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The closing of the media mind

Outrage at NBC News over the hiring of Ronna McDaniel shows the media’s progressive bubble

Ronna McDaniel speaks before a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by NBC News on Nov. 8, 2023, in Miami. Associated Press/Photo by Rebecca Blackwell

The closing of the media mind
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The record shows that 74,223,975 Americans voted for Donald J. Trump on Nov. 3, 2020. Since his loss and the aftermath of Jan. 6, 2021, the media has not just been hostile to Donald Trump, but also to anyone within a few degrees of separation from him. This came to a head on NBC News’s Meet the Press on Sunday when former host, Chuck Todd, lashed out at his network for hiring Ronna McDaniel, the recently departed chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.

Todd, fuming that McDaniel is now a paid contributor to NBC, told current Meet the Press host Kristen Welker, “I have no idea whether any answer she gave to you was because she didn’t want to mess up her contract. She wants us to believe that she was speaking for the RNC when the RNC was paying for it. 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? Once at the RNC, she did say that. Hey, I’m speaking for the party. I get that that’s part of the job. So, what about here?”

After Todd’s outburst, Michael Grynbaum at The New York Times reported, “Some journalists at NBC were taken aback by the decision to hire Ms. McDaniel, citing her tenure at the R.N.C. under President Donald J. Trump, when she regularly echoed Mr. Trump’s criticisms of the news media and, in particular, the left-leaning programs on MSNBC.”

MSNBC’s president announced McDaniel will not appear on that network, with Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough saying, “We weren’t asked our opinion of the hiring but, if we were, we would have strongly objected to it for several reasons.”

Ryan Lizza at Politico reports that McDaniel had substantive talks with both CNN and ABC. Given McDaniel’s relationship with executives from NBC over the NBC presidential primary debate, that network had the inside track. The network’s reporters and anchors, it should be noted, were fine working with McDaniel on a debate and the access and eyeballs it gives. But they have no use for McDaniel now.

Naturally, the excuses are that McDaniel denied the 2020 election was legitimate, aided and abetted Trump, engaged in gaslighting and brutish behavior of the media, etc. But consider Sarah Isgur. CNN hired Isgur, a former Justice Department spokeswoman, to be an editor. After internal outrage, CNN instead made her a political contributor before Isgur went to ABC News as a political contributor. That network’s staff also had temper tantrums because Isgur worked in the Trump administration. She is one of the fairest voices on television.

The liberal media only wants their own views reflected—those representing the 74 million Americans who supported Trump are anathema.

CNN’s talent had no objections to Obama administration employee Jim Scuitto taking on a reporting role. They had no objection to Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett’s daughter getting an anchor job at CNN. But hiring Isgur was a bridge too far, particularly in an editorial role.

The American media increasingly reflects William F. Buckley Jr.’s famous quote that “liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” The liberal media only wants their own views reflected—those representing the 74 million Americans who supported Trump are anathema. That behavior is then used by Trump and his supporters to even more effectively discredit the press.

More specifically to Chuck Todd’s criticisms, Ronna McDaniel served as the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. Her role was expressly to take the party line, not her own line. Like so many commentators before her, including NBC’s own Jenn Psaki, Joe Biden’s former White House press secretary, and Michael Steele, one of Ronna McDaniel’s predecessors as RNC chair, McDaniel is now paid to offer her own opinions.

When CNN hired me in 2009, major leftwing agitators demanded the company fire me before I even started. The network instead made me sit for interviews that asked tough questions about those things the left insisted were disqualifying. The network stuck with me despite the rage, much of which was also internal to the network. Increasingly, however, the news networks of America are giving hecklers vetoes to the left. More troubling, the hecklers are increasingly in-house at the networks. The views they vehemently disagree with are not confronted and probed, but dismissed and shunned.

NBC has a great opportunity to probe McDaniel’s former statements as RNC chair, ask her what her actual position is now that she is not party chair, and move on with that recalibration. Attacking her hiring just reinforces to over 70 million Americans that the news media is in a progressive bubble where views and commentary are curated to appease the left at the expense of truth, honesty, and a fair representation of the other side.

Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson is a lawyer by training, has been a political campaign manager and consultant, helped start one of the premiere grassroots conservative websites in the world, served as a political contributor for CNN and Fox News, and hosts the Erick Erickson Show broadcast nationwide.

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