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MSNBC’s ‘problematic’ refusal to air Trump’s speech could help GOP frontrunner, Democratic strategist says

Rachel Maddow said MSNBC refused to air former President Trump's speech after his landslide win in the Iowa caucuses because the channel couldn't air "lies."

MSNBC refused to air former President Trump's speech after his landslide win in the Iowa caucuses last week, but everyone from a CNN host to a Democratic strategist said the "problematic" decision could backfire. 

Rachel Maddow told MSNBC viewers that the channel couldn't air "lies" when explaining the decision to skip Trump’s speech. The liberal anchor insisted the decision was "not out of spite" but that airing Trump's "untrue" statements live on television hurts MSNBC's brand.

Democratic strategist Kevin Walling believes it could actually be more harmful for Democrats' chances to censor Trump's live remarks.

"I doubt there's many people watching MSNBC, or CNN for that matter, that don't already have a formed opinion about the former president," Walling told Fox News Digital

RACHEL MADDOW DEFENDS MSNBC'S REFUSAL TO AIR TRUMP'S IOWA VICTORY SPEECH: ‘NOT OUT OF SPITE’

"You know, it's undeniable that he's newsworthy," he continued. "He's going to be the most likely person to be the Republican nominee, and I think you see these networks still trying to struggle with how to cover it."

Walling suggested that Trump should be covered "openly and honestly," even if the network’s decision makers don’t agree with his rhetoric.

"I would recommend you take his remarks live, and if you feel so inclined, you fact-check or you point out fallacies in what he's saying. But to just say, ‘We're not going to take his remarks live going forward,’ I think it's problematic," Walling said. "I don't think it's a winning strategy for those networks making that decision."

Radio host Erick Erickson was among the many critics who ridiculed the decision. 

"The smugness of MSNBC, which allows on Joy Reid, Al Sharpton, Mehdi Hasan – although, not anymore with him – and others to say they’re not going to air the former President of the United States’ victory speech in Iowa because he may say untrue things," Erickson said. "Have you people watched Joy Reid’s show? Have you listened to Mehdi Hassan, or the other shows on MSNBC?"

Erickson said MSNBC should "be honest" and admit they simply didn’t want to offend its progressive audience by airing Trump’s speech. 

"It has nothing to do with him and everything to do with your audience," Erickson said. "Ironically, you help Donald Trump by not broadcasting him… it’s dishonest, but it’s also rather silly." 

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CNN host Michael Smerconish said on his radio show that MSNBC erred by not airing Trump’s speech. 

"I candidly think they made the wrong decision," Smerconish said. "Ignoring a major party candidate, the leading candidate of the Republican Party, right now is not going to make him go away. And, if anything, you’re helping elect him."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S..C., also scolded MSNBC in a post on X. 

"MSNBC’s decision not to carry President Trump’s victory speech was based on the idea that they are just interested in the ‘truth’. This network and all other major networks gave breathless coverage to the Russia hoax and have virtually ignored the disaster called the Biden Administration," Graham wrote. "If you’re looking for the truth, I’d find another channel."

TRUMP STUNS PUNDITS BY 'DEFYING POLITICAL GRAVITY' AFTER IOWA WIN: 'HE'S THE NOMINEE, GET OVER IT'

Washington Free Beacon reporters Drew Holden and Thaleigha Rampersad published a video of "untrue" things that have aired on MSNBC to combat the notion that Trump could hurt the network’s brand. 

"Maddow's suggestion that MSNBC eschews falsehoods is itself untrue. She and her network have repeatedly broadcast lies and false accusations as news, in many cases about Trump," Holden and Rampersad wrote to accompany a video showing MSNBC host suggesting Trump colluded with Russia and other left-wing talking points. 

MSNBC wasn’t the only network to object to Trump’s speech, as CNN host Jake Tapper interrupted the former president to accuse him of spouting "anti-immigrant rhetoric."

Author and journalist Michael Shellenberger blasted the move as "madness," especially because both networks aired Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ speech. 

"Both CNN and MSNBC carried the entirety of the speech by DeSantis, after openly refusing to carry the speech by Trump, even though Trump won a landslide with 51% against DeSantis’ 21%. It’s madness. CNN and MSNBC are flagrantly embracing their role as propagandists," Shellenberger wrote. "What a sign of petulance, cowardice and idiocy to refuse to air the victory speech of the candidate who won a landslide primary and could be the next president." 

MSNBC could get another shot on Monday as New Hampshire voters partake in the nation’s first GOP primary of the cycle. 

The network didn't reply to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.

Fox News’ Jeffrey Clark contributed to this report. 

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