Lawrence David| Opinion| Ariana Pekary, a producer for far-left MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, recently resigned her position. In a letter posted to her personal website Ms. Pekary wrote…
… 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.
You may not watch MSNBC but just know that this problem still affects you, too. All the commercial networks function the same – and no doubt that content seeps into your social media feed, one way or the other.
It’s possible that I’m more sensitive to the editorial process due to my background in public radio, where no decision I ever witnessed was predicated on how a topic or guest would “rate.” The longer I was at MSNBC, the more I saw such choices — it’s practically baked into the editorial process – and those decisions affect news content every day. Likewise, it’s taboo to discuss how the ratings scheme distorts content, or it’s simply taken for granted, because everyone in the commercial broadcast news industry is doing the exact same thing.
But behind closed doors, industry leaders will admit the damage that’s being done.
“We are a cancer and there is no cure,” a successful and insightful TV veteran said to me. “But if you could find a cure, it would change the world.”
Pekary believes the cancer stokes national division by blocking all diversity of thought and content due to the networks’ “incentive to amplify fringe voices and events, at the expense of others.” All to pump up the ratings.
Pekary writes that this cancer comes with a risk to human lives even as we are enduring a pandemic.
In the effort to disparage the policies and advice coming from Donald Trump they are silencing or discrediting medical professionals who agree with him, to avoid promoting 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.”
Pekary is the second high-level woman to have had enough of the rabid “hate Trump” fever that has consumed newsrooms and to have resigned.
Less than a month ago, Bari Weiss, editor of The New York Times’ opinion section, called it quits for many of the same reasons. Like Ms. Pekary, Weiss also penned a resignation letter.
…”As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. “An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal,” you said a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper.”
After Weiss resigned we noted that the greatest challenge of all would be to convince the Times’ Kool-Aid drinkers that their trust in the paper had been misplaced… According to Pekary, that’s now true of viewers of MSNBC.