Oliver Darcy Dishes on the Jen Psaki Deal With MSNBC and it Does Not Look Good – for CNN – Opinion

As Darcy gives some specifics of Jen Psaki’s arrangement, there are revealing aspects about him and CNN.

Many speculations and questions have swirled around the announcement that Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, would be leaving her post in May to take up residence at MSNBC’s Peacock streaming site. Many have questioned the decisions and their impact on their news organization.

This internal debate has reached such a peak that CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported that the president of NBC News, Noah Oppenheim, called for a teleconference with the Washington D.C. bureau reporters to air out what was taking place. Darcy said he was able to get details from insiders, giving an interesting insight into the operations of the news division. What Darcy did not intend is something else – he has also revealed some of the foibles involving himself and his own network.

Let’s start with the details. Oppenheim spoke with his reporters, stressing that NBC News (and MSNBC) are separate entities and that the hiring and staffing decisions made at MSNBC are solely theirs. Oppenheim explained to his reporters that he does not have any authority over MSNBC or had any role in the hiring of Psaki. He also stressed that broadcasts on cable channels are no reflection of the news operations at broadcast networks.

The best way to see the details is when things become more transparent. Oppenheim reiterated that MSNBC’s opinion wing is not to be seen as reflective of the news side at NBC. What MSNBC was described as having was “perspective programming,” and that is an entity fully divorced from the NBC News division. Darcy provides these details, but does not offer any commentary or criticism of the statement. 

It is allowed to be in the report. However, this does not mean that Darcy was right or should have said anything. Yet, the very fact that he accepts this premise that there is a distinction between news reporting and the opinion-pundit broadcasts – what they labeled as “perspective programming” – exposes Darcy and the way he, and CNN, have been approaching Fox News. Let’s now look at the key issues.


The Lack Of Critique

It is interesting to note that Darcy doesn’t even mention Psaki’s actions in the detailed report. It is all about the decisions at MSNBC, and how it affects NBC News; Psaki’s actions while a standing member of the administration is not addressed, and this is revealing. Brian Stelter was hardly able to make a comment when the news came out last week. The news was covered by him, and that was all. No commentary. This was quite a departure from Kayleigh McEnany signing on to Fox one year ago.

McEnany’s hiring was cause for concern and hand-wringing at CNN, but with her, there is a huge difference; her term in the White House already concluded, so seeking work elsewhere was not unusual nor a conflict of interest. Psaki, on the other side is an active reporter so it is reasonable to question things. Psaki’s relationship with journalists from NBC and MSNBC may have been affected by their refusal to answer tough questions. Or, Psaki might have selected reporters based upon a close relationship.

Stelter, Darcy, and Stelter didn’t see any reason for these questions to be explored.

CNN’s Own Role In Negotiations

The main factor in Oliver avoiding the issue of Psaki’s backroom negotiations was revealed in a line he mentioned halfway through his piece.

Psaki held talks with several television networks (including CNN) about possible jobs After leaving the White House, she might consider other options. ” 

It is there. Oliver can’t condemn her for making deals, especially when she is in negotiations with his outlet. It was part of her controversial move so they are completely overlooked. CNN cannot be criticized without mentioning her. However, there’s another twist.

Psaki, a former CNN employee left to start in the Biden government. It would appear that CNN knew the best way to get her back, but she chose MSNBC and their streaming platform. It is quite interesting, considering CNN was about to launch its streaming channel. Jen wasn’t lured by her old employer for the new venture. It speaks for itself.

Brian Stelter
Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

What Does This Mean for Fox Coverage?

Darcy also accepted the idea that the news side is separate from any programming’s opinion/perspective. This tells us something. Darcy allows this idea to be accepted. This means that he believes that opinion and news are separate elements. But this is directly contrary to the fact that he continues to cover Fox News.

Darcy and Mr. Stelter have often criticized Fox News’ entire network based on Tucker Carlson’s opinions on the opinion show. They see his opinions not only as their own, but also as emblematic for the network. He will say that Tucker’s words are accountable all the way up to Rupert Murdoch, and then Murdoch is held responsible for this network mindset. It is not possible to distinguish between opinions and straight news. Fox’s position is complete.

This was the very thing Chris Wallace alluded to in a recent interview, when he pointed at Tucker’s views on his show seen on Fox Nation, the subscription side of the network. This is a view that must be seen as more distant from the news than what the perspective programming. However, it was maintained.

MSNBC views them as distinct, with each having its own aspects. Joy Reid’s perpetual claims of racism with every news item are relegated solely to The Reid Out. Rachel Maddow’s provably falsified investigation reports are not indicative of the network. She is part the Perspective side and the accountability firewall has been in place. 

These are just a few examples of how Jen Psaki’s decision is impacting the journalism industry. Her move was initially seen as an inevitable development. An individual from the Democratic Party transferring to the newsside was initially seen as a positive. But, it wasn’t until they got too involved in the negotiations that the obvious conflicts of interest became apparent.

There are scrambling efforts taking place. Oliver Darcy, in his effort to resolve issues has revealed some of the problems he faces. More thought — and more actions — are now going to be needed.

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