On Monday morning, two massive media announcements went live as the Fox News Channel named network mainstay Jesse Watters as the permanent host of the 7:00 p.m. Eastern hour while MSNBC furthered its feedback loop with the Biden White House by hiring former Biden-Harris spokeswoman Symone Sanders as a host for a weekend show as well as a separate show on NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock.
Watters will officially take over on January 24 following nearly a year of rotating hosts helming the timeslot with the hit show Fox News PrimeTime (which included Watters). In an homage to the Saturday evening show he’ll relinquish and his man-on-the-street segments for The O’Reilly Factor, the show title will be Watters World PrimeTime.
Importantly for fans of FNC, Watters will remain co-host of The Five, which he formally joined in April 2017.
A rare example of someone who worked their way up from the bottom, a Fox press release noted that Watters began his Fox career “in 2002 as a production assistant” and “made his on-camera debut in 2003” with Factor segments that would soon make him famous (including his infamous trips to Florida during Spring Break).
All told, it was a safe and likely to be popular pick with their audience due to his two decades with FNC, his wittiness, rapport with colleagues, and being under constant fire from liberal media elites.
Speaking of liberal elites, MSNBC and network head Rashida Jones revealed Sanders would be joining the network fresh off of having been communications director for Vice President Harris and, before that, a top spokeswoman for the Biden campaign.
Sanders’s White House departure and MSNBC hire come amidst ongoing questions about workplace culture inside Harris’s office as a result of a mass exodus of staff. Given that and other pitfalls facing the administration, it was only a matter of time before their media allies hired someone from the inside to assist in spin operations.
Previously a CNN political commentator, Sanders will also appear on MSNBC’s other programming. As per an MSNBC press release, Sanders will “bring…spirited rhetoric and sharp political insight” to airwaves (click “expand”):
Beginning this spring, the government and presidential campaign trail alum and celebrated author will host MSNBC on the weekends and Peacock’s The Choice from MSNBC. She will be based in Washington, D.C.
Sanders will bring her expertise, spirited rhetoric and sharp political insight to MSNBC’s multi-platform channels. Her program will explore issues at the intersection of politics, culture and race and break down how decisions made in Washington impact electorates, industries, and communities across the country. She will also interview law and policy makers, top government officials, scholars, and thought leaders.
A native of North Omaha, Nebraska and a recent alum of both the Biden-Harris administration and campaign, Sanders will bring her unique perspectives, midwestern sensibilities and lived experiences to MSNBC viewers with an insider’s take on Washington and the inner-workings of American politics.
Sanders’ announcement comes off the heels of MSNBC’s strategic focus on streaming in 2021 with the launch of The Choice from MSNBC on Peacock, the streaming destination for live, in-depth perspective and news. Sanders’ show will be featured alongside original programming hosted by Zerlina Maxwell, Mehdi Hasan and Ayman Mohyeldin on The Choice from MSNBC.
Following both announcements, the CNN Media team of Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy offered up some unsurprising spin with uncritical takes about Sanders while saving the venom and questions about conflicts and ethics for the Watters decision. The liberal media also rolled their eyes in late 2020 when the Biden administration staffed up with numerous officials who were on the payrolls of CNN and MSNBC.
Of course, they were singing different tunes when Trump administration officials joined FNC and vice versa. You can check out a few examples of CNN and MSNBC personalities showing off their double standards here, here, here, here, and here.