Maya Wiley left a cushy contributor’s job at MSNBC in July so she could launch her campaign for NYC mayor, but you’d never know she exited the left-leaning network from all the airtime she continues to get.
Since departing from her official role at the channel, the former counsel to Mayor de Blasio has made no fewer than 18 appearances — enraging her mayoral primary rivals and earning criticism from media ethicists.
A Post review of clips found Wiley, 56, appears on shows across the network, mornings and evenings and on weekends. She is frequently introduced as a “legal expert” or professor at the New School. Her work for de Blasio comes up from time to time. But in some instances, she is identified by show anchors as a city mayoral candidate.
“She is getting more airtime than most of the other figures that have declared or said they’re interested. It’s a problematic leveraging of the relationship that she previously had with MSNBC,” NYU Journalism Professor Mohamad Bazzi told The Post. “As Donald Trump taught all of us, these appearances are a gold mine.”
Wiley most often appears as a pundit to comment on current events and offer up liberal red meat.
In an Aug. 27 appearance titled “Maya Wiley corrects Giuliani’s depiction of ‘lawless’ NYC in RNC speech,” she offered her view of the Republican National Convention. In a Sept. 20 video appearance she warned of the legal ramifications following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. On Sept. 24 she talked about the threat of President Trump potentially not accepting the results of the 2020 election.
When she is identified as a mayoral candidate, softball questions from ex-colleagues soon follow.
During an Oct. 13 interview about her campaign on “Morning Joe,” Wiley told host Mika Brzezinski, “I couldn’t imagine a better person to be discussing this with.” The host allowed Wiley to practically monologue about her campaign and policy positions.
“Joining us now:@mayawiley who has announced she is running for mayor in New York City,” the “Morning Joe” Twitter account posted that day.
The network has not granted comparable airtime to Wiley’s leading opponents in the race. City Comptroller Scott Stringer has not been on once since Wiley officially stepped down. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams appeared on air in July — but not since.
The field for the June 22, 2021 Democratic primary for mayor has well over a dozen declared candidates.
Wiley worked as a legal analyst for the network, appearing on multiple shows each week, from August 2018 until July, when she set up her campaign committee. The former chair of the city Civilian Complaint Review Board formally announced her mayoral run in October. She has the backing of current and former de Blasio staffers.
Her arrangement on MSNBC has become a source of increasing irritation to Wiley’s rivals. At least one major campaign has already complained to network management about the Wiley situation, a rival campaign staffer told The Post, requesting anonymity.
The issue is delicate in the age of ranked-choice voting, as potential competitors struggle to take shots at opponents while still making themselves palatable as a second choice option to the supporters of those opponents.
Campaign reps for Wiley’s most serious rivals, Adams and Stringer, declined to comment.
“With New York facing so many challenges, all media outlets should make the effort to give equal time to all candidates so that New Yorkers can make informed decisions on their vote for mayor,” city Councilman Carlos Menchaca, another mayoral aspirant who’s gotten no MSNBC air time, told The Post.
But he added, “New Yorkers will not elect a mayor because they had more appearances on MSNBC, but because they believe in the solutions we propose.”
MSNBC has lately become a revolving door for ambitious liberals seeking higher office — particularly as President-elect Biden prepares to move into the White House.
Jon Meacham, a presidential historian and network contributor, was benched after it was revealed he was working as a Biden speechwriter. Richard Stengel, an NBC and MSNBC political analyst — and noted anti-free speech advocate — was tapped as the Biden transition “Team Lead” for the US Agency for Global Media. Karine Jean-Pierre, yet another contributor, became Biden’s principal deputy press secretary in August.
MSNBC declined to comment. Wiley did not immediately return calls seeking comment.