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NBC News has hired former Republican National Committee chair, Ronna McDaniel, as an on-air commentator ahead of the 2024 presidential election, despite her history of attacking the network and journalists. McDaniel, who led the RNC since 2016, has repeatedly criticized the news media as “fake news” and promoted false claims related to the 2020 election. NBC News’ senior vice president of politics, Carrie Budoff Brown, defended the decision, stating that McDaniel’s voice is important at this moment.

During her time as RNC chair, McDaniel frequently attacked the press, aligning herself with Donald Trump’s demonization of journalists. She referred to the media as “fake news” and “corrupt,” even targeting NBC News and MSNBC with dishonest attacks. In one instance, she accused NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, of bias and called for his dismissal. McDaniel will now be appearing on MSNBC as part of her new role as an on-air commentator, despite her past criticisms of the network.

McDaniel’s involvement in spreading election denialism after the 2020 presidential election has also been controversial. She was part of a phone call in which Michigan county officials were pressured not to certify the vote in the Detroit area where Joe Biden had a significant lead. The Michigan Department of State’s office condemned her claims of voter fraud, stating they had “no merit” and the elections were conducted fairly. Despite this, McDaniel defended her claims of voting irregularities in an interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace but ultimately acknowledged Biden’s victory.

NBC’s decision to hire McDaniel comes amid a recent trend at the network’s outlets of softening their stance on Trump as he moves closer to the Republican nomination for president. CNBC recently hosted Trump for a phone interview where he was allowed to peddle lies and conspiracy theories without scrutiny. MSNBC has also started carrying Trump’s remarks live on television, despite previously stating they would not do so. This shift in coverage has sparked criticism from some, including host Rachel Maddow, who called it irresponsible to broadcast Trump’s lies.

Overall, NBC News’ hiring of Ronna McDaniel has raised concerns due to her history of attacking the network and promoting false claims surrounding the 2020 election. Despite this, the network defended the decision, citing the importance of having a diverse range of voices on its platform. McDaniel’s involvement in spreading election denialism and her past criticisms of the media have also come under scrutiny. The softening of NBC’s coverage of Trump as he approaches the Republican nomination has also been a point of contention, with some criticizing the network for giving him a platform to spread misinformation.

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