A former producer for MSNBC explained why she quit her role in a scathing letter, calling the left-leaning anti-Trump TV network a “cancer” that is “stoking national division” among Americans.
Ariana Pekary accused MSNBC of amplifying “fringe voices” while forcing “journalists to make bad decisions on a daily basis.”
Pekary wrote on her personal website:
“July 24th was my last day at MSNBC. I don’t know what I’m going to do next exactly but I simply couldn’t stay there anymore.”
“My colleagues are very smart people with good intentions. The problem is the job itself. It forces skilled journalists to make bad decisions on a daily basis.”
Pekary also shared quotes of what people said to her during her years while working for MSNBC before pondering the harmful effect the network is having on society.
Pekary said MSNBC was “practically baked into the editorial process,” saying a decision on coverage was aimed at generating the most ratings.
“Industry leaders will admit the damage that’s being done,” she revealed.
“We are a cancer and there is no cure. But if you could find a cure, it would change the world,” one high profile TV veteran reportedly told her.
“As it is, this cancer stokes national division, even in the middle of a civil rights crisis,” Pekary said.
“The model blocks diversity of thought and content because the networks have incentive to amplify fringe voices and events, at the expense of others… all because it pumps up the ratings.”
“Context and factual data are often considered too cumbersome for the audience,” Pekary later added.
“There may be some truth to that (our education system really should improve the critical thinking skills of Americans) – but another hard truth is that it is the job of journalists to teach and inform, which means they might need to figure out a better way to do that.”
“They could contemplate more creative methods for captivating an audience. Just about anything would improve the current process, which can be pretty rudimentary (think basing today’s content on whatever rated well yesterday, or look to see what’s trending online today).”
Pekary said that a “senior producer” even admitted their audience don’t even consider them news, but come to them for “comfort.”
“Through this pandemic and the surreal, alienating lockdown, I’ve witnessed many people question their lives and what they’re doing with their time on this planet,” Pekary continued.
“I reckon I’m one of those people, looking for greater meaning and truth. As much as I love my life in New York City and really don’t want to leave, I feel fortunate to be able to return to Virginia in the near term to reconnect with family, friends, and a community of independent journalists,” she said.
“I’m both nervous and excited about this change. Thanks to COVID-19, I’m learning to live with uncertainty.”
Several months ago, we reported on a Former New York Times op-ed staff editor who recently left the paper praised Pekary’s “integrity” for her open letter.
MSNBC hasn’t been without controversy over the last few years, with pushing the Trump/Russian collusion before their ratings plummeted after special counsel Robert Mueller cleared Trump last year.
Earlier this year, MSNBC was also accused of selectively editing a video of Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s explosive confrontation with a voter who asked him about gun rights.
GOP National Spokesperson blasted the channel for manipulating the video:
“MSNBC’s take on Joe Biden attacking a union worker in Michigan, calling him ‘full of sh*t,’ a ‘horse’s ass,’ and threatening to slap the worker? Just Joe ‘mixing it up’ They also selectively edited the video to leave out the insults and the threat,” Harrington tweeted.