Troubled by recent reports about turmoil regarding Lawrence O’Donnell’s contract negotiations with MSNBC, fans of the progressive talk show host plan on marching in protest against the channel this week.
According to a report by Salon, the event is scheduled for Thursday at NBC and MSNBC headquarters at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. The protest is organized by Annie Salas.
“I haven’t done anything like this before,” she told Salon. “But after having gone to the Women’s March and the climate change march, I felt like it was time to address something here in New York.”
Tensions within MSNBC have garnered media attention over recent weeks. O’Donnell has taken his frustrations about the contract negotiations public, and reports last week suggest that MSNBC president Phil Griffin, who’s behind the network’s successful prime time lineup, might be getting axed soon as well.
“When you go through the checklist of the things that autocrats do to manipulate the press, they’re just doing them all,” Salas told Salon. “The resistance that Lawrence O’Donnell is getting isn’t a coincidence given the Trump administration’s attempts to stifle the press.”
The resistance to O’Donnell’s sacking appears totally organic. Salas says she has no contact with anyone at MSNBC and claims her protest is simply a reflection of passionate fans.
MSNBC / NBC News Chairman Andy Lack has been steadily chipping away at MSNBC’s progressive programming and hosts in favor of conservative programs and contributors — despite the ratings surge being enjoyed by MSNBC’s liberal shows. Lack is believed to be aiming to dump O’Donnell and replace his 10 pm show with one anchored by his close friend, the disgraced former NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams.
Lack, 70, may also be moving to fire Griffin, the MSNBC president, following a series of HuffPost articles questioning Lack’s leadership and programming decisions. According to HuffPost, Lack, who is famous for his titanic ego and love of executive perquisites, bristles at any suggestion that MSNBC’s recent ratings surge has anything to do with the current political climate. He prefers to credit his own programming gifts.
Replacing O’Donnell with Williams would put Williams — fired from NBC for making up self-aggrandizing stories — one step closer to reclaiming his Nightly News chair. For an executive of Lack’s vintage, archaic programming like the broadcast evening news can remain a bigger priority than cable.