File this news under the “how quaint” category.
As the national media’s reputation zooms deeper into the toilet, one major network is concerned that hiring the openly partisan and frequently evasive White House spokeswoman will “tarnish” its brand.
Suffice to say the news industry is believed by relatively few. Six months ago, the Gallup organization found that trust in the media to “fully, accurately and fairly” report the news had sunk to 36 percent; that was the second-lowest level the pollster had recorded in a survey that dates to 1997.
On Thursday, CNN reported that journalists at NBC News are “vexed” that their cable cousins at MSNBC are finalizing a deal with President Joe Biden’s primary attack dog, Jen Psaki.
Those reporters “are troubled by and have expressed dismay to network executives about MSNBC’s intention to hire” Psaki, CNN noted, adding that some “vexed staffers from the Washington bureau … have complained to their superiors that the tentative hiring tarnishes the NBC News brand.”
According to CNN, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim held a conference call on Friday in an attempt “to quell the anger.” He did so by reaffirming to them “the distinction … between NBC News and MSNBC’s opinion programming.”
Oppenheim also sought to coddle his worried ranks by stressing that NBC News had no role in Psaki’s pending hire. That was done by the “perspective programming side” of the company at MSNBC.
CNN noted that Psaki’s upcoming departure is unusual in that it is so blatantly political.
Typically, former senior officials like Psaki are brought on as analysts and then gradually moved to more “journalistic” roles.
In Psaki’s case, however, she is expected to get her own show once she comes on board.
For anyone who has paid attention, though, the protests at NBC News ring hollow.
Last July, “Meet the Press” anchor Chuck Todd, who also serves as the network’s political director, laughingly tried to argue that there is no such thing as a liberal bias in the national media.
In response, conservative media critic Joe Concha noted that during Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, NBC News and CNN tied with 93 percent negative coverage of Trump, which was six and 10 points higher than The New York Times and The Washington Post, respectively.
But the fact that NBC is worried about MSNBC “tarnishing” the brand because of the latter’s opinions is a train that left the station long ago.
In 2018, for example, a Gallup poll found that 66 percent of respondents said: “most news media do not do a good job of separating fact from opinion.” That was up from just 42 percent in 1984.