Former ‘Meet the Press’ Anchor Chuck Todd Faults NBC Over Ronna McDaniel Hire: “It’s Unfortunate for This Program”

There is discontent within the ranks of NBC News over Friday’s hiring of former Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel.

McDaniel made her first appearance on the network as a paid contributor Sunday morning on Meet the Press, though moderator Kristen Welker noted that she had been booked weeks earlier, before her hire was official.

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But it was a segment later in the show featuring former Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd that raised eyebrows within 30 Rock headquarters and the network’s Capitol Hill D.C. studio.

Todd told Welker that he needed to “deal with the elephant in the room.”

“I think our bosses owe you an apology for putting you in this situation, because I don’t know what to believe,” Todd said. “She is now a paid contributor by NBC News. Well, I have no idea whether any answer she gave to you was because she didn’t want to mess up her contract”

“I think your interview did a good job of exposing many of the contradictions,” he continued. “And look, there’s a reason why there’s a lot of journalists at NBC News are uncomfortable with this, because many of our professional dealings with the RNC over the last six years have been met with gaslighting, had been met with character assassination.”

Political analysts, Todd noted, are about buying access, to a point of view, perhaps, or to an audience that wants to watch them. But McDaniel’s criticisms of NBC News and MSNBC over the last few years bubbled to the surface after the network hired her, telling staff that “she will support our leading coverage by providing an insider’s perspective on national politics and on the future of the Republican Party — which she led through some of the most turbulent and challenging moments in political history.”

And while McDaniel may yet appear on MSNBC, a source familiar with the matter says that MSNBC president Rashida Jones told anchors and executive producers at the cable channel that they retain full editorial control of their shows, and are under no obligation to book McDaniel.

Still, it was Todd’s critique of McDaniel’s hiring that had tongue’s wagging.

“You got put into an impossible situation, booking this interview and then all of a sudden the rug is pulled out from under you and you find out that she is being paid to show up?” Todd told Welker on the panel. “It’s unfortunate for this program, but I am glad you did the best you could.”

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