Updated Mar 26, 2024 - Business

Ronna McDaniel out at NBC News following backlash

Former RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in Miami in November 2023.

Former RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in Miami in November 2023. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

NBC has dropped Ronna McDaniel as a paid contributor, NBCU News Group chair Cesar Conde confirmed in a memo to staff following backlash from some of the network's journalists.

Why it matters: The ex-RNC chair's hiring set off a rare on-air protest over the weekend from top network talent, renewing criticism over cable news' lucrative — and often controversial — alliance with former government officials and party flacks.

  • McDaniel is exploring legal options over the termination of her contributor deal, two sources familiar told Axios, after Puck News reported Tuesday the network was planning to let her go.
  • A source familiar with the situation told Axios that NBC News did not personally contact McDaniel regarding the network's decision.

The latest: A source confirmed to Axios Tuesday that Creative Arts Agency (CAA), the group that had represented McDaniel, has dropped her as a client.

State of play: Conde apologized in the memo NBC News staff for hiring the ex-RNC chair saying, "it has become clear that this appointment undermines" the goal of a "cohesive and aligned" newsroom.

  • Conde wrote that the decision to drop McDaniel was made after "listening to the legitimate concerns of many of you."
  • Carrie Budoff Brown, who leads NBC News' politics and elections reporting, had previously announced McDaniel would offer an "insider's perspective" on national politics and the Republican Party.
  • However, NBC journalists were "uncomfortable" with the hiring because their interactions with the RNC while McDaniel was chair were "met with gaslighting" and "character assassination," NBC News chief political analyst Chuck Todd said on Sunday's "Meet The Press."

The big picture: McDaniel was hired at NBC News after stepping down from the RNC post while facing a pressure campaign from former President Trump to force her resignation.

  • Her hiring was supported unanimously by NBC News leaders, a source familiar with the conversations told Axios' Mike Allen.

Between the lines: The network has several other Republican commentators, including Marc Short, who was chief of staff to former Vice President Mike Pence, and Brendan Buck, a former top congressional aide.

Go deeper: Ronna McDaniel outrage renews scrutiny of politics-to-pundit pipeline

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include excerpts from NBCU News Group chair Cesar Conde's memo and with details of Creative Arts Agency's action.

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