Media Reporter Says NBC News Exec ‘Was Trying to Intimidate Me … on Behalf of the DNC’

By A.J. Katz 

Managing editor of politics for NBC News and MSNBC Dafna Linzer and media reporter Yashar Ali apparently engaged in a bizarre back and forth phone conversation regarding Ali’s scoop from yesterday that NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo would co-host the first Democratic Party debate on two specific nights in June: the 26th and the 27th.

Back in February, the three NBCU networks had announced that they’d co-host the debates, yet they had yet to announce the location and specific dates.

Ali got the dates and the location (Miami) before the network was ready to announce, and Linzer apparently wanted Ali to delay publishing his scoop. It comes across as odd that she was asking this of him, not at the behest of her employer, but instead on behalf of the Democratic National Committee wanted time to notify their state leaders.


“Why not?” Linzer continued to ask Ali when he said he was going to publish his scoop without being forced to wait for the DNC. “It’s not a big deal, let them make a few phone calls,” she apparently stated.

“I realized that [Linzer], the head of all political coverage for NBC News and MSNBC, wasn’t calling to advocate for her network, she was calling to advocate the DNC’s position,” Ali said during an extremely lengthy Twitter thread. “I was so surprised me that she was talking this way with a total stranger. The head of the political division was trying to bully me at the behest of the DNC over a dumb scoop.”

Tweets 20 and 21 are particularly interesting to me:

Linzer joined MSNBC in 2013 as managing editor of MSNBC digital. Prior to that, she was a senior investigative reporter at ProPublica, a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press for 10 years based in Jerusalem and the United Nations. After that, she was a national security reporter for The Washington Post covering intelligence.

Here’s the 25-tweet thread, in case you’re interested: