That Was Quick: NBC Drops Ronna McDaniel

( – On Friday, March 22, NBC News executives circulated a memo to staffers announcing their decision to hire former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna McDaniel to provide “expert insight and analysis” as a political consultant. However, several network personalities, particularly from NBC’s internet companion site MSNBC, complained about her hiring during on-air segments of their shows. Recent reports indicate the media company has reversed itself and dropped McDaniel.

The following Tuesday, March 26, NBC Universal News Group Chair Cesar Conde distributed a memo to network personnel advising that the company had dismissed McDaniel. Media outlets reported that the notice explained that the network’s commitment to providing viewers with a “widely diverse set of viewpoints” from individuals with varying experiences led to the initial hiring decision.

Continuing, Conde wrote that he reversed that decision “after listening to the legitimate concerns” aired by many of the network’s hosts and other team members. He readily conceded a newsroom can’t succeed unless its personnel are “cohesive and aligned.” He said over the past several days, he realized that McDaniel’s hiring undermined that process.

Conde also apologized to staffers who felt NBC executives “let them down.” He advised that although the media company’s leadership team presented a “collective recommendation” to hire McDaniel — “I approved it and take full responsibility” for the situation.

NBC News editorial head Rebecca Blumenstein did the actual hiring, backed by the network’s chief of political coverage, Carrie Brown. They also kept Conde in the loop regarding their decision. MSNBC head Rashida Jones reportedly backed the hiring decision. She later told her staffers that they were not obligated to schedule McDaniel on their programs after several hosts took to the airwaves to air their grievances regarding the hiring.

The Washington Post spoke with two individuals who were knowledgeable about McDaniel’s thinking. They said the backlash to her hiring surprised the former RNC head and confirmed rumors that she planned to hire an attorney to handle contractual issues.

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