Dan Rather on McDaniel Flap: What Was NBC Thinking?

Backlash grows, with at least one report suggesting she will be out soon
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2024 2:21 PM CDT
Ronna McDaniel's Days May Be Numbered at NBC
Ronna McDaniel in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

The Ronna McDaniel controversy at NBC News isn't going away. Meet the Press host Chuck Todd was the first to criticize his bosses on the air for hiring the former head of the Republican National Committee as a paid contributor. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski followed on Morning Joe. And it hasn't stopped there:

  • Maddow: Rachel Maddow called the hiring "inexplicable" on her MSNBC show and called for the network to reverse the decision, reports Deadline. Like the others, Maddow faulted McDaniel for supporting Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
  • Out soon? The Los Angeles Times reports that the blowback is so severe within the network that "McDaniel will probably be out before she even begins." The story cites unnamed insiders. Her $300,000 salary from NBC isn't helping her cause, notes Politico.
  • A defender: Amid all the criticism, former Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended the hiring. "This has nothing to do with Ronna McDaniel's behavior during Jan. 6 or the 2020 election," Mulvaney said on NewsNation, per the Hill. "NBC just cannot stand having somebody from the right on their sacred airwaves. If it wasn't so sad, it would be hysterically funny."

  • A pipeline: Axios notes the controversy illustrates the "politics-to-pundits pipeline" so prevalent today. A big example is George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's This Week, who served in Bill Clinton's White House, but other examples include everyone from Jen Psaki to Kayleigh McEnany to Nicolle Wallace. Still, critics say McDaniel's example is different. "At the heart of the McDaniels-NBC controversy is the question of credibility, and whether partisans with a record of spinning—or outright lying—should be trusted as commentators," per the story.
  • Dan Rather: The former CBS News anchor voiced his criticism of the hiring in a Substack essay. "One wonders what the hell executives at the network were thinking," he writes, accusing McDaniel of being "lockstep with the lies" of Trump. "Allowing McDaniel to be in the same area code as NBC News is a huge mistake and will only further shred the small amount of trust Americans still have in the mainstream media," he writes.
  • Todd elaborates: The NBC anchor tweeted more criticism on Monday. "The issue isn't about ideology, it's about basic truth," he wrote. "Those trying to make this a left-right issue are being intentionally dishonest. This is about whether honest journalists are supposed to lend their credibility to someone who intentionally tried to ruin ours."
(More Ronna McDaniel stories.)

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