Ronna McDaniel: Internal revolt forces Republican ex-chairwoman out at NBC

Ronna McDaniel speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
NBC News is reversing course four days after it said it had hired Ronna McDaniel as a paid politics analyst

NBC News has reversed course on the hiring of former Republican leader Ronna McDaniel amid an internal revolt from the US network's top stars.

Ms McDaniel had been the Republican National Committee chairwoman since 2017 until she was replaced this month at the behest of Donald Trump allies.

NBC said on Friday that it had hired the 51-year-old as the latest paid contributor to its politics coverage.

A network executive has since apologised to staff for the decision.

In an internal email to NBC employees viewed by the BBC announcing the reversal, NBC Universal chairman Cesar Conde issued an apology to "team members who felt we let them down".

"Our initial decision was because of our deep commitment to presenting our audience with a widely diverse set of viewpoints and experiences, particularly during these consequential times," Mr Conde's statement said.

The rebellion began on Sunday shortly after Ms McDaniel debuted in her new role on Meet the Press, a marquee weekend politics show.

During the interview, anchor Kristen Welker directly challenged her for repeating Mr Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

Ms McDaniel offered a conciliatory response, arguing that she believed "there were issues in 2020" but that Joe Biden had nevertheless won "fair and square".

Immediately after the interview, while appearing on air, former Meet The Press anchor Chuck Todd told Ms Welker, his successor: "I think our bosses owe you an apology for putting you in this situation."

"She has credibility issues that she still has to deal with," he said, arguing the interview "did a good job of exposing many of the contradictions".

Other on-air talent have called on the network to reconsider its move.

Rachel Maddow - who hosts the most-watched programme on MSNBC - called Ms McDaniel's hiring "inexplicable".

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski - the hosts of Morning Joe, a morning show popular among Washington DC insiders and watched daily by President Biden - said network stars were being "inundated with calls" over the decision.

Ms McDaniel, who is the niece of anti-Trump Republican Senator Mitt Romney, was hired to lead the Republican National Committee (RNC) by Mr Trump in 2017 after she served as chair of the Michigan Republican Party.

But she fell out of favour in recent months over the party's poor performance in recent elections and lacklustre fundraising.

She was replaced this month at the RNC by North Carolina Republican chair Michael Whatley, with Mr Trump's daughter-in-law Lara Trump joining him as co-chair.

The backlash over Ms McDaniel's hiring exemplifies the struggle news organisations face as they seek to navigate an intensely partisan era of US politics.

It is not uncommon for top networks to hire former political officials as analysts.

Former RNC chair Michael Steele is an political analyst at MSNBC, while former Biden White House press secretary Jen Psaki and former Bush White House communications director Nicole Wallace host shows.