NBC comes under fire from right for McDaniel ouster

NBC is facing heavy criticism from the right for terminating a deal to add former Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel as a contributor.

McDaniel’s abrupt exit followed vocal protests from some of the network’s most prominent on-air hosts, who took issue with her past rhetoric on the 2020 election and the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Former President Trump, who has had his own up-and-down relationship with McDaniel, was among the Republicans criticizing NBC.

“Wow! Ronna McDaniel got fired by Fake News NBC. She only lasted two days, and this after McDaniel went out of her way to say what they wanted to hear,” Trump wrote Tuesday on his Truth Social website.

“The sick degenerates over at MSDNC are really running NBC, and there seems nothing Chairman Brian Roberts can do about it,” the former president wrote in another post attacking Comcast, the network’s parent company.

Conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt, who moderated a GOP primary debate hosted by NBC News last fall, said he had “never seen anything this brutal since I got started in media in 1990.”

“I think they made a terrible decision, and they allowed the MSNBC bleed to take over their network,” he said, referring to the sister cable channel of NBC, which leans left.

“It’s going to hurt. The 74 million people who voted for Donald Trump are not going to watch NBC News,” he said.

Kayleigh McEnany, a Fox host who worked for McDaniel for two years before serving as Trump’s White House press secretary, blasted MSNBC hosts for “taking a victory lap for silencing a conservative.”

“They do have some Republicans at NBC,” McEnany noted in reference to pundits such as former RNC Chair Michael Steele and Marc Short, former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence. “But Ronna came as close as you could to any voice on the network that supported the current nominee of the party who represents half the country.”

In a note to staff announcing the decision to terminate its agreement with McDaniel, NBCUniversal News Group Chair Cesar Conde wrote her hiring was initially “made because of our deep commitment to presenting our audiences with a widely diverse set of viewpoints and experiences, particularly during these consequential times.”

Conservative critics see NBC’s reversal as a direct contradiction of that pledge and a stifling of viewpoints sympathetic to Trump and that of his supporters more generally.

“No one’s allowed to represent the voice [of Trump] on NBC,” exclaimed the popular Fox News host Jesse Watters hours after news first broke about McDaniel’s possible ouster. “And now we’re hearing the inmates are running the asylum. That just tells me NBC is not a business, it’s a political operation.”

On cable news channel NewsNation, pundit Geraldo Rivera called the outcry from MSNBC talent that ultimately led to McDaniel’s ouster a “tsunami of pretentious bullshit.”

Rachel Maddow, one of the longest-serving and most prominent hosts on MSNBC who a night earlier had called for the former RNC head’s firing, said her opposition to McDaniel joining the Peacock family was not about politics.

“It’s not even about hiring somebody who has Trump ties. This was a very specific case because of Miss McDaniel’s involvement in the election interference stuff,” Maddow said late Tuesday after McDaniel had been ousted. “And I’m grateful our leadership was able to do the bold, strong, resilient thing.”

While much of the criticism of the McDaniel hire came from progressive pundits on MSNBC, the decision to oust her may have negative consequences for journalists working behind the scenes at NBC.

The online media outlet Semafor reported late Tuesday that several reporters at NBC were fielding complaints about the McDaniel saga from Republican sources, some saying the decision confirmed what they see as the network’s bias against conservatives.

“Those are the ones who I feel the worst for, because they’re getting screwed over by their left-wing activist bosses,” one national Republican strategist told The Hill on Wednesday. “They know as much as anyone this makes the entire company look in the tank for Democrats.”

NBC did not return a request for comment, but Conde, in his note to staff, reiterated the company will continue to work to broaden the range of viewpoints it is putting on the air.

“We continue to be committed to the principle that we must have diverse viewpoints on our programs, and to that end, we will redouble our efforts to seek voices that represent different parts of the political spectrum,” he said.

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