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WSJ: NBC’s Ronna McDaniel Tantrum The conformity caucus chases the former RNC chairwoman off the air.

  |   By Polling+ Staff

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Wall Street Journal takes on the media. Opinion | NBC’s Ronna McDaniel Tantrum

Opinion | NBC’s Ronna McDaniel Tantrum

The Editorial Board

The conformity caucus chases the former RNC chairwoman off the air.

Their editorial headlines:

NBC’s Ronna McDaniel Tantrum

The conformity caucus chases the former RNC chairwoman off the air.

The editors write:

“The mainstream media seems determined to give ordinary Americans reasons to ignore it. This week’s collective tantrum at NBC News over the hiring of former Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel gave them one more. 

The network announced its hiring of Ms. McDaniel as a political analyst on Friday. She would provide, NBC politics editor Carrie Budoff Brown said in an internal memo, “an insider’s perspective on national politics and the future of the Republican Party.” We hold no brief for Ms. McDaniel as a spokeswoman for conservatives or Republicans, but NBC brass were trying to provide an alternative view of Donald Trump to the one viewers get from the NBC-MSNBC conformity caucus. 

Cue the moral outrage. On Sunday Chuck Todd, former host of “Meet the Press,” delivered an on-the-air jeremiad against his employers for engaging Ms. McDaniel. He and his colleagues were upset because “many of our professional dealings with the RNC over the last six years,” Mr. Todd explained, “have been met with gaslighting.”

“Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski added their disapproval on air. Ms. Brzezinski insisted their objection wasn’t to a conservative Republican but to the hiring of an “anti-democracy election denier.” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow devoted half an hour to the subject. It’s not about whether Ms. McDaniel is a Republican or Democrat, she said, “it’s about our system of government and undermining elections and going after democracy.”

Ms. McDaniel’s chief affront seems to be that she participated in a phone call on Nov. 17, 2020, in which Mr. Trump urged two Republican canvassers in Wayne County, Mich., not to certify the election results. She also said that President Biden didn’t win the election “fair.” We don’t think the election was stolen, and Mr. Trump’s post-election behavior was awful, but spare us this high-minded excuse about “democracy.”

If these harrumphing stars felt so strongly that challenging election results is unforgivable, they wouldn’t have given respectful, at times fawning, interviews to Stacey Abrams, long after she refused to concede the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race, which she lost by 54,723 votes. We don’t recall hearing these defenders of democracy criticizing Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, for denying that Donald Trump was the legitimate winner in 2016, or the 31 Democratic House members who, on Jan. 6, 2005, attempted to stop certification of Ohio’s electors and so deny George W. Bush re-election.

Several of these 31 “election deniers,” to use Ms. Brzezinski’s term—Sheila Jackson-Lee (D., Tex.), Barbara Lee (D., Calif.), Ed Markey (D., Mass.)—have appeared many times on NBC and MSNBC and been treated with deference.

It’s also hard to take seriously Mr. Todd’s claim that the RNC under Ms. McDaniel was uniquely guilty of “gaslighting.” That’s the new term for the sophistry, dissimulation and, yes, outright dishonesty that’s unfortunately inseparable from partisan politics. Leave aside that many ordinary consumers of news have had ample occasion in recent years to feel “gaslit” by the mainstream press.

The more salient point is that NBC has signed up Democratic gaslighters with regularity. Most recently Jen Psaki went straight from the Biden White House to her own show on MSNBC. Ms. Psaki’s many White House hits include calling the southern border “closed,” denying Americans were stranded in Afghanistan, and threatening tech platforms if they didn’t censor certain Covid views.

On Tuesday the NBC brass bowed to their employees and cut ties with Ms. McDaniel. The network’s viewers will be fine without her analysis, but the episode explains why Americans don’t trust the news media. The network’s bosses were plainly trying to avoid the mistakes of 2016 by recruiting some non-crazy voices on the Trump-aligned right. Eight years ago mainstream outlets covered Mr. Trump with little but withering scorn, alienated millions of Americans who felt deep reservations about Mrs. Clinton, and after the election couldn’t explain how he won except by recourse to the false Russian collusion narrative.

The tempest over Ms. McDaniel suggests the press is preparing to make the same mistake again. This is bad for the country, but it’s even worse for the press, which still doesn’t understand why it is so mistrusted.”

As I learned close up while at CNN, these “mainstream” networks are dominated in front of the camera as well as in the executive suites by liberals. They are not big on dissent.