- The Washington Times - Friday, June 30, 2017

MSNBC has fired host Greta Van Susteren, formerly of Fox News, after just six months, but progressives worried about the network’s recent right-of-center hires had no time to exhale.

A day ago, word leaked out that conservative columnist Bret Stephens would join MSNBC and its parent company, NBC News, as a contributor, prompting another round of outrage from liberals already incensed over the addition of conservative pundits Hugh Hewitt and George Will.

Ms. Van Susteren announced Friday on Twitter that her evening news show had been cancelled, saying, “I am out at MSNBC.”

She took the firing in stride. “I did the best job I could,” she said. “They had a right to terminate me if they did not like the program.”

Her show had struggled to attract viewers, especially when compared to the soaring ratings enjoyed this year by established liberal MSNBC personalities Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell.

“As we continue to grow and evolve as a network during one of the most newsworthy periods in recent history I have important news about our 6pm hour. MSNBC and Greta Van Susteren have decided to part ways,” MSNBC president Phil Griffin told staff, according to the New York Post.

John Whitehouse, digital director at liberal Media Matters for America, decried Thursday what he called NBC News chairman Andy Lack’s “hiring spree of right-wing pundits and former Fox News personalities.”

He said it was “no wonder” that shows hosted by Ms. Van Susteren and former Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, now on NBC, had “failed.”

“There’s simply no audience for them outside the Fox News bubble,” Mr. Whitehouse said, adding that it was the “progressive shows that Lack hasn’t touched that are succeeding the most.”

Ms. Van Susteren will be replaced by MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber, prompting Right Voice Now to quip that she was “replaced by a white guy.”

Mr. Stephens, who won a Pulitzer Prize at the Wall Street Journal and now writes for the New York Times, was blasted by Media Matters as a “climate denier and Iraq War booster.”

The networked has also added liberal personalities, including Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher and former Hillary Clinton adviser Maya Harris.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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