NBC News journalists "are troubled by" and have "expressed dismay" at MSNBC's plan to hire White House press secretary Jen Psaki after she exits the Biden administration this spring.
"Vexed staffers from the Washington bureau" had an "impromptu phone call" Friday with NBC News president Noah Oppenheim about the Psaki hiring, CNN reported. Some of the employees have also "complained to their superiors that the tentative hiring tarnishes the NBC News brand."
The staffers noted that negotiations between MSNBC and Psaki are happening "while she is still in her post as White House press secretary." Instead of giving Psaki a political analyst position, moreover, "MSNBC intends to make her a host" of her own streaming show.
Instead of answering journalists' concerns, Oppenheimer "reaffirmed the distinction … between NBC News and MSNBC's opinion programming" and told employees "to continue doing their jobs as normal."
This isn't the first time MSNBC's partisanship has bothered NBC journalists. Some reporters were irked when MSNBC hired Vice President Kamala Harris's former spokeswoman Symone Sanders to host a weekend show.
"NBC News journalists have watched closely as MSNBC has leaned into shows that prioritize commentary and perspective over those that emphasize hard news reporting," CNN wrote. Sources at MSNBC laid the blame on network president Rashida Jones, who took over about a year ago.
"Rashida is unapologetic with what she's doing with MSNBC," one source said. "She has been clear about the network's direction."
Multiple left-leaning networks wanted to hire Psaki, Puck reported in February. CNN "feverishly" courted the White House press secretary but lost out to MSNBC.