Journalists at NBC News have expressed concerns to network executives about plans for MSNBC to hire White House press secretary Jen Psaki once she leaves her current post, CNN reports.
Sources told CNN that NBC News president Noah Oppenheim hosted an off-the-cuff conference call to address staffers in the Washington bureau, where some staffers had reportedly complained about the hiring as a detriment to the network’s brand. According to people familiar with the call, Oppenheim focused on the difference between the opinion programming on MSNBC and the reporting on NBC News and noted that NBC News was not involving in the plans to hire Psaki and that her hiring should be seen as unconnected to NBC News.
"Here's what he was saying: They have perspective programming. This was done on the perspective programming side. Not anything that reflects on NBC News," said one of CNN’s sources, an unnamed person who was on the call.
"People wanted answers on what NBC's role was in this and NBC News had no role in this," they continued. "This is MSNBC's perspective programming."
CNN notes that while government officials often take positions with news organizations after leaving office, however, NBC News staffers were concerned that the negotiations began while Psaki was still working for the Biden administration. In addition, MSNBC is planning on having Psaki host her own show on Peacock rather than taking the usual post-government job of a commentator or analyst.
Psaki declined to comment to CNN on Wednesday, though a White House official told the network previously that she has recused herself from doing interviews on NBC News or MSNBC. A spokesperson for both of those networks also declined to comment to CNN.
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