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Chuck Todd attacks his network, NBC News, for hiring former RNC chairman

Veteran NBC anchor Chuck Todd publicly attacked his own network's management on Sunday, questioning why NBC News hired Ronna McDaniel, the former chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, and saying live on air: “He There's a reason why a lot of NBC News journalists aren't comfortable with this.

Mr. Todd's comments on “Meet the Press,” the flagship political show he anchored for nine years, were an extraordinary escalation of behind-the-scenes tensions simmering within NBC News and its cable cousin, MSNBC, since announcement Friday that Ms McDaniel had been recruited as a political analyst.

Some NBC reporters were surprised by the decision to hire Ms. McDaniel, citing her tenure at the RNC under former President Donald J. Trump, when she regularly echoed Mr. Trump's criticism of the media. information and, in particular, from the left. learning programs on MSNBC.

Rashida Jones, the president of MSNBC, called several prominent anchors this weekend to assure them that they would not be forced to book Ms. McDaniel on their shows, according to a person briefed on the conversations who requested anonymity to share details. details meant to be private.

Ms. McDaniel made her NBC debut on “Meet the Press” on Sunday in an appearance that current host Kristen Welker told viewers had been scheduled weeks before Ms. McDaniel joined as a paid contributor. “This will be a press interview and I was not involved in hiring him,” Ms. Welker said.

After the interview broadcast, Ms. Welker was joined on set for a live panel discussion featuring Mr. Todd, who began his speech by saying, “Let me take care of the elephant in the room.”

“I think our bosses owe you an apology for putting you in this situation,” Mr. Todd said. “Because I don’t know what to believe.” She is now a paid contributor to NBC News, so I don't know if the answer she gave you was because she didn't want to mess up her contract.

Mr. Todd said Ms. McDaniel “has credibility issues” and continued: “There's a reason many journalists at NBC News are uncomfortable with this, because many of our professional relationships with the RNC over the last six years have been faced with gaslighting, been faced with defamation.

He added: “So when NBC made the decision to give her the credibility of NBC News, you had to ask yourself, 'What does she bring to NBC News?' »

Reached by telephone on Sunday, Ms. McDaniel declined to comment.

The path from Washington politics to the role of on-air analyst is a well-trodden one. Ms. McDaniel is just the latest major Republican to sign a deal with a network; Reince Priebus, for example, who was Mr. Trump's first chief of staff, now contributes to ABC News.

Television news divisions are also keen to ensure that their campaign coverage carries a variety of ideological voices, not just pundits who lean to the political left. Executives at NBC News, which unlike MSNBC does not air opinion shows, made the point in their Friday memo announcing Ms. McDaniel's new role.

“This couldn't be a more important time to have a voice like Ronna's on the team,” wrote Carrie Budoff Brown, who oversees NBC News' political coverage. “She will support our core news coverage by providing an insider's perspective on national politics and the future of the Republican Party.” NBC News already employs Republican commentators like Marc Short, who served as chief of staff to former Vice President Mike Pence.

In her Sunday interview with Ms. McDaniel, Ms. Welker asked the former Republican leader if she believed President Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election.

“Fair and honest, he won,” Ms McDaniel said. “It’s certified. It's done.”

“Ronna, why did it take you until now to be able to say that?” » asked Ms. Welker.

“I'm going to back up a little bit because I think it's fair to say there were problems in 2020 and say that doesn't mean he's not the legitimate president,” Ms. McDaniel.

Symone D. Sanders, former chief spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris who is now an anchor on MSNBC, later praised Ms. Welker's handling of the interview: write on“She had it recorded several times.”

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