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Unionized Workers at NBC Decry Hiring of Trump Lackey and Former RNC Chair

“Our journalism is tarnished” by McDaniel’s hiring, NBC News Guild said in a social media post.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks to members of the media in the spin room following the NBC News Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County on November 8, 2023, in Miami, Florida.

Following NBC News’s over-the-weekend announcement that it had hired former Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Ronna McDaniel, the union for the network’s digital workers blasted the decision, noting that it came after the slapdash — and potentially illegal — termination of 13 journalists earlier this month.

McDaniel’s hiring as a paid pundit for the network came two weeks after she resigned from the RNC, following immense pressure from the MAGA wing of the party to do so.

NBC News Guild, which represents workers for NBC’s digital brands, responded to the hiring by highlighting how the company had mistreated its dedicated workers prior to McDaniel joining the network.

“Two weeks before @NBCNews proudly announced the hiring of Ronna McDaniel, execs illegally terminated 13 union journalists,” the union posted on X on Monday afternoon.

The NBC News Guild also pointed out that McDaniel had spent much of her time with the RNC promulgating former President Donald Trump’s lies about the legitimacy of the 2020 election — a slap in the face to many of the union’s members, including those who were fired.

“Ronna encouraged a lie that many of our own journalists have spent countless hours debunking,” NBC News Guild added in a subsequent post. “Our journalism is tarnished by @NBCNews execs elevating a liar over the workers who have spent years delivering the kind of reporting that our newsrooms are typically known for.”

Several on-air personalities at MSNBC and NBC News also denounced the network’s choice to hire McDaniel, citing the former RNC chair’s devotion to Trump’s efforts to sow doubt in the democratic process and the 2020 election specifically.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” program on Sunday (in a segment that immediately followed an appearance by McDaniel), former host of the program and current chief political analyst for NBC News Chuck Todd gave his opinion on the matter.

“There’s a reason why there are a lot of journalists at NBC News uncomfortable with this,” Todd explained, “because many of our professional dealings with the RNC over the last six years have been met with gaslighting, have been met with character assassination.”

On MSNBC Monday morning, “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough stated that he and his colleagues “weren’t asked our opinion of the hiring, but if we were, we would have strongly objected to it for several reasons.”

Co-host Mika Brzezinski, who is married to Scarborough, added her two cents on the issue, saying on the program:

We believe 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.

Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who has a program that airs weekday evenings on the network, also expressed her disapproval of McDaniel.

“Our democracy is in danger because of the lies that people like Ronna McDaniel have pushed on this country,” Psaki said.

MSNBC’s most popular pundit, Rachel Maddow, dedicated the first half of her program on Monday to McDaniel, discussing at the start a number of historical figures of little significance who have sought to become authoritarian leaders in the U.S.

Trump is different from those individuals, Maddow said, largely because those figures were part of fringe third-party bids for the presidency, whereas Trump has utilized “one of our two major political parties” to support his efforts to become an autocrat.

“The person who was the head of the Republican Party during Donald Trump’s time in office and during his effort to throw out the election result and stay in power anyway, and during his effort to run for election again after having done that is Ronna McDaniel,” Maddow said. “She pitched in and helped.”

Maddow cited numerous examples of McDaniel’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election — including her encouraging leaders in Michigan not to certify that President Joe Biden had legitimately won that state.

Maddow said she stood by her co-workers’ criticisms of NBC News hiring McDaniel:

I want to associate myself with all of my colleagues, both at MSNBC and NBC News, who have voiced loud and principled objections to our company putting on the payroll someone who hasn’t just attacked us as journalists, but someone who is part of an ongoing project to get rid of our system of government. Someone who still is trying to convince Americans that this election stuff doesn’t really work, that American elections are fraudulent.

“I find the decision to put her on the payroll inexplicable,” Maddow added, “and I hope they will reverse their decision.”

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