Tuesday Talk*: Right, Wrong and Ronna

Her excuse was that as head of the Republican National Committee, it was her job to be a good team player and take one for the team.

After conceding that the insurrection of January 6th was “not acceptable,” there was no rigged election and Biden won “fair and square,” Ronna Romney McDaniel says she now gets to be herself and say what she believes. Does she get a free pass for the lies she intentionally spewed “for the team”? A lot of people at NBC and its lefty cousin, MSNBC, oppose her hire as an on-air commentator (at $300,000 per year). Are they wrong?

“I want to associate myself with all my colleagues, both at MSNBC and NBC News, who have voiced loud and principled objections to our company putting on the payroll someone who hasn’t just attacked us as journalists, but someone who is part of an ongoing project to get rid of our system of government,” she said. “Someone who still is trying to convince Americans that this election stuff, it doesn’t really work.”

Ms. Maddow then implored company executives to reverse their decision.

“Take a minute, acknowledge that maybe it wasn’t the right call,” she said. “It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to acknowledge when you are wrong.”

If you’re all too happy to lie for your job, then you are a liar. There is no “take one for the team” justification for lying, just as there is no reason to believe that McDaniel will be any less inclined to lie for the sake of keeping her new paycheck and pleasing her new masters. That’s the problem with being a liar.

But then, it’s not as if staffing their shows with flagrantly biased ex-pols and losing defamation defendants troubled them before.

You weren’t upset by Jen Psaki’s rapid transition from White House press sec to commentator to host of her own show on MSNBC. You were and are fine with Al Sharpton.

The problem is that these pseudo-news shows were all the rage after Trump’s election, going from hard left to the hourly recap of Trump’s latest idiocy. As the trend is shifting away from the progressive extreme to a more fair and balanced presentation of issues, NBC wants to position itself with pundits to appeal to a broader audience that doesn’t hate Trump as much as Joy Reid.

The firestorm over Ms. McDaniel, who recently stepped down from the Republican National Committee at the urging of former President Donald J. Trump, underscores the challenges facing news organizations as they try to integrate voices that are supportive of Mr. Trump into their election-year coverage, at a moment of intense partisanship and tribalism among voters and viewers.

On Monday’s “Morning Joe,” Ms. Brzezinski told viewers, “To be clear, we believe NBC News should seek out conservative Republican voices to provide balance in their election coverage.” But she said Ms. McDaniel’s actions surrounding the 2020 election disqualified her from such a position.

Are there any credible conservative voices that aren’t anti-Trump, that weren’t complicit in pushing lies and false conspiracies on an unwitting public and who are still worthy of being taken seriously? Was Ronna wrong to back up Trump, even if she lacked the enthusiasm Trump and his die-hard supporters wanted, knowing that it was completely false? Can she sell her integrity to the job and then expect to be embraced as an honest broker later?

If not, and for those of us for whom integrity matters, rehabilitating liars is not an option, what about the others who were similarly biased, or worse, but whose position on the payroll was neither questioned nor doubted. I mean, Rev. Al, for crying out loud. Tawana, anyone? Just because he lost a few thousand pounds and cut off his pompadour does not make him erudite, knowledgeable or illuminating.

Should Ronna McDaniel be accepted as a legitimate conservative voice, or is she perpetually tainted by her lies for Trump? And if we’re going to challenge integrity, what about those on the left who got a pass because they’re priors aligned better with the existing talent? Is it time to vet the anchor corps for all, or is this just entertainment anyway, not to be taken seriously by anyone?

*Tuesday Talk rules apply.

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