NBC News’ Hiring of Ronna McDaniel Draws More Backlash From MSNBC/NBC Vets — ‘Inexplicable,’ Says Rachel Maddow

Ronna McDaniel may want to reconsider attending the NBC News division’s next happy hour gathering, seeing as more and more NBC News and MSNBC vets are publicly criticizing their bosses’ hiring of the former Republican National Committee chair as an on-air contributor.

Meet the Press moderator Kristen Welker and political analyst Chuck Todd both questioned McDaniel’s hiring during Sunday’s program, and Morning Joe co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Monday invited NBC News to “reconsider” their staffing decision.

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Update: On Monday evening, Rachel Maddow on her eponymous program chimed in with a segment in which she recounted four men who in America’s past attempted to establish to demolish democracy and enjoy authoritarian power, yet never had the might of an institution such as the Republican party behind them — as former President Donald Trump does. She then noted McDaniel’s role in perpetuating Trump’s election-denying agenda, and said it is “inexplicable” that NBC News decided to put on its payroll this enemy of democracy, “and I hope they will reverse the decision.”

“It’s not about lying or not lying,” Maddow said. “It’s about our system of government and undermining elections and going after democracy as an ongoing project.”

After confirming that she and colleagues have been assured that McDaniel will never appear on MSNBC, Maddow invited NBC News decision-makers to “take a minute. Acknowledge that maybe it wasn’t the right call. It is the sign of strength, not weakness, to acknowledge when you are wrong. It is a sign of strength. And our country needs us to be strong right now.”

Some 48 hours after the news of McDaniel’s hiring leaked — NBC News still has yet to issue a press release — the ex-RNC chair made her debut on Sunday’s Meet the Press. Welker was compelled to note that “this interview was scheduled weeks before it was announced that McDaniel had become a paid NBC News contributor.”

Welker then stressed, “This will be a news interview, and I was not involved in [McDaniel’s] hiring.”

McDaniel in said interview stuck to many of her past talking points as RNC chair, though she somewhat notably withdrew her support for former President Donald Trump’s avowal to “free those charged and convicted of crimes related to [the] Jan. 6 [insurrection],” if re-elected in November.

Asked by Welker about about that pivot, McDaniel shrugged, “When you’re the RNC chair, you kind of take one for the whole team.” Whereas, “Right now, I get to be a little bit more myself.”

Following McDaniel’s Meet the Press appearance, chief political analyst/former moderator Todd said, “There’s a reason why there are a lot of journalists at NBC News uncomfortable with this [hiring].” Todd then said to Welker, “I think our bosses owe you an apology for putting you in this situation. Because I don’t know what to believe. [McDaniel] is now a paid contributor by NBC News, so I have no idea whether any answer she gave to you was because she didn’t want to mess up her contract.”

On Monday, Morning Joe‘s Scarborough told viewers that he and peers had been “inundated with calls” about NBC News’ decision to hire McDaniel. “We weren’t asked our opinion” by network brass, “but if we were, we would have strongly objected to it,” he said, citing McDaniel’s role in Trump’s “fake electorate scheme” and his “pressuring election officials to not certify election results” in 2020.

As Brzezinski then put it, “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.”

Brzezinski added, “It goes without saying [McDaniel] will not be a guest on Morning Joe in her capacity as a paid contributor.”

TVLine has reached out to NBC News for comment on the McDaniel backlash as expressed by the news division’s own on-air personalities.

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