

The stories are legendary: making a young network employee cry when he scolded her for trying to un-rumple him before a TV appearance; demanding that an aide “answer the [expletive] question” before giving him a chance to respond; asking a woman escorting him to a Chicago meeting, “Why do you care what kind of flight I had?”

Milbank bluntly stated, "...Barney Frank, liberal lion, gay pioneer and respected legislator, is also one mean and ornery S.O.B."

Yet, in Matthews' skewed sense of judgment, it's Newt Gingrich who is "evil" and Frank who is the arbiter of decency. On Wednesday's Hardball, the cable anchor pressed the Democrat as to whether Gingrich "personified" vileness. Frank rejected this assessment.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org