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Media's Lack Of Tolerance

NBC's Ronna McDaniel firing is a dark day for the press.

Photo by Matt Botsford / Unsplash

We have never been fans of Ronna McDaniel. However, we are repelled by how NBC terminated a contract with her that had been in vogue for only four days.

As the Chairperson of the Republican National Committee for seven long years (2017-2024), McDaniel oversaw a diminishing GOP. Never fully embracing the America First movement, she tried to coddle all wings of the party and failed. A leader doesn't coddle. Leaders set the course by following a defined vision and motivating everyone to follow. Unwilling to cede power, McDaniel was forced out after President Trump won one primary victory over another and quickly claimed the GOP nomination for the third time.

We were amused that NBC News entered into a $300,000 contract with McDaniel to appear as a contributor at its outlets, including ultra-left-wing MSNBC. The Peacock Network wanted a conservative voice to balance their opinion journalism. McDaniel is no true conservative, but at least the network was trying. 

The romance lasted only four days. 

The network's on-air stars, beginning with Chuck Todd and later every MSNBC anchor, including Rachel Maddow, Nicole Wallace, Joe and Mika, and Joy Reid, erupted at their management's decision to hire McDaniel. The mutiny was so well-coordinated and targeted that the network capitulated and announced it was terminating the contract. 

It was an extraordinary moment in media governance that displayed how far the press has gone since the days of Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Tim Russert, and Jim Lehrer. [Dan Rather's otherwise illustrious career ended when he let his political biases dictate his reporting in the Bush 43 National Guard story]. All leaned left, but they were decidedly in the middle. Lehrer was so conscious of his role as an independent arbiter of political debate that he never voted in any election, lest someone characterize him as sympathetic to a political party. 

Each stalwart was an executive producer of his show, so the guests they booked and interviewed provided balance. The Russert primaries, when politicians of both parties appeared one-on-one on Meet The Press, were the gold standard in TV journalism. Each interview was a painful grilling, and guests were glad when it ended without a mishap. Russert famously said that to prepare for his interviews, he would research every position a guest had previously taken - and take the diametrically opposing side on air. The political landscape was littered with abruptly ended careers after politicians failed a Russert interview.   

Today's media landscape is a disaster by comparison. Ideological purity in Left-wing politics is a prerequisite to appearing on a network show. On immigration, the environment, abortion, and race relations, every network show resembles ABC News' The View than Russert's Meet The Press. Dissenting voices are not permitted to dirty the studios. In short, the media has transformed from being a purveyor of news to acting as thought police. It is no shocker that 61% of Americans lack trust in traditional media.

In McDaniel's case, the dissenting voice is that she did not debunk Trump's "Big Lie" regarding the 2020 election. Never mind that when Stacey Abrams didn't concede the 2018 Georgia governor's race, the networks lined up to book her for interviews. She was Black, and even better, she was protesting against a White GOP governor. 

Besides, as we noted earlier this week, the Left engineered so many last-minute changes to voting that it is plausible that President Biden did not win in 2020. 

Liberal NPR analyzed the results and showed what a nail-biter match it was: "Just 44,000 votes in Georgia, Arizona, and Wisconsin separated Biden and Trump from a tie in the Electoral College."

The 2020 pre-election media polling did not inspire confidence and raised many questions. For instance, on the Sunday before Election Day, polls indicated that Biden held a 7-point lead in Wisconsin, whereas the actual results revealed a narrow victory, with Biden edging out Trump by only 0.7%.

NBC News decided that even skepticism about the 2020 election results was grounds for revoking an employment contract. McDaniel was not fired for cause - for violating contractual terms after signing the contract. She was fired for her conduct before her hiring, although, presumably, as a public figure, her resume was well vetted. 

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, interviewed by Larry Kudlow on his show on Fox Business, aptly remarked NBC's firing of Ronna McDaniel is the most vivid example of left-wing hostility towards Republicans:

Well, look, Biden’s press secretary went from the White House to NBC in three weeks. Nobody at NBC complained that having Biden’s press secretary in the news operation was inappropriate. What you have is the most vivid example of left-wing hostility to Republicans, and the Republican Party should adopt a position of not dealing with NBC, period, until they reform themselves.

In summary, the Ronna McDaniel episode exemplifies the media's lack of tolerance. For two years, the very same individuals perpetuated the 'Russia, Russia' narrative endlessly. The media are no saints; serving as the mouthpiece of the Democratic party, they play a significant role in the nation's polarization.

How does NBC plan to cover a second Trump administration? Just about every Trump official in the White House and the cabinet would have expressed similar skepticism about 2020. So, these officials won't get air time at all? Their press conferences won't be covered? [Rachel Maddow has already been doing this - she refuses to carry Trump's statements live because she insists that she can't let her network "promote falsehoods"].

NBC has bound itself into a dangerous position, given its legacy as a crucial member of the Fourth Estate. The laws of physics apply to politics also. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. NBC's move comes with a penalty. i.e. it fuels more distrust of the media among Americans.

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