Why MSNBC doesn’t want Ronna McDaniel–or Donald Trump–on its airwaves


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To say that Ronna McDaniel has gotten a frosty reception as a new NBC contributor would be a grand understatement.

The former chairwoman of the RNC has had the door slammed in her face, with planks nailed to keep it tightly sealed, then slathered in cement.

It is a staff revolt of the kind that once played out in whispers and leaks, but now takes the form of on-air denunciations.

McDaniel, of course, has been a close Donald Trump ally, and that makes her radioactive for the liberal nation-state of MSNBC.

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That became acutely clear when the Wall Street Journal reported that Rashida Jones, the MSNBC president, told her staff that McDaniel would not be appearing on the cable network. It was simply unacceptable.

Just yesterday, Joe Scarborough said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”:

We weren’t asked our opinion of the hiring, but if we were, we would have strongly objected to it for several reasons including, but not limited to, as lawyers might say, Miss McDaniel’s role in Donald Trump’s fake elector scheme and her pressuring election officials to not certify election results while Donald Trump was on the phone.

His wife and co-host, Mika Brzezinski, added: “To be clear, we believe NBC News should seek out conservative Republican voices to provide balance in their election coverage. But it should be conservative Republicans, not a person who used her position of power to be an anti-democracy election denier. And we hope NBC will reconsider its decision. It goes without saying that she will not be a guest on ‘Morning Joe’ in her capacity as a paid contributor.”

Joe Scarborough GettyImages 187831820

The moment that went viral was on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” where McDaniel had been booked before she was hired as a contributor. NBC is reported to be paying her about $300,000.

McDaniel, who was finally pushed out of the RNC when Trump soured on her, said there had been problems with the 2020 elections but did not deny that Joe Biden was legitimately elected. In the past she referred to MSNBC journalists as “primetime propagandists.”

Chuck Todd, the program’s former moderator and now chief political analyst, was brought on as a guest, and told his successor, Kristen Welker, that “our bosses owe you an apology for putting you in this situation…

“Look, there’s a reason why there’s a lot of journalists at NBC News uncomfortable with this because many of our professional dealings with the RNC over the six years have been met with gaslighting, have been met with character assassination…She has credibility issues that she still has to deal with.”

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Now you might reasonably ask: Why can’t NBC executives just tell their cable unit to stop airing its dirty laundry in public?

MSNBC has always enjoyed plenty of autonomy, and, like most news outlets, it plays to its audience. And its left-leaning viewers basically don’t want to hear from pro-Trump voices.

Now it’s true that MSNBC employs a number of Republicans and former Republicans: Scarborough, Nicolle Wallace and Michael Steele among them. But with perhaps a couple of exceptions, they’re anti-Trump Republicans. NBC may have blindsided its cable outlet by hiring McDaniel, but the audience is on the side of MSNBC.

The flip side of the argument is this: What exactly is MSNBC accomplishing by shielding those who tune in from a dissenting opinion or two? Given the stance of nearly everyone on the channel that Trump is a danger to democracy who must be stopped, wouldn’t someone like McDaniel be all but drowned out?

Ronna McDaniel and Chuck Todd

Ronna McDaniel and Chuck Todd. (Getty Images)

Certainly no one bats an eyelash when such former top Biden aides as Jen Psaki and Symone Sanders-Townsend are given MSNBC shows and largely defend the president for whom they had just worked. (I’m not comparing their records to what McDaniel did in 2020, but the revolving door is well established at all the networks, including CNN and FOX)

MSNBC’s approach to the former president was on display on the night of the Iowa caucuses, when uber-liberal host Rachel Maddow refused to air Trump’s victory speech, proclaiming that “there is a cost to us as a news organization of knowingly broadcasting untrue things.”

When Trump won New Hampshire a week later, it seemed clear that Maddow had been overruled by NBC in the wake of fierce criticism. She did air Trump’s victory speech – saying “this is a decision that is one that we consider to be an open-ended, live decision” – but later cut away (as did CNN) to start fact-checking him.

The two important legal decisions involving Trump yesterday underscore the point.

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On the deadline day when the ex-president was in danger of having his assets seized by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a federal appeals court unexpectedly reduced the draconian bond demand of nearly half a billion dollars to $175 million, giving him 10 days to pay it.

And on the hush money charges brought by Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, which Trump was trying to delay or get tossed, the judge set a trial date of April 15.

Former president Donald Trump departs The Trump Building, located at 40 Wall Street, in Manhattan

Former President Donald Trump waves as he departs The Trump Building, located at 40 Wall Street, in Manhattan, New York on Monday, March 25, 2024. Earlier today, a New York Appeals Court slashed Trump’s bond by more than half in his case regarding alleged falsifying of business records, giving him 10 days to pay $175 million. (Adam Gray for Fox News Digital)

MSNBC, which like the other networks had camped out at the Manhattan hearing that Trump was attending, was covering it virtually nonstop. Anything that Trump said would be news.

But when Trump began to speak for about two minutes, talking about election interference, Andrea Mitchell (or whoever made the decision) immediately cut away, with the host saying his claim of election meddling was not true. That rebuttal couldn’t have waited a couple of minutes?

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Later, when Trump held a news conference at 40 Wall Street – one of his iconic properties that James could have seized without the appeals court ruling – MSNBC did air it, but soon broke away again and went back to its legal commentators.

I always argue that if you’re going to cover Trump around the clock, let him have his say and you can resume ripping him for the next 23-½ hours. In this environment, it’s little wonder that MSNBC is refusing to put Ronna McDaniel on the air and jeopardizing her newly minted contract.



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