NBC News journalists are reportedly frustrated over MSNBC’s efforts to hire White House press secretary Jen Psaki when she leaves her current post, according to a report Thursday.
Staffers are so exasperated that NBC News President Noah Oppenheim held an impromptu phone call on Friday to address complaints that the Psaki move raises questions about journalistic integrity, according to a CNN report.
Mr. Oppenheim emphasized that Ms. Psaki will be part of MSNBC’s opinion programming, which is separate from the NBC News brand, people familiar with the call told CNN.
He also noted that NBC News did not have a say in hiring Ms. Psaki, and the move should be viewed as unrelated to the network’s journalistic work, CNN reported.
“People wanted answers on what NBC’s role was in this, and NBC News had no role in this,” a person who was on the call told CNN. “This is MSNBC’s perspective programming.”
While Ms. Psaki has not officially struck a deal with MSNBC, reports surfaced last week that she is in the advanced stages of an agreement.
Ms. Psaki has sidestepped questions about the reported MSNBC deal, saying last week she has “nothing to confirm.”
Reporters in the White House briefing room have repeatedly pressed Ms. Psaki about the ethics of negotiating a deal with MSNBC while continuing to serve as press secretary. She has insisted everything is above board, even as reports surfaced that she has recused herself from doing interviews with MSNBC and NBC.
“I have always gone over and above the stringent ethical and legal requirements of the Biden administration and I take that very seriously,” Ms. Psaki told reporters. “And as standard for every employee of the White House, I have received rigorous ethics counseling including as it relates to any future employment. I’ve complied with all ethics requirements and recused myself from decisions as appropriate.”