Actor Mark Ruffalo tweeted his support over the weekend for a petition demanding that MSNBC stop hiring white conservatives. “Sign the petition: Tell @MSNBC @NBCNews to stop the white conservative hiring spree,” his tweet said.

Ruffalo is just quoting from the description of the petition itself [emphasis in original]:

NBC had troubling ties to Trump during the presidential campaign and gave the racist sexual predator a national platform.2 Now MSNBC, too, is tilting to the right. We need to let NBC executives know that there will be a sharp backlash if MSNBC becomes another platform for right-wing hate.

Tell NBC executives: Stop the white conservative hiring spree at MSNBC…

Andrew Lack, the chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, aims to make them more “centrist,” by which he means bringing in conservative voices. Just look at the recent hires:4,5,6

  • Nicole Wallace, a former spokesperson for President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain, will get her own show.
  • George Will, the conservative columnist, climate denier and campus rape apologist, signed a lucrative contributor contract.
  • Hugh Hewitt, the right-wing talk radio host who recently defended Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, will get his own show.
  • Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren, both conservative former FOX News hosts, have been given daytime TV shows.

All of this is based on a story published at HuffPost last month. Reporter Ryan Grim quoted unnamed sources claiming that chairman Andrew Lack hated the success of MSNBC’s progressive primetime lineup which have surged in the ratings since Trump’s election:

“Hayes, Maddow, O’Donnell ― the entire primetime lineup is doing record numbers and Lack can’t stand it. It makes him furious,” said one senior MSNBC source, echoing the sentiment of many other insiders who spoke to HuffPost only on the condition of anonymity. (An NBC spokesman said Lack is happy with the high ratings.)…

Lack has targeted the network’s progressive programming since arriving at the network in spring 2015. He started with the daytime shows: Shows from Alex Wagner, Joy Reid and Ronan Farrow, as well as “The Cycle,” were canceled and replaced by straight news. (At the end of 2015, my own contract with MSNBC, which ran for three years, was not renewed; I had no interaction with Lack.) Lack brought in Chuck Todd to host a 5 p.m. show. He canceled Al Sharpton’s 6 p.m. show, and ran one from Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin and John Heilemann in its place.

Needless to say, any petition demanding Fox News stop hiring ‘black liberals’ as hosts would (rightly) be judged a racist appeal. Clearly, Ruffalo and the 175,000 progressives who have signed the petition, don’t see a problem in this case.