ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Thursday, April 18, 2024

NBC "Drops" Ronna McDaniel as a Paid Contributor

We recently discussed Elon Musk's decision to "cancel" contract with Don Lemon.  Now, we have news of NBC "dropping" Ronna McDaniel.  How does dropping accord with contract obligations?

Ms. McDaniel was recently ousted as the Chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC).  She was replaced by Lara Trump. Trump, huh? I wonder if she's related to . . . .  Nah. Must be a coincidence. After all, Donald Trump placed Ms. McDaniel at the head of the RNC after she led his 2016 campaign in Michigan. He wouldn't turn on one of his most loyal supporters, someone who placed allegiance to Mr. Trump ahead of support for her Uncle, Mitt Romney, would he? Hey, Mike Pence, he wouldn't turn on one of his most important supporters would he?

Oh. Well, Lara Trump has little to fear. She's already married to Eric. How much worse can things get?

Almost immediately, NBC hired Ms. McDaniel to be an on-air commentator on political affairs.  Reports indicated she would be paid an annual salary of $300,000 to provide her insights. As Michael M. Grynbaum reported in The New York Times, NBC treated the decision to hire Ms. McDaniel as a coup: "It couldn’t be a more important moment to have a voice like Ronna’s on the team," as Ms. McDaniel could provide "an insider’s perspective on national politics and the future of the Republican Party.”

Ms. McDaniel debuted on NBC with some critical words for some members of her party, taking the bold position that one should not support people who violently attack Capitol police officers. Wow, that's strong leadership. When asked why she did not speak out against the violence of the January 6th protestors previously, Ms. McDaniel explained, that sometimes "When you're the RNC Chair, you kind of take one for the whole team." That little clip pretty much encapsulates how the GOP lost sight of who the "team" is. The party serves the country, you numbskull; not the other way around.  She should have "taken one for the team" by standing up to voices within her own party that support political violence in the naked pursuit of power at all costs.

Voices within NBC felt the same way I do. They demanded that NBC back out of the deal, and the NBC executives, showing little more spine than she did, capitulated. They have "dropped" her. In my world, "dropped" means that they are breaching their contract with her. She may have no damages, given that some other media institution may pick her up, but I don't think audiences on Fox, OAN, or Newsmax want to hear from her either. Do I hear CNN? 

If she can't find comparable work, NBC might have to pay her not to appear. I can't imagine that there is an audience out there clambering to hear from her. Nor is there any lack of conservative voices on NBC.  They have Marc Short, Mike Pence's former chief-of-staff, and Brendan Buck, an aid to Paul Ryan and John Boehner. Yeah, I know.  RINOs.

RNCMs. McDaniel would have had something unique to contribute to NBC news if she would have stuck to her MAGA guns.  It might be valuable for NBC to have a contributor who could honestly explain why the 2020 election was stolen and that the actions of the January 6th protestors were justified.  The challenge is to find such a person who can make those claims in a way that would be credible to non-believers. The problem is that mainstream Republicans act like they believe that the election was stolen or at least they refuse to contradict their party leader on that subject, but they have turned up no evidence of a stolen election that has survived ordinary scrutiny.  Ms. McDaniel's debut and farewell performance on NBC tells a damning story: when you get paid to lie, you lie, even if those lies have devastating consequences for our democracy. Ms. McDaniel likely has many good qualities and no doubt strives to be a good person. Yet, she has devoted her life to politics, and in that realm she simply does not know right from wrong. She is not alone.

Joseph A. Wulfsohn of FoxNews reports that Ms. McDaniel had a two-year contract with NBC for $600,000.  She is now seeking a $600,000 buyout.

Celebrity Contracts, Current Affairs, In the News, Television | Permalink


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