Chris Jansing pledges ‘the straight story’ with new MSNBC anchor gig
Chris Jansing says she’s ready to focus on the facts and “old-fashioned good news” as the new anchor of “MSNBC’s Chris Jansing Reports.”
“I don’t remember a time this intense, and in many ways as consequential to everyday Americans, back to back to back,” Jansing tells ITK in an interview this week ahead of her debut Thursday as the face of the cable network’s 1 p.m. hour.
“It’s unrelenting,” she said, citing inflation, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Supreme Court’s leaked draft ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the midterm elections and the COVID-19 pandemic. “And so part of what we want to do is have a safe place essentially for people to come and know that we’re going to give them the straight story. That’s all — it’s just the straight story.”
The veteran journalist — who’s spent more than two decades at MSNBC — was named the new anchor earlier this month, following a programming shuffle that saw the Chuck Todd-hosted “Meet the Press Daily” move to NBC News’s streaming platform.
The rejiggering also comes amid MSNBC’s wave of big-name hires among former Biden administration officials. Symone Sanders, Vice President Harris’s former chief spokeswoman, launched her eponymous weekend show on MSNBC in early May, while on Tuesday ex-White House press secretary Jen Psaki was named as host of a new streaming program premiering next year.
Asked if the opinion programming headed by prominent Democrats affects her work, Jansing replied, “It doesn’t. And I’ll say honestly: Next month I will have been at MSNBC and NBC News for 23 years, and never once in 23 years has anybody at MSNBC ever suggested to me that I should slant my reporting in any way. And if they did, I couldn’t work there.”
“Do people know the difference between what I do and what Symone does? Of course they do,” Jansing said. “And do they come to us for different purposes? I do believe that they do.”
“I think that there’s a place for that reporting, that analysis, that opinion. I watch it myself. And I’ve always believed — again, going back to the old-fashioned reporting — that if you give people both sides of the story, it allows them to make an important decision,” she added.
Talking to ITK from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport following her reporting on Georgia’s primary elections, Jansing said she expects to continue racking up the frequent flyer miles covering not only huge, breaking news events, but also issues that “deserve more attention.”
“I’ve traveled literally around the world,” the senior national correspondent said. “And there’s no substitute for being there for a big story. So that is absolutely something that we’re going to prioritize, is being on the ground where big news happens.”
While she has the focus for “MSNBC’s Chris Jansing Reports” mapped out, Jansing said her lunchtime plans are a different story.
“I have filled in every single hour of the day on MSNBC, and it’s a question I always ask: When am I supposed to eat? Because I’m hungry pretty much all the time,” Jansing said.
“Honestly, it’s going to have to be early breakfast, early light lunch, second light lunch mid-day before dinner.”
“If you watch MSNBC, you’ve seen a hangry Chris Jansing. It’s not pretty,” she quipped.
One of 12 children growing up in Ohio, Jansing credits her career to her super-sized family.
At her father’s urging, the whole brood used to sit down together every night to watch the evening newscasts.
“It was really important to him that not just his children be educated, but that they take part in the democratic process,” Jansing, 65, recalled.
“But I think more than that, for the reporting part of it, when you’re the youngest of 12, you have to ask a lot of questions or you will be left in the dust,” Jansing said.
“It’s a true story that my oldest sister — who was nearly 20 years older when she left the house right about the time I was born — I did not realize she was my sister until I was about 4½ years old.”
“She’d come over and visit all the time and then I heard her call my mom ‘Mom.’ And I said, ‘Why are you calling her mom?’ And she said, ‘Because she’s my mother. I’m your sister,’” Jansing said.
“So I learned early on that asking questions is a pretty good way to get information.”