MSNBC and CNN, have faced a tumultuous year in the media landscape, leading to the announcement of layoffs and the departure of big-name network figures.
At the beleaguered Warner Bros. Discovery-owned CNN, the network continued its downward trajectory of 2021, with the resignation of Jeff Zucker, the decision to scrap CNN+ streaming service after just one month, and a flurry of December layoffs.
Meanwhile, MSNBC fared better by comparison, but still suffered losses as did much of the industry. NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News and MSNBC, will lay off employees in the broadcast and cable TV networks, according to a Business Insider report. MSNBC has also faced the difficult task of attempting to replace Rachel Maddow, who now only works one-night-a-week, lacking viewers that previously flocked to the network during her time slot.
In addition to the behind-the-scenes difficulties, both CNN and MSNBC engaged in several on-air segments that left viewers shocked, angered, and logging into social media to take part in the controversy.
In late November, MSNBC analysts Maria Hinijosa and Fernand Amandi agreed that there is no "crisis" at the border while appearing on "The Mehdi Hasan Show."
During the segment, guest host Paola Ramos even objected to the border photos MSNBC was running behind her, saying, "Look, first of all, we should stop using the kind of, actually even the kind of imagery being shown right now. You know, we should not be perpetuating a conversation about a crisis that is a human drama but that this United States is not being overrun, flooded by uncontrollable situations on the border. That’s not happening in terms of tens of thousands of people trying to get [in] — no!"
MSNBC also received backlash after analyst Matthew Dowd claimed that Jesus Christ, if he were alive today, would be called a "groomer," "socialist," and "woke" by conservatives.
While appearing on "Deadline: White House," Dowd was asked by Nicolle Wallace how some conservations were using the "perversion" of faith as a "political cudgel" in the "culture war" over policies affecting young kids.
"The entire message of the gospels of the Easter holidays was love one another. And I have said this before, and I'll say it again: If Jesus Christ was alive today, He would be called a groomer, He would be called woke, and He would be called a socialist if He was alive today," Dowd replied.
Following the Supreme Court leaked draft opinion that showed Roe v. Wade was headed for a reversal, MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin started laughing after a guest declared she want to "make sweet love" to whoever leaked the draft. However, she did not stop there.
"I would like to find out who the leaker is. So I can make sweet love to that person because that person is a hero," guest Laurie Kilmartin said, prompting laughter from the MSNBC host.
"A lot of people are saying the leaker could be a conservative. If the leaker is a Republican, and if I get pregnant during our love making, I will joyfully abort our fetus," Kilmartin added.
In the lead up to the midterm elections, MSNBC guest Elie Mystal received intense backlash for comments he directed at then-Republican Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker and the Republican Party.
During a segment on MSNBC's "The Cross Connection with Tiffany Cross," Mystal called out Walker as "what Republicans want from their Negroes" in a Black candidate. This came months after Mystal penned a column calling Walker’s campaign "an insult to Black people."
Walker later responded to Mystal’s comments, saying, "Shame on MSNBC and shame on him. I’m going to pray for both of them because they need Jesus."
Over on CNN, most of the segments that generated significant social media attention came from "Don Lemon Tonight" before the network host was moved to CNN’s new morning show, named "CNN This Morning." Lemon insists he was not demoted.
In one segment, Lemon was shut down by acting director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Hurricane Center after he asked about the effect climate change had on Hurricane Ian.
"I don’t think you can link climate change to any one event. On the whole, on the cumulative, climate change may be making storms worse. But to link it to any one event, I would caution against that," Jamie Rhome told Lemon after being repeatedly asked how climate change was linked to the hurricane.
Lemon then said he grew up in Florida and added that something was making these storms intensify, despite Rhome’s comments.
In another segment, following the death of Queen Elizabeth, British royals expert Hilary Fordwich stunned the CNN anchor into silence with her argument that African slave owners owe "reparations" rather than the British Empire.
"Some people want to be paid back and members of the public are wondering, ‘Why are we suffering when you are, you have all this vast wealth?’ Those are legitimate concerns," Lemon stated.
Fordwich agreed that the desire for reparations is alive and well, though those who want it can look to African slavers.
"I think you’re totally right. If reparations need to be paid, we need to go right back to the beginning of that supply chain and say, ‘Who was rounding up their own people and having them handcuffed in cages. Absolutely, that’s where they should start," she said.
Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick and Hanna Panreck.