"July 24th was my last day at MSNBC. I don’t know what I’m going to do next exactly but I simply couldn’t stay there anymore," Ariana Pekary wrote on her personal website. "My colleagues are very smart people with good intentions. The problem is the job itself. It forces skilled journalists to make bad decisions on a daily basis."
Pekary provided a number of examples of why she wanted to leave the cable news network.
"It’s possible that I’m more sensitive to the editorial process due to my background in public radio, where no decision I ever witnessed was predicated on how a topic or guest would 'rate.' The longer I was at MSNBC, the more I saw such choices — it’s practically baked in to the editorial process – and those decisions affect news content every day," Pekary said. "Likewise, it’s taboo to discuss how the ratings scheme distorts content, or it’s simply taken for granted, because everyone in the commercial broadcast news industry is doing the exact same thing. But behind closed doors, industry leaders will admit the damage that’s being done."
She then quoted someone she described a "successful and insightful TV veteran" who said: "We are a cancer and there is no cure... But if you could find a cure, it would change the world.”
Pekary, who described herself as an "integral member" of the MSNBC primetime show "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell," used the "cancer" analogy to describe MSNBC's coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and the racial unrest in recent months, writing: "The model blocks diversity of thought and content because the networks have incentive to amplify fringe voices and events, at the expense of others… all because it pumps up the ratings."