For the third time in a month, a major news figure has abruptly departed an organization, citing the media's flailing culture. This time it was MSNBC producer Ariana Pekary, who decried the news industry for becoming a "cancer" that "stokes national division."
H/T: Just The News
"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," Pekary wrote in a post on her personal website. "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.
You may not watch MSNBC but just know that this problem still affects you, too. All the commercial networks function the same – and no doubt that content seeps into your social media feed, one way or the other.
It’s possible that I’m more sensitive to the editorial process due to my background in public radio, where no decision I ever witnessed was predicated on how a topic or guest would “rate.” 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. 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.
But 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.”
I understand that the journalistic process is largely subjective and any group of individuals may justify a different set of priorities on any given day. Therefore, it’s particularly notable to me, for one, that nearly every rundown at the network basically is the same, hour after hour. And two, they use this subjective nature of the news to justify economically beneficial decisions. I’ve even heard producers deny their role as journalists. A very capable senior producer once said: “Our viewers don’t really consider us the news. They come to us for comfort.”
Some personal news: why I'm now leaving MSNBC— Ariana Pekary (@arianapekary) August 3, 2020
It's not the optimal time for change but the time doesn't feel optional, anymore.https://t.co/HbZo0weiUs
MSNBC reporter quits with scathing letter calling the news network a money-making 'cancer': Ariana Pekary posted the letter online yesterday after quitting the network where she spent seven years working as a producer on shows including Up Late with Alec… https://t.co/VttvmXQ8Vl pic.twitter.com/seg93DFUsI— The Conservative Defender (@ConservativeUK4) August 4, 2020
It is action we all need to take.— Ariana Pekary (@arianapekary) August 3, 2020
I think the first step is awareness. But that is only a first step. https://t.co/lEKaZ5rY6h
“Our viewers don’t really consider us the news. They come to us for comfort.” Note on leaving MSNBC by Ariana Pekary mirrors everything I said about the news business in Hate Inc. - it's now designed to "comfort" and retain audiences, not inform them https://t.co/ggl7pRg6HO— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) August 3, 2020
MSNBC producer Ariana Pekary pens blistering exit letter: 'This cancer stokes national division' https://t.co/HHze9uC2RW— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) August 4, 2020
Everybody loves to laugh at Trump for these interviews but @arianapekary made the point perfectly in her letter about resigning from MSNBC— Tim Pool (@Timcast) August 4, 2020
It's all Trump all the time, just like 2016 pic.twitter.com/YetwDJ1hSC