Yes, NBC erred on McDaniel. But need remains to bridge the partisan news gap

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel speaks prior to the second Republican presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on Sept. 27, 2023. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

NBC made the right decision in reversing course on hiring former Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel to be a regular contributor.

McDaniel’s support for Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him in the lead-up to the appalling Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol made her unfit to opine on political matters for a platform aiming to inform both sides of the yawning political expanse these days.


But that doesn’t change the reality for NBC or any other national news platform seeking to be something more than an echo chamber for one side or the other. Giving air time to a variety of voices, including those expressing views some might find unacceptable, is the bare minimum needed to have even a chance of regaining the kind of bipartisan credibility broadcast media enjoyed decades ago.

NBCUniversal Group Chairman Cesar Conde effectively said as much in announcing his change of heart on McDaniel after a firestorm, both external and from within NBC News. “We will redouble our efforts to seek voices that represent different parts of the political spectrum,” he said in an email to NBC staff.

Good. A significant contributor to what’s dividing “red” and “blue” Americans is the inability or unwillingness to settle on a shared set of facts. Trump’s habit of denying the undeniable when it’s not helpful to him has contributed greatly to that. But even before Trump stomped onto the political scene, America’s political tribes in disturbing numbers were choosing which networks to watch, or publications to read, based on what they wanted to hear or see.

Good luck to NBC in finding others to represent the viewpoints it wanted McDaniel to provide. Others on both the right and left sides of the media spectrums ought to do the same. And consumers of news need to seek out a variety of opinions as well, if only to try to understand the half of the country outside their bubbles. The first step to breaking the partisan fever afflicting this nation is to bridge the information divide.