The Daily Beast has always had a reputation as not only a leftist publication, but a contemptuous band of pricks buffered by layers of juvenile smugness. So, it was no surprise when they had writer Joe Berkowitz spend a week watching NewsNation and, on cue, he concluded with a piece dripping with disdain that was so thick he must of forgotten to get basic facts right, including who hosts what show and where many of them used to work.
His basic factual errors included one in this passage, which was one of many where Berkowitz threw a tantrum more of less kvetching NewsNation wasn’t like CNN and MSNBC (even though he said both can “get too bogged down in the melodrama of” Trump) (click “expand”):
In a typical segment, Morning in America host Marni Hughes welcomes strategists from both sides to discuss Donald Trump’s glowering mugshot. Hughes asks the GOP strategist his opinion on why Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis insisted Trump take a mugshot, which prompts the strategist into a nearly two-minute tirade of MAGA talking points. When Hughes finally interrupts him, it’s not to push back on any falsehoods or mischaracterizations—that first Trump interview on NewsNation apparently having crystallized “zero pushback” into house style guidelines.
Instead, she turns to the Dem strategist to ask whether he agrees that Trump is the victim of a double standard, given that recent NewsNation guest Alan Dershowitz—who, Hughes stresses, did not vote for Trump—thinks Al Gore reacted after the 2000 election pretty much the same way as Trump did after 2020. The Dem strategist offers a cogent 40-second rebuttal before Hughes throws it back to the GOP stooge for a long rant on Hilary Clinton’s emails and similarly relevant topics. End of segment.
It’s as if the host, the GOP strategist, and Alan Dershowitz for some reason, are all on the same side, with the Dem strategist on hand just to play devil’s advocate.
Ruling: Pants on fire. Hughes was one of the original hosts at NewsNation when its news coverage was a three-hour weekday evening show, but she’s never hosted Morning in America. In fact, she is the host of NewsNation Live, which airs from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
Surely it can’t be this bad, right? Well, it did.
Berkowitz opened with a whining about the existence of On Balance with Leland Vittert, calling it “a nightly opinion fabfest” and opposite of “‘fairest’ in the Snow White sense” and no different than content on Vittert’s former channel, Fox News. He then added Vittert was one of “many...Hannityville refugees” like former executive Bill Shine, but a basic consulting of their hosts would show a diversity of previous stops.
“Sometimes the NewsNation hosts seem to go out of their way to avoid saying anything bad about Republicans, as if doing so would put them in danger of being mistaken for Rachel Maddow,” he whined.
But who’s the showrunner for Vittert’s show. Oh, it’s a former executive producer for CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper.
Yes, Chris Stirewalt is their political contributor and he came from Fox News (as did fill-in anchor Elizabeth Prann), but who’s NewsNation’s Washington bureau chief? Mike Viqueira, former correspondent at CBS, NBC, and al-Jazeera.
Here’s the current breakdown of hosts and their previous stop(s) prior to NewsNation, from AM to PM. It includes a former World News Tonight anchor and, yes, Chris “Fredo” Cuomo from CNN (and ABC before that):
- Morning in America – Adrienne Bankert (ABC) and Markie Martin (KOCO 5 News in Oklahoma City, an ABC affiliate)
- NewsNation Live — Marnie Hughes (Q13 in Seattle, Washington, a Fox affiliate)
- NewsNation Now — Nichole Berlie (WCVB, Boston, Massachusetts’s ABC affiliate), incoming anchor Connell McShane (Fox Business Network), and rotating anchors such as Keleigh Beeson (KMBC, Kansas City, Missouri’s ABC affiliate) and Natasha Zouves (KGO, San Francisco, California’s ABC affiliate)
- The Hill — Blake Burman (Fox Business)
- Elizabeth Vargas Reports — Elizabeth Vargas (A&E and ABC, including anchor of World News Tonight in 2006)
- On Balance — Leland Vittert (Fox News Channel)
- Cuomo — Chris Cuomo (CNN and ABC)
- Dan Abrams Live — Dan Abrams (A&E, MSNBC, and current ABC chief legal analyst)
- Banfield — Ashleigh Banfield (CNN)
- NewsNation Prime (weekends) — Zouves (see above)
Doesn’t sound like it’s a bastion of former Fox News personalities?
How about their White House correspondents, such as the one who just left the network, Allison Harris? She’s married to current NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Garrett Haake. How about frequent Morning in America fill-in co-host Nick Smith? iHeartRadio host and then WTTG, Washington D.C.’s Fox affiliate.
Here’s a few other correspondents: Emily Finn (One America News), Joe Khalil (NewsNation parent company Nexstar’s D.C. bureau), Kellie Meyer (Nexstar’s D.C. bureau and WCVI, the U.S. Virgin Islands’s CBS affiliate), Ali Bradley (Fox affiliates in Seattle, Washington and York, Pennsylvania), Brian Entin (WSVN, Miami, Florida’s Fox affiliate), Nancy Loo (WGN in Chicago), Evan Lambert (WTTG, Washington D.C.’s Fox affiliate), Robert Sherman (WIAT, Birmingham, Alabama’s CBS affiliate), and Jorge Ventura (Daily Caller).
We’re approaching dead horse territory, but Berkowitz seemed hellbent on embarrassing himself in the piece that he claimed was merely “a Yassified Fox News—with all unseemly biases artificially buffed and ironed into a centrist façade” and fixating on how some of the first hires left the network.
Was that NewsNation focuses on the border? Or drug addiction? Or other topics Americans actually care about, and not just all Trump scandals, all the time? He wouldn’t say.
After failing to understand how post-debate coverage works as he was incensed 2024 GOP candidate surrogates took up airtime praising their boss’s performance, he claimed (click “expand”):
Left-leaning voices are heard on NewsNation rarely, briefly, and cursorily—as if to tick a box.
NewsNation is a both-sides news organization only in that its coverage is aimed at both Never Trumpers and Maybe Trumpers—Republicans who find the former president a tad too gauche, but still preferable to Joe Biden. The fact that the country is currently in shambles thanks to Biden’s leadership is a narrative that runs unopposed throughout the week. Contempt for the president oozes out of practically all NewsNation programming. Even when the hosts aren’t directly contributing to that atmosphere, it’s the air they’re breathing in. One segment that should be about how conservatives rallied around a low-resolution video to falsely claim Biden conked out at a Maui memorial service instead treats the topic as an ongoing question—even after also airing the high-res version that debunks it.
A trip down their contributor list and frequent guests showed all kinds of liberals who worked for big names, such as Chris Hahn (former Chuck Schumer aide), Johanna Maska (Obama national security official), Kurt Bardella (who needs no introduction), Michael Starr Hopkins (former Manhattan Public Defender and Daily Beast columnist), Richard Goodstein (Bill and Hillary Clinton aide), Max Burns (Congressman Andre Carson), Stephanie Schriock (former EMILY’s List president), and Scott Bolden (former D.C. Democratic Party chairman).
Conservative and right-of-center contributors or frequent guests include (in no particular order) Mick Mulvaney, George Will, Morgan Ortagus, Carrie Sheffield, Sean Spicer, Bill O’Reilly, Tony Katz, Boyd Matheson (former aide to Senator Mike Lee), Steve Krakauer, and even our buddy Vince Coglianese.
Finally, he also made this claim prior to accusing NewsNation of being “untethered to reality” because they won’t describe Donald Trump as a megalomanic:
NewsNation treats Trump’s indictments like potential baggage; as though he stood accused of mild tax evasion decades ago, rather than recently plotting to overturn an election, obstructing justice, mishandling nuclear secrets, and dozens of other extremely serious charges. Everyone on-air seems to regard the GOP’s continued love affair with him as a questionable quirk, not an unmistakable sign of rot from within the party.
A simple perusing of their coverage from said time period found all kinds of guests saying the Georgia charges (and the other three cases) against Trump were serious. It included historian Douglas Brinkley, who’d never be confused with being pro-MAGA.
Also that day, criminal defense attorney Jon Sale said: “If I were his lawyer, I would really cringe.”
Towards the end of the piece, he complained that “[a]t least Fox News has the guts to live its partisanship out loud while NewsNation cloaks theirs in the jazz notes of what isn’t being said.”
What planet was he on? Whichever it was, it sure seemed like he wrote the piece before he actually watched NewsNation.