PSHAMELESS: Jen Psaki Knocks NBC Hiring of Former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel

March 25th, 2024 11:18 PM

One might reasonably believe, given her brazen negotiation with NBC while still serving as White House Press Secretary, that Jen Psaki would be the absolute last person to run her mouth over the Peacock Network’s hiring of former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel. But, alas, these are not reasonable times. 

Psaki did, in fact, weigh in on the McDaniel hire in a self-indulgent and fundamentally unself-aware editorial on tonight’s broadcast of Inside with Jen Psaki. Here it is, in its two minutes of smug, gaslighting entirety (click “expand” to view transcript):

JEN PSAKI: You may have seen some news over the last few days about the hiring of former RNC chair Ronna McDaniel as an NBC News contributor. And some, mainly in the right-wing ecosystem, have made the comparison to others who have come from government or politics into the media- including me. And that is a comparison I felt like I had to address. I got into public service for the same reason that many people do. To serve the American people. I worked on my first political campaign when I was just 24 years old. When I was 28, I packed my bags and moved to Chicago to work for Barack Obama. He wanted to make the country a better place, and I wanted to help him. I wanted to work on behalf of the American people to try and make their lives better. That's why I did campaigns and a few years later, I would do the same thing for President Biden when I went to work for him in the White House. I was in the room for tough debates, for difficult decisions, for the messy and at times, incredibly grueling process of governing. And that experience is something that I am extremely proud to bring to this table and to this network. And there are many others who have followed a similar path who I have a great deal of respect for. But here's the thing. That kind of experience only matters and only has value to viewers, all of you, if it is paired with honesty and with good faith. Those qualities are especially important right now at a time when our institutions are under attack and when our democracy is in danger. And our democracy is in danger because of the lies that people like Ronna McDaniel have pushed on this country. To quote Liz Cheney, “Ronna facilitated Trump's corrupt fake elector plot and his effort to pressure Michigan officials not to certify the legitimate election outcome. She spread his lies and called January 6th ‘legitimate political discourse’”. Look, this isn't about Republicans versus Democrats. This isn’t about Red versus Blue. This is about truth versus lies. Service to the country versus service to one man committed to toppling our democratic system. That is the kind of experience that Ronna McDaniel brings to the table. And that experience does not get us to a deeper understanding of anything in the public debate. We’ll be right back.

I suppose Psaki deserves a modicum of credit for somewhat cutting to the chase, unlike Rachel Maddow’s opening monologues. Nonetheless, the gaslighting began right after Psaki softened viewers up by boring them with her biography. Seriously, nobody cares. 

We know full well that there is an incestuous, revolving door between (almost exclusively Democratic) politics and the media. MSNBC hired Psaki, as Chuck Todd intimated during his own meltdown, purely for access. What Psaki brings to MSNBC’s viewers is a peek into the inner workings of the Obama and Biden administrations. As does Symone Sanders-Townsend. This is the access that MSNBC paid for. 

MSNBC provides its viewers with many other unique insights. There are the insights, for example, of former Republicans cashing in on Never Trumpism such as Michael Steele and Nicolle Wallace. There are the insights of racial arsonists with blood on their hands such as Al Sharpton, Russia Hoax conspiracy theorists such as Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, elite legacies such as Alicia Menéndez, and so on. 

What distinguishes Psaki from the rest of this lot is that none of them babbled about honesty and good faith after having exited a career distinguished by its dishonesty and bad faith. Most people in this position just take the bag and go on about their business without the moral preening, especially when they lack the moral standing to preen in the first place.

Most egregiously, Jen Psaki admitted to lying in order to advance the Iran Deal and then deleting video evidence of that admission while serving as State Department spokesperson. Her tenure as White House Press Secretary wasn’t much better, as evidenced by our colleague Curtis Houck’s rundown of her worst moments

I will not apologize for being unimpressed by one political hack, among many, decrying the hiring of another political hack at a network known for its political hackery. Congratulations to Psaki on cashing in, I guess, but just spare us. And if there is to be a next moral lecture, try to deliver it without shamelessly ripping off Barack Obama’s 2004 “Red States, Blue States” speech. 

Click here for the full NewsBusters Jen Psaki archive.