Bias? What bias? Harris, Bernie, Biden flack lands hosting gigs at NBC

Bias? What bias? Harris, Bernie, Biden flack lands hosting gigs at NBC
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

MSNBC gotta MSNBC, I suppose, but this seems especially egregious in converting the media space into the government-propaganda space. Symone Sanders, who worked as a spokesperson for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign before signing on as VP Kamala Harris’ comms director, will now get her own show on the progressive cable net, according to Politico, but also on NBC’s Peacock platform:

Vice President Kamala Harris’ former top spokesperson has only been off the job for less than two weeks, but already she’s got her next major gig lined up.

MSNBC announced on Monday that former press secretary Symone Sanders is joining the network as the host of both a weekend program and a show airing on NBC’s streaming platform Peacock. Both shows are slated to launch later this spring. The network said further details, including the show name, premier date and time slot, will be announced in the coming months.

Politico reported last month that while multiple networks reached out to Sanders about potential on-air contributor gigs, MSNBC had gone further, expressing interest in bringing Sanders on board as a contributor or on-air host.

When did cable nets go from “speaking truth to power” to hiring power’s political flacks to control their airwaves? The cynical answer: January 21, 2021. The even more cynical answer: 2002, when ABC News made George Stephanopoulos its host of This Week. At least ABC didn’t hire someone from a current Democratic administration to front its news, but many pointedly noted Hillary Clinton’s ambitions to run for president at the time of Stephanopoulos’ hiring and wondered whether ABC was plowing the ground for her.

This is more notable given Sanders’ recent employment in Harris’ office as an official apologist for the Biden/Harris administration. It’s not as if Sanders came from a journalistic background, although she landed a CNN commentator/analyst gig after working for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. She left that to join Biden’s 2020 campaign and then transitioned into Harris’ office on Inauguration Day as the VP’s “senior advisor and chief spokesperson.” Sanders just left that job ten days ago, so it’s not as if she’s achieved some magical distance from her job as Harris’ chief spinmaster.

Had NBC/MSNBC offered her a spot as an analyst, that would have been questionable enough given the proximity to her employment by Harris and Biden. Hiring her as a show host on multiple platforms and thus giving her the power to shape the presentation of information to viewers is another step entirely, especially while her former bosses run the federal executive branch. Why not just relocate NBC News corporate offices to the Executive Office Building? They can even use Biden’s mock White House soundstage for their programming.

It wasn’t all that long ago that NBC’s Chuck Todd insisted that there was no such thing as political bias in mainstream news media. I’d looooove to hear another explanation for this decision. I’d bet that some journalists who have worked hard for years at NBC News would like an explanation for handing a sweet hosting gig to someone whose job it was to prevent them from reporting the full truth, too.

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