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A former MSNBC producer wrote an open letter on Monday explaining why she left the far-left network a little over a week ago, saying that they are a “cancer” that is “stoking national division” by amplifying “fringe voices” and forcing “journalists to make bad decisions on a daily basis.”
The letter was written by Ariana Pekary, who Fox News noted described herself as an “integral member” of MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.”
Pekary begins her letter by sharing quotes of what people said to her over the last couple of years as she pondered leaving the network due to the detrimental effect that it is having on society.
“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. “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.”
Pekary said that at MSNBC it was “practically baked in to the editorial process” that decisions on what and who give coverage to were based on what would generate the most ratings for the network. She said that behind closed doors “industry leaders will admit the damage that’s being done.”
A high profile TV veteran reportedly told her, “We are a cancer and there is no cure. But if you could find a cure, it would change the world.”
“As it is, this cancer stokes national division, even in the middle of a civil rights crisis,” Pekary said. “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.”
“Context and factual data are often considered too cumbersome for the audience,” Pekary later added. “There may be some truth to that (our education system really should improve the critical thinking skills of Americans) – but another hard truth is that it is the job of journalists to teach and inform, which means they might need to figure out a better way to do that. They could contemplate more creative methods for captivating an audience. Just about anything would improve the current process, which can be pretty rudimentary (think basing today’s content on whatever rated well yesterday, or look to see what’s trending online today).”
Pekary said that she has heard colleagues “deny their role as journalists,” and claims that a “senior producer” told her, “Our viewers don’t really consider us the news. They come to us for comfort.”
“Through this pandemic and the surreal, alienating lockdown, I’ve witnessed many people question their lives and what they’re doing with their time on this planet,” Pekary continued. “I reckon I’m one of those people, looking for greater meaning and truth. As much as I love my life in New York City and really don’t want to leave, I feel fortunate to be able to return to Virginia in the near term to reconnect with family, friends, and a community of independent journalists. I’m both nervous and excited about this change. Thanks to COVID-19, I’m learning to live with uncertainty.”
Pekary concluded by writing, “More than ever, I’m craving a full and civil discourse.”
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