MSNBC Temper Tantrums Got Ronna McDaniel Fired – Are NBC Executives Next?

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

After a brief five-day stint as a paid contributor at NBC that saw several on-air outbursts from MSNBC hosts who objected to the hiring, former RNC chair Ronna McDaniel lost her gig. The quick flip-flop has led many to wonder if the executives who brought McDaniel in could be next.

On Thursday’s show, Megyn was joined by the hosts of The Fifth Column – Kmele Foster, Michael Moynihan, and Matt Welch – to discuss who may be on the chopping block and the risks of homogeneous opinion in media.

McDaniel Out

Last Friday, NBC announced McDaniel would be joining the network as a political analyst across all platforms, including MSNBC, ahead of the 2024 election. By Tuesday, she was out.

The decision followed days of backlash on and, reportedly, off the air by MSNBC talent like Rachel Maddow, Jen Psaki, and Nicolle Wallace and even former Meet the Press host Chuck Todd.

While the anchors may be thrilled, there are rumors that other staffers are less enthused. According to Semafor, McDaniel’s dismissal “threatens to undo years of [NBC News] repositioning itself as friendly to Republican officials and viewers.”

Megyn, however, wasn’t so sure that issue would materialize. “Do you think core MAGA is going to refuse to deal with the NBCs of the world – Meet the Press, Lester Holt, and so on – as a result of this,” she asked. “Because I don’t think they care about Ronna McDaniel, and I also think they want media coverage. So, I think ‘big NBC’ will not pay any penalty for this.”

Welch was inclined to agree.”They’ll pay a penalty internally but not externally from MAGA,” he said. “How can you have an actual internal leadership crisis based on the hiring and un-hiring of another political hack to be a panelist? That’s crazy. You are running your organization so badly when that happens.”

You’re Fired?

To that point, there are also questions as to whether additional heads will roll. While executives ultimately caved to the pressure, reports indicate that same network brass – including MSNBC president Rashida Jones who claimed McDaniel was barred from the cable channel’s airwaves – had roles in courting the former RNC leader.

The Washington Post reported that Jones and McDaniel had a video call in early March and the exec was instrumental in offering her a larger contract that included appearances on MSNBC.

In Welch’s view, such leaks are telling. “I don’t think the news that she had been part of that came from her,” he said. “So, you know, if you’re on the outside looking in, you’re just like, ‘Oh, can I throw a little fuel on that fire? That’s fantastic.'”

With that said, he believes someone in a leadership position at NBC or MSNBC will be forced to take the fall. “I think they have to fire somebody because they have a staff revolt,” Welch noted. “You still have these places – generally large institutions – who will make the mistake of having a staff meeting to talk about a controversial… event, and they’re still in terror of their 25 year olds and 30 year olds on staff.”

‘Amen Choir’

In the wake of the tumultuous run, NBC Universal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde sent a mea culpa to employees announcing McDaniel’s exit that read in part: 

“No organization, particularly a newsroom, can succeed unless it is cohesive and aligned. Over the last few days, it has become clear that this appointment undermines that goal.

I want to personally apologize to our team members who felt we let them down. While this was a collective recommendation by some members of our leadership team, I approved it and take full responsibility for it.”

As Megyn explained, that sums up what is wrong with the network. “’Cohesive and aligned,’” she asked. “So we all have to be in agreement before we can make executive moves, any hires, any directional changes, any story pitches – that’s insane.”

Moynihan agreed. “It’s good television to have people disagree once in a while,” he concluded. “This kind of ‘Amen choir’ that you get, particularly when it’s election night and the MSNBC table has like 70 people around it [clapping in agreement]… is bad TV.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with The Fifth Column by tuning in to episode 752 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.