Liberal media advocates are howling in protest over MSNBC’s decision this week to nix Mehdi Hasan’s weekend program, saying the optics of removing a Muslim host during Israel’s war with Gaza is at best a serious miscalculation.
According to The Washington Post, an array of liberals from Democratic congressmen to former MSNBC hosts were furious when the news was announced, praising Hasan as one of the few network hosts willing to grill his guests, especially representatives of the Israeli government about civilian deaths in Gaza. While other weekend hosts who lost their standalone shows were granted new opportunities, Hasan was demoted to fill-in host and political analyst.
The result prompted outrage from Congresswoman Ro Khanna (D-CA).
“It is bad optics for MSNBC to cancel @mehdirhasan’s show right at a time when he is vocal for human rights in Gaza with the war ongoing,” he wrote. “As a strong supporter of free speech, MSNBC owes the public an explanation for this decision. Why would they choose to do this now?”
It is bad optics for MSNBC to cancel @mehdirhasan’s show right at a time when he is vocal for human rights in Gaza with the war ongoing. As a strong supporter of free speech, MSNBC owes the public an explanation for this decision. Why would they choose to do this now?
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) November 30, 2023
MSNBC canceled Mehdi Hasan's show. Because, of course, they did. It's not just because he treats Muslims as real human beings, it's also because he actually challenges his guests. And that is the biggest heresy in mainstream media. Access must be protected!
— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) November 30, 2023
A source at MSNBC familiar with the move said it was unrelated to Hasan’s posturing against guests, but rather he lack of viewership. While Hasan’s show attracted more viewers in September than CNN’s 8 p.m. offering, it regularly came in third place among the 25-to-54 demographic most valued by advertisers and averaged just 532,000 total viewers in October.
Hasan, who has compared former President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, has so far been silent about the development, instead posting criticisms of Elon Musk, Israel, or anything else that gets under his skin. His hyperbole is in good company at MSNBC, where hosts and guests have claimed Trump will control the Justice Department’s authority and have called for him to be shot, put in jail, and to legislate a new Patriot Act to target conservatives.
Earlier this week, President Trump attacked CEO Brian Roberts of Comcast, which owns MSNBC, accusing the executive of allowing his network to illegally profit from free government airwaves while launching political hit jobs against him.
“MSNBC (MSDNC) uses FREE government approved airwaves, and yet it is nothing but a 24-hour hit job on Donald J. Trump and the Republican Party for purposes of ELECTION INTERFERENCE,” Trump wrote. “Brian Roberts, its Chairman and CEO, is a slimeball who has been able to get away with these constant attacks for years. It is the world’s biggest political contribution to the Radical Left Democrats who, by the way, are destroying our Country. Our so-called “government” should come down hard on them and make them pay for their illegal political activity,” he wrote on Truth Social.