Former New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss’s scathing letter of resignation to the New York Times has a certain historicity that MSNBC producer Ariana Pekary’s similar resignation missive to her employer lacks.

Although the New York Times’ bias was as crystal clear as MSNBC’, Weiss, after all, was blowing the whistle on one of the world’s premier journalistic institutions. (Even though what she said was known already to readers of the newspaper, Weiss’s confirmation of the decline of the Times was well nigh historic).

I was inclined to see Pekary’s resignation letter as an also ran, but it really does deserve to be read.  As with Weiss’s indictment of the Times, Pekary’s of MSNBC is all the more damning because Pekary is nobody’s liberal or progressive.

Here is a chunk of the letter:

July 24th was my last day at MSNBC. I don’t know what I’m going to do next exactly but I simply couldn’t stay there anymore. My colleagues are very smart people with good intentions. The problem is the job itself. It forces skilled journalists to make bad decisions on a daily basis.

You may not watch MSNBC but just know that this problem still affects you, too. All the commercial networks function the same – and no doubt that content seeps into your social media feed, one way or the other.

It’s possible that I’m more sensitive to the editorial process due to my background in public radio, where no decision I ever witnessed was predicated on how a topic or guest would “rate.”

The longer I was at MSNBC, the more I saw such choices — it’s practically baked in to the editorial process – and those decisions affect news content every day. Likewise, it’s taboo to discuss how the ratings scheme distorts content, or it’s simply taken for granted, because everyone in the commercial broadcast news industry is doing the exact same thing.

But behind closed doors, industry leaders will admit the damage that’s being done.

‘We are a cancer and there is no cure,’ a successful and insightful TV veteran said to me. ‘But if you could find a cure, it would change the world.’

The quest for ratings is actually generally a good thing—ratings are market information. It is a cliché to condemn the quest for ratings. Pekary goes on, however, to argue that MSNBC’s drive for ratings leads to poor journalistic judgments:

The model blocks diversity of thought and content because the networks have incentive to amplify fringe voices and events, at the expense of others… all because it pumps up the ratings.

This cancer risks human lives, even in the middle of a pandemic. The primary focus quickly became what Donald Trump was doing (poorly) to address the crisis, rather than the science itself. As new details have become available about antibodies, a vaccine, or how COVID actually spreads, producers still want to focus on the politics. Important facts or studies get buried.

You already know much of this if you’ve ever watched a White House news briefing. Ms. Pekary’s letter is still worth a read and we should be troubled by the lack of commitment to factual material at the “Trump-obsessed” network as we seek accurate news moving into the presidential campaign season.