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‘Outrage’: MSNBC Slammed for Canceling ‘Vital Voice’ Mehdi Hasan



It’s being called a “revamp,” an “overhaul,” and a “shakeup,” but media critics, journalists, and journalism experts are expressing outrage at MSNBC for its decision to cancel the weekend show anchored by Mehdi Hasan, who many see as an important voice against authoritarianism and the far-right.

Calling Hasan an “outspoken opinion host,” and “a cult favorite online for his tough interview style and impassioned monologues,” Semafor‘s Max Tani reported MSNBC “privately announced” the cancellation of Hasan’s show Thursday morning. Hasan “will become an on-camera analyst and fill-in host. The network plans to expand host Ayman Mohyeldin’s weekend program to two hours to replace Hasan’s show.”

MSNBC is also moving Jonathan Capehart’s show to 6 PM on Saturdays and Sundays, and is cancelling Yasmin Vossoughian’s weekend show.

The cable network will launch a new weekend show, “The Weekend,” which Mediaite reports “is billed as a politics and Washington-focused program. It will be hosted from Washington D.C. by MSNBC anchors Alicia Menendez, Symone Sanders-Townsend and Michael Steele on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 to 10 a.m. ET. Both Sanders-Townsend and Menendez will be leaving their weekend programs to join the new show.

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“Hasan has come under fire recently over his coverage of the Gaza war, specifically from conservative critics angry over his pro-Palestinian stance,” The Daily Beast adds. “Last month, Semafor reported that Hasan was one of three Muslim broadcasters who had been quietly pulled from the anchor’s desk following the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack. A network official vehemently denied Semafor’s reporting that Hasan and others had been sidelined.”

“The same criticism Hasan has received over Israel-Hamas coverage from media rivals, however, has also followed fellow Muslim-American colleagues Velshi and Mohyeldin, who have retained their shows and even seen their roles expanded. Furthermore, as Confider reported in September, the revamped weekend lineup was already being hashed out prior to the start of the conflict in Gaza.”

Many, including those who have been critical of some of Hasan’s views, are expressing anger and outrage over the cancellation of his show, and concern for the direction of corporate media in general.

“This is an outrage,” declared journalist and media critic Dan Froomkin.

“As the warning signs for authoritarianism are going off, why demote a journalist who is really good on this topic?” asked Don Moynihan, professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Wesley Lowery, now an associate professor of investigative journalism at American University, wrote on social media that Hasan “is the best on-camera newsmaker interviewer in journalism.” He suggested, “someone give him a livelier version of what Charlie Rose once did. If you vow to measure the impact of your investment based on the quality of the journalism, not ratings or clicks, I’ll EP the first season.”

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“Without a doubt,” wrote former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob, who writes a newsletter on politics and the media, Hasan “has been one of the most incisive anchors on MSNBC. The cancellation of his show is an outrage — and yet another example of how major media are failing us.”

“They still have a Republican former congressman hosting a show for like six hours every morning though right?” snarked political strategist, writer, and former Media Maters executive vice president Jamison Foser.

“Wow,” exclaimed Max Burns, a Democratic strategist and columnist. Hasan “is easily one of the sharpest, toughest, best-researched interviewers working today. His back-and-forths with politicians both left and right should be models for how to do the job effectively. What a ridiculous decision.”

Burns continued, writing: “I look at bizarre news like this and think to myself, if this industry is tossing aside singular forces of journalism like Mehdi, what hope is there for anyone? Clearly doing the job well isn’t protection from corporate decisions.

Sherrilyn Ifill, the civil rights attorney, professor of law and former Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), wrote that Hasan “has shown over and over again that he is so good at his craft. His is the journalistic rigor we need in this age of misinformation, lies, and wanna be celebrities masquerading as public servants. I cannot imagine not wanting to elevate his platform.”

READ MORE: How Mike Johnson Spent the Day Protecting Mike Johnson

“Oh no,” declared David Rothkopf, the foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator, calling Hasan a “vital voice.”

“This is MSNBC’s loss. This is a cowardly move,” wrote conservative and former GOP congressman Joe Walsh, who said he and Hasan “disagree on plenty, especially with what’s happening in the Middle East. But Mehdi is an important and valuable voice. And he’s damn good at what he does. It’s so important that ALL viewpoints get heard. Bad move.”

In September Hasan “grilled” GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. Watch that interview below or at this link.


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Arrested Again: Ex-FBI Informant and GOP Former Star Witness Alexander Smirnov



Alexander Smirnov, the former FBI informant who was arrested just eight days ago and charged with lying to the Bureau about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, has again been arrested, his lawyers state in an emergency court filing Thursday.

Smirnov allegedly used Russian intelligence to smear the Bidens, falsely claiming both Joe Biden and Hunter Biden had each accepted $5 million bribes. His claims were the basis of House Republicans’ impeachment investigation into President Biden.

But as NBC News’ Tom Winter reported, it’s a “mystery,” at least for now, why Smirnov was arrested again, his lawyers say, on the same charges as the first time.

Winter says earlier today at his attorneys’ offices in Las Vegas, Nevada, “Apparently agents showed up with a valid arrest warrant out of the Central District of California and took him into custody, but according to his attorneys, it was for the same exact indictment and the same exact charges that he had been previously hit with.”

RELATED: Smirnov Scandal: Experts Call for Investigations, Warn GOP of Possible Conspiracy Charges

CNN adds that the warrant “this time” was “signed by federal district Judge Otis Wright, who will oversee the criminal case out of California.”

The federal government asked for Smirnov to be detained but a magistrate judge allowed him to be released last week.

Winter reports that Smirnov’s attorneys say “they would like to know why” he was re-arrested, “and there’s no indication on the docket that the judge has granted some sort of emergency motion to remand him, basically to pull him off the streets because he’s violated his agreement.”

“So a bit of a mystery at this point,” Winter adds.

CNN notes that after his first arrest, “Smirnov was released by Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts in Nevada on Tuesday with several conditions, including GPS monitoring and the surrender of his two passports.”

READ MORE: Experts Ask if Trump Disclosed Classified Intel After Nuclear Weapons Talk at Town Hall

Politico’s Kyle Cheney posted the arrest warrant. See it below or at this link.


Image: Screenshot of Smirnov with his face hidden from camera view

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‘Reached His Limits’: Engoron ‘Brings the Hammer Down’ on Trump Attorney



New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has refused a “last ditch effort” from Donald Trump’s attorney to delay imposing the $355 million judgment in Attorney General Letitia James’ civil business fraud case against the ex-president.

“Once the judgment is officially entered, it will start the 30-day clock for Trump to file an appeal. During that period, Trump will need to put up cash or post bond to cover the $355 million and roughly $100 million in interest he was ordered to pay the state,” CNN reports.

MSNBC legal correspondent Lisa Rubin pointed to an email Judge Engoron sent Trump’s attorney Clifford Robert that reads in part, “You have failed to explain, much less justify, any basis for a stay.”

On social media Rubin notes, “Judge Engoron has reached his limits. It appears that he has signed the judgment and that all that needs to happen now is for the clerk to enter it.”

READ MORE: Smirnov Scandal: Experts Call for Investigations, Warn GOP of Possible Conspiracy Charges

On-air at MSNBC, Rubin explained that Trump’s attorney asked Engoron “to stay the judgment without Donald Trump having to post a bond.”

Robert, according to Rubin, tried to use “a technicality in New York Civil Practice saying they should have filed a motion and they didn’t file a motion, they should have given us notice. We should have been able to counter propose our own judgment.”

Engoron, she continues, asked, “‘What exactly are you objecting to?’ And when Trump’s lawyers couldn’t articulate beyond a small but meaningful error with respect to the calculation of interest for Allen Weisselberg, that was the only real error that they identified. They couldn’t come up with anything else.”

“That’s when Engoron sort of dropped the hammer on them and said, ‘look, enough is enough. You have given me no reason for a stay.”

Rubin notes that at this point, “We’re just waiting for the clerk to start that 30 day clock.”

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Nikki Haley Just Laid the Groundwork to Endorse Donald Trump



Down in the polls by double digits, former Trump UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who recently took off the kid gloves and has been battering her Republican opponent Donald Trump, just laid the groundwork to endorse the man she calls “unstable and unhinged,” by labeling President Joe Biden “more dangerous.”

“I think what’s really important is to know that the majority of Americans dislike Donald Trump and Joe Biden,” Haley told NPR’s Steve Inskeep in remarks that aired Thursday (audio below). “So we think that there needs to be an alternative.”

“While critical of both men — who she called ‘too old’ to be president — she said ‘Biden is more dangerous’ due to his management of immigration and the economy,” NPR reports. “Haley hinted that, if Biden and Trump were to face a rematch, she would back Trump if he wins the Republican presidential nomination.”

Trump, despite facing 91 criminal felony charges and civil judgments totaling possibly more than a half-billion dollars (including accruing interest,) is beating Haley, the former South Carolina governor. FiveThirtyEight‘s national polling average puts Trump at 77.7% and Haley at 16.4%. Even in her home state, Donald Trump is trouncing Nikki Haley, 63% to 35% in one recent poll, and 63% to 34% in another.

READ MORE: Smirnov Scandal: Experts Call for Investigations, Warn GOP of Possible Conspiracy Charges

Haley did beat the one-term twice-impeached four-times indicted ex-president in January fundraising, a feat some strategists say will allow her to stay in the race longer.

Haley is going directly after Trump, and “launched her sharpest attack yet Tuesday, describing him as getting ‘more unstable and unhinged,'” AFP reported.

“He’s getting meaner and more offensive by the day,” she added. “He’s completely distracted, and everything is about him. He’s so obsessed with his demons in the past that he can’t focus on the future Americans deserve.”

She did not stop there.

“It’s not normal to spend $50 million dollars in campaign contributions on personal court cases,” Haley told supporters. “It’s not normal to threaten people who back your opponent, and it’s not normal to call on Russia to invade NATO countries.”

And yet, despite promising her base she will stay in the race even after South Carolina, and despite attacking Trump, Haley is now paving the way to endorse her former boss.

“I have a lot of concerns about Trump regaining the presidency. I have even more concerns about Joe Biden being president. I mean, you look at both of these men and all they have done is given us chaos, all they have given us is division,” Haley told NPR.  “We need to starting bringing normalcy back to America and that’s why I think we need to have a new generational leader that focuses on the solutions of the future instead of all the issues of the past.”

READ MORE: Experts Ask if Trump Disclosed Classified Intel After Nuclear Weapons Talk at Town Hall

Haley “compared the ex-president to a ‘bully,’ and stressed that he failed to obtain significant portions of the electorate in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“People don’t like when he goes off the teleprompter and says crazy things like he’d rather take Putin’s side over our allies,” she said. “People don’t like it when he mocks the military. People don’t like it when he calls people names.”

Some think an endorsement from Haley for Donald Trump won’t come.

“Haley endorsing Trump would be career ending for her. MAGA will never support her now. You can’t staddle this. You are either Trump or Never Trump. There is no middle ground between Liz Cheney and Donald Trump,” says former Washington State lawmaker and former state GOP chair Chris Vance, who opposes Donald Trump and describes himself as “a politically homeless Never Trump Conservative.”

Listen to Haley’s remarks to NPR below or at this link.

Image: Haley and Trump in 2020.

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