NBC Continues Dissent Over Ronna’s Deal as Details Emerge

The dissent of numerous NBC journalists over the hiring of former RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is continuing today, as details of the deal with NBC executives are appearing.

Former Meet The Press host Chuck Todd started voicing what seemed to be a unanimous position among a MTP panel on Sunday.

“There’s a reason why there’s a lot of journalists at NBC News uncomfortable with this,” Todd told Welker, citing prior “gaslighting” and “character assassination” from McDaniel’s RNC.

The on-air protest continued Monday morning with Joe and Mika stating they would have objected to the hire if they had known about it, and added,  “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.”

Network insiders are said to be watching for the MSNBC nighttime line-up to unleash as well.

Whether the NBC-McDaniel deal can withstand the uproar remains to be seen.

NBC executives wooed McDaniel to land a Republican presidential debate, a high priority at the network, after CNN landed a Trump town hall.

Through that process McDaniel built a good rapport with NBC News executives Carrie Budoff Brown, senior vice president of politics, and Rebecca Blumenstein, president of editorial. They secured a deal, at a price: McDaniel insisted MSNBC could not simulcast the debate.

After announcing she was leaving the RNC, McDaniel was job-shopping.

There were serious discussions with CNN and ABC — but NBC always had the inside track. “Ronna had a good experience with Carrie and Rebecca and felt more comfortable than with some of the other networks,” a person close to McDaniel said.

The McDaniel deal was unanimously supported by leaders of all their networks, according to an NBC insider, including by Rashida Jones, president of MSNBC.

Interviews with executives, hosts, correspondents, and producers reveal a breakdown in trust and communication among NBC divisions.

One example is the message sent by hiring McDaniel on a nearly $300,000-a-year contract amid a growing sense inside the Washington bureau that Comcast sees its news division, which has been subject to recent layoffs and other cuts, as a divisive nuisance to be stripped down.

“Across MSNBC they have been cutting contributors,” said one of the network’s hosts. “So everyone’s like, what the fuck? You found 300 for her?”
“No hosts or correspondents were given any kind of heads up on this,” said one person familiar with the situation. “People are pissed. It is a deeply unpopular move.”

Several NBC political reporters said they would have told their bosses that McDaniel was not the prize they thought she was:

McDaniel’s has no juice with the anti-Trump wing of the party. (A niece of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), she removed “Romney” from her name, while Nikki Haley voters think she put her thumb on the scales for Trump during the primaries.) McDaniel is not especially close to GOP leaders in Congress. And if the point is to give NBC viewers more insight into Trump world, then why turn to the person whom Trump just ousted from the RNC?

NBC sources cited a host of factors that contributed to the breakdown that led to McDaniel’s hiring: New York executives disrespecting Washington journalists; newer NBC executives with a print background — Budoff Brown (formerly of Politico) and Blumenstein (formerly of the NYT) — disrespecting TV talent; and NBC News disrespecting MSNBC.

Chuck Todd spent a decade in the MTP chair and was attacked by both the left and the right, but seemed to galvanize the collective opinion at the network on Sunday.

“The fact that he took it upon himself to not only say this, but, frankly, to defend the woman who took his job, is pretty remarkable,” said a colleague. “He got a lot of attaboys from NBC News and MSNBC, including from people who are not prone to give him much credit.”


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