Ronna McDaniel’s NBC Exit Opens Entirely Avoidable Can of Worms

Star talent at NBC openly rebelled against the network for hiring the controversial former RNC chair who previously backed 2020 election conspiracy theories. The network has since parted ways with McDaniel, but the damage is done.

Ronna McDaniel’s NBC Exit Opens Entirely Avoidable Can of Worms

On Tuesday, NBC confirmed that it’s officially parted ways with its most recent hire, former RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, who was slated to be a contributor and earn a $300,000 annual salary as the company fields layoffs and cuts. The decision to pull the plug on McDaniel, who’s previously pushed 2020 election denialism and contributed to sowing distrust of American journalism, came after significant backlash—from both the public, and top NBC and MSNBC talent including Chuck Todd, Joe Scarborough, and, on Monday night, Rachel Maddow.

“I want to personally apologize to our team members who felt we let them down,” NBC chairman Cesar Conde said in an email to staff on Tuesday. “While this was a collective recommendation by some members of our leadership team, I approved it and take full responsibility for it.” On-air talent seems to have accepted Conde’s apology. But in many ways, the damage is already done, and an entirely avoidable can of worms has been opened: McDaniel has reportedly met with lawyers to weigh her full legal options and is reportedly demanding full pay-out of her contract, which sits at $600,000. And the right, including former President Donald Trump, is already whipping up a storm over “cancel culture” and censorship from the ostensibly left-wing press.

In a Tuesday evening post to Truth Social, Trump—who famously disdains McDaniel despite her continued support for him—managed to both mock her and attack NBC: “Ronna McDaniel got fired by Fake News NBC. She only lasted two days, and this after McDaniel went out of her way to say what they wanted to hear. It leaves her in a very strange place, it’s called NEVER NEVERLAND, and it’s not a place you want to be,” his post begins. He continues, referring to NBC, “These Radical Left Lunatics are CRAZY, and the top people at NBC ARE WEAK. They were BROKEN and EMBARRASSED by LOW RATINGS, HIGHLY OVERPAID, ‘TALENT.’ BRING BACK FREE AND FAIR PRESS.”

It’s obviously not just Trump: Conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt told Fox News of McDaniel’s termination: “I have never seen anything this brutal since I got started in media in 1990. Ronna is going to sue everyone who defamed her, for breach of contract, for intentional infliction of mental distress. They are going to sue for the destruction of her business opportunities that come from being on TV,” he said. “I think they made a terrible decision, and they allowed the MSNBC bleed to take over their network.” For whatever reason, former CNN star-turned-News Nation host Chris Cuomo chimed in and accused NBC of “malignant wokeism.”

Then, of course, even as the network reversed its objectively awful decision, it clearly sowed distrust and hurt relationships with star talent in the process, given the nature of McDaniel’s hiring: Insiders and stars like Scarborough insisted that NBC executives didn’t consult anyone, including employees like Todd who have been forced to use personal security at different points thanks to dangerous, vitriolic rhetoric pushed by McDaniel’s RNC.

NBC and MSNBC analysts and journalists certainly made their disdain known over the weekend and earlier this week: “We weren’t asked our opinion of the hiring but, if we were, we would have strongly objected to it for several reasons,” Scarborough said on his show on Monday. On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Todd sharply criticized McDaniel’s credibility: “I don’t know what to believe. She is now a paid contributor by NBC News. … 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?” Even though they’ve axed her, NBC executives still have to contend with the fact that they hired someone this lacking in “credibility,” as Todd put it, in the first place.

Maddow delivered the kill shot in her monologue on Tuesday night: “The fact that Ms. McDaniel is on the payroll at NBC News, to me that is inexplicable,” she said, calling McDaniel “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.” She concluded, “You wouldn’t hire a made man like a mobster to work at a DA’s office, right? You wouldn’t hire a pickpocket to work as a TSA screener.”

Welp, now here we are: NBC seems poised to face a burdensome lawsuit from McDaniel, its on-air talent is still railing from the betrayal, the right has new ammo to attack NBC as a radical-left perpetrator of cancel culture, and liberal audiences are probably still miffed that McDaniel was ever hired. And to think, all of this could have been avoided by not hiring this fascist in the first place!

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin