Leadership at NBC raced to contain an escalating revolt on Monday as some of the country’s best-known television anchors took the extraordinary step of criticizing their network on its own airwaves for hiring Ronna McDaniel, the former chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, as a political analyst.

One by one, MSNBC stars lined up to berate their bosses on live television. Rachel Maddow, the biggest star and highest-rated anchor at MSNBC, opened her 9 p.m. show with a 29-minute monologue that described Ms. McDaniel’s hiring as “inexplicable.”

“I want to associate myself with all my colleagues, both at MSNBC and NBC News, who have voiced loud and principled objections to our company putting on the payroll someone who hasn’t just attacked us as journalists, but someone who is part of an ongoing project to get rid of our system of government,” she said. “Someone who still is trying to convince Americans that this election stuff, it doesn’t really work.”

Ms. Maddow then implored company executives to reverse their decision.

“Take a minute, acknowledge that maybe it wasn’t the right call,” she said. “It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to acknowledge when you are wrong.”

By the time Ms. Maddow came on the air, it had been a full day of rebuke on MSNBC. Early in the morning, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski opened “Morning Joe” with a lengthy criticism of Ms. McDaniel, calling her “an anti-democracy election denier” and urging their bosses to reconsider her employment.

“We’ve been inundated with calls this weekend, as have most people connected with this network, about NBC’s decision to hire her,” Mr. Scarborough said. “We weren’t asked our opinion of the hiring, but, if we were, we would have strongly objected to it for several reasons.”


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