After Promising Otherwise, MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Runs Fluff Story on Sponsor Nucor

By Alex Weprin Comment

In December, MSNBC announced that steel company Nucor would be sponsoring Dylan Ratigan’s “Steel on Wheels” tour, which sees the host traveling the country to host his program.

At the time, Ratigan told TVNewser’s Gail Shister:

Critics view Nucor’s “brand integration,” in Ratigan’s words, as an unholy alliance, rife with potential conflicts of interest.

Not gonna happen, says the former host of CNBC’s ‘Fast Money.’ The show’s content will remain sacrosanct, he promises.

“I won’t talk about Nucor on the air, absolutely not,” Ratigan says. “It’s not like Nucor is trying to sell steel to the home consumer.”

Apparently he changed his mind, as Ratigan toured a Nucor factory in Seattle, producing this very upbeat segment:

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Today the AP picked up the story, taking Ratigan to task for the segment. In Ratigan’s defense, he did make clear that Nucor was a partner of the show, and it is true that consumers are not going to be buying raw steel. Of course, some of his viewers may be in a position to buy steel for the companies they work at, and that segment could affect that decision.

More importantly, Ratigan did what he said they would not do: talk about Nucor in a way that went beyond the obvious brand integration in the show’s graphics.

Look for TVNewser’s interview with Ratigan as part of our Media beat interview series, set to run next month.