It’s time to jettison the so-called political experts

Berl Falbaum

Former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna McDaniel’s career as an NBC political analyst lasted all of four days. She did not even get the chance to characterize any election as rigged.

She was hired on March 22 with the major assignment to analyze elections and, then, on March 26 she was fired following an on-the-air firestorm over the appointment.

The criticism came from every quarter of the TV talk show news land. Chuck Todd, a former host of “Meet the Press” and now NBC’s chief political analyst, castigated his employer and did so on the air. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow devoted almost a half-hour of her program blasting the appointment.

On and on it went, interrupted only by commercials.

After all, as late as July 2023, McDaniel still maintained that President Biden’s election was “unfair.” And, the critics had the nerve to point out she tried to convince some electors not to certify the election.

Come on, who would be more qualified to analyze

elections and help us understand who won or lost and why?

Well, the powers to be at NBC decided maybe -- just maybe -- there was some validity to the criticism and cancelled their contract with McDaniel.

Said Cesar Conde, the chairman of the NBCUniversal News group which oversees NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC:

“After listening to the legitimate concerns of many of you, I have decided that Ronna McDaniel will not be an NBC News contributor. No organization, particularly a newsroom, can succeed unless it is cohesive and aligned. Over the last few days, it has become clear that this appointment undermines that goal.”

Okay, even though Conde is more concerned about kumbaya in the newsroom then hiring someone who wanted to destroy democracy and suppress the peaceful transfer of power, he made the right decision. We won’t quibble.

But now we have the opportunity to keep the ball rolling and get rid of several other “tainted” talk show commentators. I’ll name a few, beginning with Reince Priebus, who has joined ABC News as a political analyst.

According to Vanity Fair, Priebus advised Donald Trump after the Access Hollywood tape became public, that if Trump did not drop out, he would suffer an election loss worse than Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater did in 1964 when he won just six states for 52 electoral votes while LBJ won 486 electoral votes in 44 states and D.C.

Priebus then made public a statement of his own about the tape in which he stated, “No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever.”

Forgetting he once had a little commitment to basic decency, after Trump won the 2016 election, Priebus served as Trump’s Chief of Staff for six months, defending him not only against charges of sexual assaults on dozens of women, but all the lies and other corruption. He is now an “objective” Republican political commentator.

Then we have Alyssa Farah Griffin, who served as Trump’s director of strategic communications and also assistant to the president. She is a co-host of ABC’s “The View” and a CNN commentator.

Griffin and several of her former White House colleagues frequently appear as “analysts,” criticizing their former boss on policies, policies they probably, at one time, defended or even proposed. They also condemn his character and lies, blatant untruths they helped to cover up when they served in the White House.

Add to the list Marc T. Short, who was White House Director of Legislative Affairs before being name Chief of Staff for Vice President Pence. Thus, he is an expert on the evils of Trumpism first and second-hand. He frequently appears on “Meet the Press,” NBC News, and CNBC.

On the other side of the aisle, we have Donna Brazile, who served as chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and is a regular ABC News contributor.

While she is not plagued with the sins of Trumpism, she sounds more like a cheerleader than analyst. I always wait for her to bring along a set of pom poms.

As can be expected given the positions she has held, all is good with Democratic policies and no Democratic officeholder should be subject to questioning from the president on down.

Here is the major point: Partisans should not be used as commentators. It’s as simple as that. True, we need to hear different voices but they ought to come from analysts who don’t carry partisan baggage, i.e., historians, professors, journalists, and scholars who have studied American politics.

There is nothing to be learned from having Brazile argue with Priebus.  It is shallow and all too predictable. For them, obfuscation is an art.

McDaniel will be the first to tell you that as she watches political analysis in front of the TV instead of participating in the studio.

Berl Falbaum is a long time political reporter and author.