Chuck Todd Questions His Network, NBC News, Over Hiring of Former R.N.C. Chair

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The extraordinary comments on “Meet the Press” revealed tensions in NBC’s news divisions over Ronna McDaniel, who recently stepped down as head of the Republican National Committee.

The veteran NBC anchor Chuck Todd publicly attacked the leadership of his own network on Sunday, questioning why NBC News hired Ronna McDaniel, the former chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, and declaring live on air, “There’s a reason why there are a lot of journalists at NBC News uncomfortable with this.”

Mr. Todd’s comments on “Meet the Press,” the flagship political show he anchored for nine years, were an extraordinary escalation of behind-the-scenes tensions simmering within NBC News and its cable cousin, MSNBC, since the announcement on Friday that Ms. McDaniel had been brought onboard as a political analyst.

Some journalists at NBC were taken aback by the decision to hire Ms. McDaniel, citing her tenure at the R.N.C. under President Donald J. Trump, when she regularly echoed Mr. Trump’s criticisms of the news media and, in particular, the left-leaning programs on MSNBC.

Rashida Jones, the MSNBC president, called several prominent anchors over the weekend to assure them they would not be forced to book Ms. McDaniel on their shows, according to a person briefed on the conversations who requested anonymity to share details meant to be private.

Ms. McDaniel made her NBC debut on “Meet the Press” on Sunday in an appearance that the current host, Kristen Welker, told viewers had been scheduled weeks before Ms. McDaniel joined as a paid contributor. “This will be a news interview, and I was not involved in her hiring,” Ms. Welker said.

After the interview aired, Ms. Welker was joined on the set for a live discussion panel that included Mr. Todd, who began his remarks by saying, “Let me deal with the elephant in the room.”

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