News network MSNBC is facing backlash after accusations of removing three Muslim broadcasters from the anchor’s chair since Hamas’s attack on Israel last Saturday, Oct. 7, began circulating online. The allegations originated from a report published on Semafor, which claims that the sidelining of Mehdi Hasan, Ayman Mohyledin and Ali Velshi is indicative of a larger divide within the network on Israel-Palestine.
According to Semafor, an MSNBC representative “vehemently pushed back” against these claims. People have expressed skepticism online about Semafor’s claims due to the continued appearance of these reporters on air: Moyhledin has featured as a guest on various MSNBC programs to provide his insight and analysis, and Velshi was reporting on the ground in Israel up until yesterday.
“We have and will continue to cover the barbaric terrorist attacks on defenseless civilians in Israel last weekend and the tragic war it has provoked thoroughly and in all their dimensions,” NBCUniversal Executive Vice President of Communications Stephen Labaton said in a statement to Semafor.
Other people have noted that these appearances are as guests on other shows, but not as anchors of their own shows.
Host of the podcast White Flag with Joe Walsh and former Ill. Representative Joe Walsh has confirmed Semafor’s allegations, though he did not cite any sources. “This is utter bullshit,” he wrote of the decision to sideline Hasan, Mohyledin and Velshi.
Semafor also acknowledged that there were external factors that influenced these reporters’ shows: for example, the representative noted that Hasan’s Peacock show is taped ahead of time, so it was “shelved” to allow for more timely coverage.
Labaton noted the difficulty of covering Gaza, not just at MSNBC but across the industry. “Many people, not only here, but across the country and the world, have understandably been struggling to comprehend the horrors that occurred last weekend and the ensuing war,” he said to Semafor. “We are giving our team members the support and space that they need during this time.”
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