Sans McDaniel: What Do MSNBC, NBC Really Need Now?

If you are focused on any of NBC Television Network's news programs or the MSNBC 24-hour news network, ask your senior TV marketing executive how to promote your network now.

NBC News made a quick turnaround -- first in hiring Ronna McDaniel, former chair for the Republican National Committee, as an on-air commentator.

Then four days later, NBC thought better of it and put the kibosh on the deal after a massive outcry from MSNBC on-air anchors.

McDaniel had been discrediting many journalists or their media publications as “fake news” and calling those operations “corrupt.” 

So why was she hired? To expand the base of viewers, especially on MSNBC, it seems.

But wait....Doesn't MSNBC have former GOP operatives and politicians as on-air analysts? 



There's Nicolle Wallace, anchor of “Deadline: White House,” who worked for President George W. Bush. There's Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee, now co-hosting a show on the weekends, called “The Weekend.” 

There are also paid contributors such as David Jolly, formerly a Republican in the House of Representatives from Florida. There are once active GOP political operatives: Stuart Stevens and Tim Miller, as well as Charlie Sykes, who for two-and-a-half decades was a conservative radio talk host in Wisconsin, and most recently the founder/editor of The Bulwark.

The difference is that these on-air conservatives did not engage in trashing journalists or promoting the idea of fake electors to overturn a Presidential election.

So why would they need more? Because NBC News wants what all TV networks want: To find new ways to grow its audience, especially those conservative-leaning, GOP-voting viewers who might be a little tired of other networks' shills. 

Mea culpa might go a long way. But the situation with McDaniel did not last long, and was not that complete.

On the “Meet The Press” show last Sunday, she would only allude to “taking one for the whole team.” Why? Because there was a reported $300,000-a-year salary on the line. 

What should we make of this, and what effect has this had on devoted viewers of MSNBC and other news networks?

Does the potential hire of McDaniel change their view of the network? 

Four days of this activity -- especially with regard to on-air MSNBC and NBC moderators and hosts -- provided insight into the inner workings of a TV news network, and had some impact.

A memo from Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal News Group, to employees talked up NBCU's “deep commitment to presenting our audiences with a widely diverse set of viewpoints and experiences.” 

Should NBC News now address this -- the spillage, the mistake -- and take it to potential viewers? 

On Joy Reid’s “The ReidOut,”  MSNBC-er Rachel Maddow said on air: “Acknowledging that you might have got something wrong is a real sign of strength.” 

It is already out there.

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