Column: Hyperbolic MSNBC’s Ronna McDaniel Debacle

The word broke on March 26 that NBC News was reversing its decision to hire former Republican Party chair Ronna McDaniel as a political commentator. MSNBC hosts across the schedule broke out into frenzied denunciations of whichever executive who thought that McDaniel should be paid to speak anywhere on this hypnotically/robotically anti-Trump network.

In one of her typical half-hour jeremiads, Rachel Maddow compared McDaniel to a mobster and a pickpocket. “You wouldn’t — you wouldn’t hire a wiseguy, 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. And so I find the decision to put her on the payroll inexplicable. And I hope they will reverse their decision.”

There was no need for NBC News to hire McDaniel. One can look at the election results during her tenure at the RNC and question her expertise at winning elections. But this mobster talk underlines once again that MSNBC is not a “news” channel. It’s a hyperbole channel, constantly fearmongering its audience that the end times are near for democracy.

Maddow claimed this hiring wasn’t about Republicans vs. Democrats. It’s about “bad actors trying to use the rights and privileges of democracy to end democracy.” There are no “fact checkers” who will get in the way of this talk. Maddow is like Bluto in Animal House saying “when the Germans invaded Pearl Harbor.” Facts don’t matter. Rallying your audience is all that matters.

This was the essence of Maddow’s rant: “I want to associate myself with all my colleagues both at MSNBC and at 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, it doesn’t really work. That this last election, it wasn’t a real result. That American elections are fraudulent.”

Every conservative who’s ever watched Maddow lowlights knows that she was a leader in the Collusion Corps, someone who obsessed night after night over how the 2016 election was fraudulent because the Russians interfered with it. MSNBC doesn’t suggest that every election is fraudulent. It’s only when Democrats lose that they imply (for years) that it was fraudulent.

Since Hillary Clinton lost the election in 2016 and ran around telling people it was stolen from her, Maddow has hosted a series of fawnathons with her. They discussed why Vladimir Putin decided to back Trump in 2016. In 2018, Hillary even suggested the Russians may have used the National Rifle Association to funnel money into the election.

Maddow concluded by lobbying the executives who allow her on air: “Acknowledge that maybe it wasn’t the right call. It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to acknowledge when you are wrong. It is a sign of strength. And our country needs us to be strong right now.”

That may be the funniest line of all. Maddow is notorious for refusing to concede she’s wrong, especially about Trump. In 2019, Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple constructed a devastating timeline of all of Maddow’s promotions of the baseless dungpile called the Steele Dossier. He noted Maddow called it “creepy” and “unwarranted” when journalist Michael Isikoff said she’d “given a lot of credence” to the dossier on his podcast. 

Why couldn’t she acknowledge she was wrong? Instead, “Maddow declined to provide an on-the-record response to the Erik Wemple Blog.”

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