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MSNBC reporter quits, says network a money-making ‘cancer’

An MSNBC producer has shared a scathing open letter after quitting the network, claiming it is a ‘cancer’ because it ‘blocks diversity of thought’ and ‘amplifies fringe voices’. 

Ariana Pekary posted the letter online yesterday after quitting the network where she spent seven years working as a producer on shows including Up Late with Alec Baldwin and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. 

She said she could no longer stand to work at the network which ‘stokes national division, even in the middle of a civil rights crisis’ and ‘blocks diversity of thought and content because the networks have incentive to amplify fringe voices and events’. 

Pekary both complained that the network devoted too much time to President Trump in its election coverage – drowning out other potential candidates even though the coverage was mostly negative – and that it focused too much on the politics of the pandemic and the federal response to it rather than science.   

‘Any discussion about the election usually focuses on Donald Trump, not Joe Biden, a repeat offense from 2016 (Trump smothers out all other coverage). 

‘Also important is to ensure citizens can vote by mail this year, but I’ve watched that topic get ignored or “killed” numerous times,’ she complained. 

Of the pandemic, she said: ‘The primary focus quickly became what Donald Trump was doing (poorly) to address the crisis, rather than the science itself.

‘As new details have become available about antibodies, a vaccine, or how COVID actually spreads, producers still want to focus on the politics. Important facts or studies get buried,’ she wrote. 

Pekary’s biggest gripe was that the network and the entire news industry prioritizes content the public finds most interesting over what staff think is most important.  

‘Due to the simple structure of the industry – the desire to charge more money for commercials, as well as the ratings bonuses that top-tier decision-makers earn – they always relapse into their old profitable programming habits,’ she said. 

‘I understand that the journalistic process is largely subjective and any group of individuals may justify a different set of priorities on any given day. 

‘Therefore, it’s particularly notable to me, for one, that nearly every rundown at the network basically is the same, hour after hour. 

‘And two, they use this subjective nature of the news to justify economically beneficial decisions.

‘I’ve even heard producers deny their role as journalists. A very capable senior producer once said: “Our viewers don’t really consider us the news. 

“They come to us for comfort,”‘ she said.  

An MSNBC spokesman said: ‘We take the public trust granted to us very seriously and even more so in today’s unprecedented news environment.

‘It’s our responsibility to cover stories that are critical to our viewers. 

‘They rely on our hosts, correspondents and contributors to go where breaking news and the facts lead, asking tough questions and digging into stories with deep analysis.

‘We encourage debate and differences of perspectives in our newsroom because it makes the product better.’ 

Pekary’s decision was endorsed by a former New York Times journalist who quit the newspaper claiming it lives in ‘fear’ of it’s ‘assigning editor’ – Twitter – and cancel culture. 

Bari Weiss clams she was called a ‘racist’ and ‘Nazi’ at the newspaper because she held more conservative views than her colleagues. 

‘We’re used to criticism. Criticism is kosher in the work that we do. Criticism is great.

’What cancel culture is about is not criticism. It is about punishment. It is about making a person radioactive. It is about taking away their job,’ she said afterwards. 

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