Media

That Was Quick. NBC News Dumps Michigan's Ronna McDaniel.

March 26, 2024, 6:56 PM by  Allan Lengel

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Ronna McDaniel on "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Less than a week after announcing that it had hired ex-Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel as an on-air commentator, NBC News said Tuesday that it was letting her go.

The decision came after NBC on-air personalities including Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow, protested the hiring of McDaniel, a Northville resident, who supported Donald Trump, no matter whether he was being truthful or not.

“There is no doubt that the last several days have been difficult for the News Group. After listening to the legitimate concerns of many of you, I have decided that Ronna McDaniel will not be an NBC News contributor,” Cesar Conde, NBCUniversal Group chairman, said in an email to staff Tuesday, according to NBC News.

“I want to personally apologize to our team members who felt we let them down. While this was a collective recommendation by some members of our leadership team, I approved it and take full responsibility for it,” Conde wrote.

On Monday night, Maddow said on her show: 

“I find the decision to put her on the payroll inexplicable, and I hope they will reconsider that decision."

McDaniel, 51, made her NBC debut on Sunday on "Meet the Press" after Trump forced her out as RNC chair earlier in the month. For the first time, she publicly said she opposed Trump's plan to free anyone convicted in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

"If you attacked our Capitol and you have been convicted, then that should stay," she told Meet the Press host Kristen Welker. "I do not feel that people who committed violent acts on Jan. 6 should be free."

When Welker asked why she waited so long to speak out, McDaniel said:

"When you're the RNC chair you kind of take one for the whole team, right? Now I get to be a litlte bit more myself, right? This is what i believe. I don't believe violence should be in our political discourse, Republican or Democrat."

After her appearance, during a discussion on the show with a roundtable of journalists, NBC's chief political analyst and former host of the show, Chuck Todd, ripped into NBC for putting Welker in an uncomfortable situation.

"Let me deal with the elephant in the room," Todd said. "I think our bosses owe you an apology for putting you in this situation. Because I don't know what to believe. She is now a paid contributor by NBC News. I have no idea whether any answers she gave to you was because she didn't want to mess up her contract. She wants us to believe she was speaking to the RNC when the RNC was paying...So she has credibility issues that she still has to deal with."

"Is she speaking for herself or is she speaking on behalf of who's paying her?

"I think your interview did a good job of exposing, I think, many of the contradictions," Todd said to Welker. "And look, there's a reason a lot of journalists at NBC News are uncomfortable with this because many of our professional dealings with the RNC over the past six years have been met with gaslighting, have been met with character assassination."

"You got put into an impossible situation," he said to Welker. "Booking this interview and then all sudden the rug's pulled out from under you. You find out she's being paid to show up. That's unfortunate for this program, but I'm glad you did the best you could."

Another panelist, Boston Globe opinion writer Kimberly Atkins Stohr agreed with Todd, saying of McDaniel: "Her credibility is completely shot."

"I know she habitually lied. She habitually joined Trump in attacking the press, including this network in a way that put journalists at risk, in danger."

"We knew that she did participate in efforts to keep votes in Detroit, from my hometown; so I take this both journalistically serious and personal; to keep the votes from mostly Black voters in Detroit from being counted that night."

Another panelist, Stephen Hayes, co-founder of the conservative publication, The Dispatch, said it was a good thing for NBC to have different political viewpoints.

But he agreed McDaniel has "huge credibilty problems, not because she's been a partisan spinner on behalf of the Republican party, but because she not only presided, but directed, drove, the QAnonization of the Republican Party during her tenure."

On Tuesday, Trump weighed in on the firing.



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