MSNBC is criticized by the anchors of NewsNation, a centrist cable news channel, for purportedly pandering to the far-left in its coverage of the violent Gaza conflict. In the interim, an affiliated organization of the network is experiencing internal discord as a result of a host’s vehement denunciation of Israel in the wake of the Hamas terrorist attacks.
Briahna Joy Gray, a co-host of The Hill’s digital morning program Rising, has encountered disapproval from staff members of the Beltway political source on account of her comments. Certain individuals interpret her statements as endorsing Hamas and endorsing extremist viewpoints.
During recent televised debates, she and her libertarian co-host, Robby Soave, have been involved in extremely heated and even profane exchanges concerning Soave’s claim that Hamas is supported by the “American Left,” specifically Black Lives Matter and Democratic Socialists of America.
Furthermore, the former press secretary for Bernie Sanders has faced internal scrutiny for what one source in the Hill newsroom described as her attempt to “find ways to justify Hamas’ actions,” in addition to engaging in verbal disputes with her co-star.
In recent broadcasts, Gray articulated his profound disapproval of the conflicting testimonies pertaining to the purported beheading of neonates at the hands of Hamas militants. According to Gray, it is possible that these narratives constitute a type of propagandistic fallacy designed to dehumanize Palestinians and offer an excuse for the commission of genocide. Moreover, she seemed to downplay the gravity of the Israeli youth casualties, regarding them as an intrinsic component of the conflict.
“We also have to hold space for 140 Palestinian children who have been killed in this last weekend of conflict. And it is awful, even if we don’t have the same images of them and even if they were killed from bombs from the sky instead of in hand-to-hand combat,” she said.
Another point of contention emerges regarding her apparent tendency to establish a correlation between acts of terrorism and the Palestinian resistance against Israeli oppression in Gaza.
“Violence is not a violation of international law. Resistance is not a violation of international law,” she stated on Thursday, comparing the American Revolution with the Ukraine war.
Moreover, her statements concerning the ongoing hostilities between Palestine and Israel attracted notice and elicited astonishment.
Yahoo News reported:
“So few of our conversations get to what it means to have a Jewish state, what it means to have a belief that you cannot be safe but for having a demographically rigged situation like that,” she stated in the episode on Thursday, adding that she understands the “the obviously historical conditions that make people feel that way.”
Several Hill reporters expressed concern over Gray’s “reckless” commentary, worrying that her status as co-host of their morning show would make their job talking to lawmakers in Washington harder.
“Where is our leadership? Clearly, no one from Nexstar is paying attention,” one source said. “There is no way they would be OK with this.”
Notably, the uproar comes just a year after The Hill ditched longtime Rising contributor Katie Halper for calling out Israel as an “apartheid state” over its treatment of Palestinians.
In fact, the program has been a source of controversy and friction at the outlet for some time, and has seen a fair share of its hosts leave abruptly.
Gray’s commentary has yet to be noticed by NewsNation, which is also owned by Nexstar. The channel has taken on a largely pro-Israel stance in its reporting of the conflict, similar to the rest of conservative and mainstream media, leading it to take swings at MSNBC for its “victim blaming” of Israel, specifically taking aim at Muslim-American hosts.
“That ridiculous commentary set the tone for much of MSNBC’s coverage throughout the weekend, where many hosts seemed determined to say, ‘Well, what about the Palestinians?’” NewsNation anchor Dan Abrams, for instance, raged last week.
Gray and a representative for Nexstar did not respond to a request for comment.
The turmoil hasn’t been limited to Nexstar newsrooms.
A recent controversy arose at NBC News when an employee from the engineering department advertised a Microsoft Teams event via a Slack channel that was accessible to all staff members. The primary objective of the occasion was to furnish employees with a platform to lament the loss of life inflicted by Hamas and to partake in dialogues concerning personal anecdotes and narratives from individuals with ties to the region impacted.
Yahoo News explained:
However, the discussion on the post became disorganized and tumultuous when a producer affiliated with MSNBC’s Ali Velshi raised concerns on the absence of Palestinian representation during the event. Subsequently, the engineering staff member proceeded to mention an HR representative and asserted that the discussion did not pertain to the topic of Palestinians and Jews/Israelis.
“Anyone entering this group needs to denounce terror and what happened on Saturday,” the engineering staffer wrote, noting that claims of “freedom fighting” and rationalizations “do not belong here.”
The producer rejected the insinuation, asking the staffer: “Why are you speaking for me? Your comments are extremely offensive.” They accused the engineering staffer of “equating the loss of Palestinian civilian life with terrorism and saying that I have no right to grieve, as you do.”
“You’re putting words in my mouth demanding that I denounce terror, as if I had anything to do with it,” they continued. “Not sure how you have managed to twist all this from asking, where can I, as someone with friends who are currently trapped in both Gaza and Israel, go to grieve?”
The back-and-forth was shut down by an NBCU comms rep’s reply, who promised a follow-up event for both sides to engage, but it was indicative of how the nuances of the Middle East conflict have drawn frontlines within some news organizations. (The Slack exchange was first reported by Semafor.)
Similarly, these events have also manifested in the realm of public discourse. Tate James, a video producer employed by NBC News Digital, publicly criticized chief international reporter Richard Engel for his reporting on a statement made by an Israeli military spokesperson. The spokesperson claimed that Hamas had potentially rigged the road leading from northern Gaza to the south, resulting in an explosion that claimed the lives of 70 Palestinians.