MSNBC producer pens open letter on why she quit: Trump-obsessed network puts politics before science, stokes racial division

BizPacReview:

  • The former producer said this cancer “stokes national division, even in the middle of a civil rights crisis.”
  • “The model blocks diversity of thought and content because the networks have incentive to amplify fringe voices and events, at the expense of others… all because it pumps up the ratings,” she wrote.

Citing the “ratings scheme” and an obsession with Trump, among other things, an MSNBC producer who recently resigned from the network, penned an open letter on her personal website explaining her reasoning.

“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,” Ariana Pekary wrote. “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.”

Citing her background in public radio, Pekary said she had not encountered decisions being predicated on how a topic or guest would rate before joining the network — she was a member of the MSNBC show “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.”

“The longer I was at MSNBC, the more I saw such choices — it’s practically baked in to the editorial process – and those decisions affect news content every day,” Pekary said. “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.

She said 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 wrote.

The former producer said this cancer “stokes national division, even in the middle of a civil rights crisis.”

“The model blocks diversity of thought and content because the networks have incentive to amplify fringe voices and events, at the expense of others… all because it pumps up the ratings,” she wrote.

In covering the pandemic, Pekary said network producers put politics before science, choosing to focus on Trump — make no mistake, she is not a fan, claiming the president is handling the crisis “poorly.”

“This cancer risks human lives, even in the middle of a pandemic. The primary focus quickly became what Donald Trump was doing (poorly) to address the crisis, rather than the science itself,” Pekary penned. “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.”

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