Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Ronna Romney McDaniel's NBC Gig Just Isn't Going to Work Out

Yesterday, we had an item about NBC's hiring of former RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel. And in that item, we noted how the hire could theoretically be a home run, if she speaks truth from her ultra-insider-Republican perspective, sort of like her fellow former RNC Chair Michael Steele does. We also pointed out how it could be a strikeout, if she continues to act as a GOP propagandist, like her fellow former RNC Chair Reince Priebus does.

With another day's worth of developments, and another day of reflection, we're having a very hard time seeing how this could plausibly be workable, long-term. We say this for three reasons:

  1. Zero Credibility: Let us recall that McDaniel is not your garden-variety partisan propagandist; she's a person who gave aid and comfort to an attempt to overthrow democracy. Indeed, she may still face charges due to her efforts to interfere with Michigan electoral votes. She also described 1/6 as "legitimate political discourse," said the people who had been imprisoned should be freed, and questioned the legitimacy of Joe Biden's election. Then, during her appearance on Meet the Press this weekend, McDaniel announced that, in fact, "violence should not be a part of our discourse," that the 1/6 convicts should stay in prison, and that Joe Biden won the 2020 election "fair and square." She really should have been wearing a neck brace if she was going to make such an aggressive 180-degree turn.

    In any event, what this confirms is that McDaniel is a baldfaced liar. Maybe she believed she was full of it when she embraced the "stop the steal" stuff, but she said what she did in order to keep the job she had then. Or, maybe she believes she's full of it now, but she said what she did in order to keep the job she has now. How can anyone be sure which version is the truth? And that applies to anything that comes out of her mouth; she's fundamentally an unreliable narrator.

  2. Colleague Blowback: As we noted, McDaniel's would-be colleagues are furious about the hire. That criticism did not abate yesterday, with additional prominent NBC News/MSNBC personalities joining in, most obviously Rachel Maddow. In fact, Rashida Jones (not the actress), who runs MSNBC, has announced that McDaniel will not be welcome on that channel. That means that the former chair is limited to, what—NBC Evening News, Meet the Press and... Dateline NBC? Maybe McDaniel can play a corpse in the next Dateline "real crime" episode about the murder of a suburban white woman. Which, let's be honest, is every Dateline episode.

  3. No Benefit: The official reason for hiring McDaniel is to give "balance" to NBC's coverage. The real reason is to try to attract viewers who are not currently watching NBC's news programming. But, as several folks pointed out in commentaries yesterday, who exactly is McDaniel going to attract? MAGA World, a.k.a. the current Republican Party, loathes her because they blame her for all the electoral losses, particularly the 2020 presidential election. Her new "insights" about 1/6 are not going to help on that front. Meanwhile, Democrats loathe her because she's the GOP equivalent to "Baghdad Bob." So, who is going to make a point of tuning in to hear what McDaniel has to say? On the other hand, there's already some segment of the viewership that says they are going to go elsewhere for their news.

Given these problems, one might rightly ask: "Why did NBC hire McDaniel in the first place?" It is certainly possible that the NBC pooh-bahs did not appreciate the extent of the disdain that the viewership and the NBC news staff both have for McDaniel. However, there is also an alternate explanation that is floating around, primarily among members of the business press. NBC is owned by Comcast, and Comcast wants to merge with Verizon. So, McDaniel's hiring may be about greasing the political skids for that, rather than for her "journalistic contributions."

In any event, don't be terribly surprised if, despite her $300,000 contract, we don't hear much from McDaniel, or if the announcement is made that she and the network have decided, after consideration, to part ways. (Z)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates