MSNBC producer quits, cites ratings-based coverage, focus on fringe groups: "This cancer stokes national division"

by Laura Mize · Aug 4th, 2020 11:41 am

Last Updated Aug 5th, 2020 at 2:39 pm

Former MSNBC news producer Ariana Pekary recently published an open letter on her website describing coverage decisions and other practices at the liberal news network that led her to resign from her position in July.

Pekary praised her former colleagues, but panned the way the network prioritized coverage of fringe groups and other topics that incite division for the sake of ratings.

"My colleagues are very smart people with good intentions," she wrote. "The problem is the job itself. It forces skilled journalists to make bad decisions on a daily basis."

She noted that the practice of basing content on topics thought to provide the best ratings is "practically baked in to the editorial process – and those decisions affect news content every day."

She also wrote that "everyone in the commercial broadcast news industry is doing the exact same thing."

Another TV journalist told Pekary at one point that, "We are a cancer and there is no cure, ... But if you could find a cure, it would change the world."

Pekary went on to describe the cancer as one that "stokes national division, even in the middle of a civil rights crisis" and "risks human lives, even in the middle of a pandemic." She said that facts were ignored in favor of fringe groups and coronavirus coverage has focused more on politics than on science about a vaccine, methods of disease spread, or antibodies. She also said that election coverage rarely focused on former Vice President Joe Biden.

"There is a better way to do this. I'm not so cynical to think that we are absolutely doomed (though we are on that path)," Pekary wrote. "I know we can find a cure. If we can figure how to send a man to the moon, if Alex Trebek can defy the odds with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and if Harry Reid can actually overcome pancreatic cancer (he's now cancer free), then we can fix this, too."

➡️ Read Pekary's full letter here.


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