A former longtime MSNBC anchor lashed out this week at her former employer over its coverage of the Russia investigation.
In a Thursday segment on The Hill’s online streaming service, Krystal Ball, the former host of MSNBC’s now-cancelled midday show The Cycle, admonished the network for its incessant coverage of the Russia investigation.
“MSNBC built segment after segment, show after show on building anticipation for a big reveal when we would learn the true depths of Trump's fealty and direct conspiracy with Putin,” she said.
She later argued that the network’s left-leaning anchors and personalities have wasted their time making Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe the primary focus of MSNBC coverage over the past several years—in effect diverting attention away from policy issues like health care and wages. As Ball spoke, an over-the-shoulder graphic blared “Immeasurable Harm.”
“Consider this whole setup has done more damage to the Democrats chances at winning the White House than anything that Trump could ever have dreamed up,” Ball declared.
“Trump really is the crook that we said all along,” she continued, “but by trying to make this spectacular case, we set the bar unimaginably high and made Trump’s actual corruption, broken promises, and casual cruelty seem ordinary by comparison.”
Elsewhere in the six-minute monologue, Ball accused MSNBC of cynically following the Russia story in pursuit of ratings, making journalistic compromises along the way.
She directly criticized hosts like Rachel Maddow (“You’ve got some explaining to do,” Ball said to her) and on-air analysts like Mimi Rocah (a Daily Beast contributor) for leading viewers to believe that there was a strong possibility that Trump and his family would be indicted.
Ball also suggested that the “fevered speculation” of guests like New York columnist Jonathan Chait and former British MP Louise Mensch would have been more at home on conspiracy network Infowars.
“Russia conspiracy was great for ratings among the key demographic of empty nesters on the coasts with too much time on their hands,” said Ball, who now hosts an inside-baseball streaming political talk show for The Hill.
This is not the first time Ball has knocked her former employer.
During a segment on her program last year, Ball criticized the cancellation of former host Ed Schultz’s show following his death.
“I find it really ironic that they took this incredibly pro-working-class voice off the air right before the Trump era when obviously you had a lot of working class voters who didn't feel like they had a home in the Democratic party any more,” she said.
MSNBC declined to comment.