Pat Buchanan Out At MSNBC

Pat Buchanan, the former Reagan and Nixon speechwriter and Presidential candidate who made a career out of saying things that were controversial to say the very least, will no longer serve the role of token conservative on MSNBC:

Pat Buchanan, a prominent conservative commentator for MSNBC for the last decade, is departing the channel, he said Thursday. In an essay, he cited “an incessant clamor from the left” as the reason for his departure.

A spokesman for the cable news channel said, “After 10 years, we’ve parted ways with Pat Buchanan. We wish him well.”

The circumstances of Mr. Buchanan’s departure are unclear, but he has not appeared on the channel since October, when he began promoting his book, “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?” The book conveyed Mr. Buchanan’s concerns about the effects of demographic changes in the United States, including what he called “the end of white America” and the shrinking of the “European and Christian core of our country.”

A number of statements in the book were seized upon by liberal groups, who pressured MSNBC to either sanction or fire Mr. Buchanan. In his essay Thursday on the Web site of The American Conservative, a magazine he co-founded, Mr. Buchanan cited Abraham H. Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, an influential Jewish organization, and wrote, “What Foxman and A.D.L. are about in demanding that my voice be silenced is, in the Jeffersonian sense, intrinsically un-American.”

“Consider what it is these people are saying,” Mr. Buchanan continued. “They are saying that a respected publisher, St. Martin’s, colluded with me to produce a racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic book, and CNN, Fox News, C-SPAN, Fox Business News, and the 150 radio shows on which I appeared failed to detect its evil and helped to promote a moral atrocity.”

Of course, this book isn’t the first controversial thing that Pat Buchanan has said or done. He made headlines in the late 80s and 90s when he came to the defense of a Chicago-area immigrant who turned out to have been a Nazi Concentration Camp guard who had committed numerous war crimes. At the very least, it was clear that the man had lied on his immigration papers about his Nazi past, which was grounds for deportation itself. And yet Buchanan defended him. After many years, that man, John Demjanjuk, was convicted in a German Court as an accessory to the murder of over 27,000 Jews and other camp prisoners. Pat Buchanan, on the other hand, remains unrepentant about the matter. Buchanan also once said that Hitler was “misunderstood,” that Poland should have surrendered to Germany rather than fighting in 1939, and that the United States should have fought on the same side as Germany against the Soviets in World War II.When Elena Kagan was appointed to the Supreme Court, Buchanan said in an on-air comment on MSNBC that there were “too many Jews” on the Supreme Court already (not counting Kagan, there were two at the time).  How he managed to go this long is baffling, and can probably only be explained by his ties to the Washington “old boys” network, of which he’s been a part since the Nixon years.

For his part, Buchanan has taken to his syndicated column:

In the 10 years I have been at MSNBC, the network has taken heat for what I have written, and faithfully honored our contract.

Yet my four-months’ absence from MSNBC and now my departure represent an undeniable victory for the blacklisters.

The modus operandi of these thought police at Color of Change and ADL is to brand as racists and anti-Semites any writer who dares to venture outside the narrow corral in which they seek to confine debate.

All the while prattling about their love of dissent and devotion to the First Amendment, they seek systematically to silence and censor dissent.

Without a hearing, they smear and stigmatize as racist, homophobic or anti-Semitic any who contradict what George Orwell once called their “smelly little orthodoxies.” They then demand that the heretic recant, grovel, apologize, and pledge to go forth and sin no more.

Defy them, and they will go after the network where you work, the newspapers that carry your column, the conventions that invite you to speak. If all else fails, they go after the advertisers.

I know these blacklisters. They operate behind closed doors, with phone calls, mailed threats and off-the-record meetings. They work in the dark because, as Al Smith said, nothing un-American can live in the sunlight.

Buchanan obviously refuses to take responsibility for his own rhetoric. In the end, though, I think the main reason he’s gone is because MSNBC has figured out something that most people who spend any time on the right have known for years. Put simply, Pat Buchanan has not represented the  mainstream of political thought on the right for years, if ever. Leaving aside his idiotic comments on race and religion, the man is a xenophobic protectionist whose economic positions often seem more akin to Michael Moore than Milton Friedman. To the extent that the network was bringing him on as the “conservative voice,” they were failing miserably, because he really doesn’t represent modern conservatism in any respect. That’s why I don’t think anyone is really going to miss the guy.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Hey Norm says:

    Fox always has room for another bigot.

  2. legion says:

    nothing un-American can live in the sunlight.

    This is what it feels like to be in the sunlight, Pat. Suck it.

  3. Brummagem Joe says:

    To the extent that the network was bringing him on as the “conservative voice,” they were failing miserably, because he really doesn’t represent modern conservatism in any respect.

    Absolute nonsense. Just look at some of the comment threads at Fox News and other conservative web sites on the recent sudden death of a popular female black singer. He represents this strand of current conservative opinion very well. Pitchfork Pat just didn’t fit in with MSNBC’s demographic positioning any longer. I’ve little doubt he’ll re-surface at Fox News and similar conservative venues in the near future.

  4. Joe,

    No serious person reads Internet comment threads as indicative of anything other than the fact that odd people frequently post things in Internet comment threads.

  5. Hey Norm says:

    That assumes Fox is a serious person/operation. It’s not. It’s simply a propoganda operation. Anyone who opposes anything Obama is welcome.
    5 will get you 20 Buchanan appears on Fox soon.
    [neglecting any sort of non-compete clause…which should have been nullified by his release]

  6. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    No serious person reads Internet comment threads as indicative of anything other than the fact that odd people frequently post things in Internet comment threads.

    Nice try Doug but when it’s well nigh 100% of the comments I think not. You and JJ wouldn’t tolerate that sort of stuff here but Fox News certainly did until they started to get noticed and then they took the lot down but of course it was too late by then. The fact is Fox and a lot of these far right sites exist to feed the appetites of part of the conservative base for this sort of stuff so to say that Buchanan doesn’t represent at least part of the modern conservative mindset is patently absurd.

  7. Brummagem Joe says:
  8. DRS says:

    Good riddance to the old cry-baby. It never ceases to amaze me how these tell-it-like-it-is types always go pouty when people react to their provacative statements in provacative ways. Controversy sells books, Pat, even the crayoned opuses you turn out. Took you long enough to realize that no one respects you for your brain power.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    First, does MSNBC need a token conservative when they have Joe Scarborough? If they do feel a need to have another conservative they’ll be in the position the NYT was after they dumped Bill Kristol. They’ll want to bring in a smart, articulate representative of modern conservative thought; and they’ll have to settle for someone like Ross Douthat. You want the job, Doug? You’d be better than Douthat. However you don’t represent modern American conservatism either. You say Buchanan’s “economic positions often seem more akin to Michael Moore than Milton Friedman.” I trust you realize Friedman was fine with stimulus and your party has moved way to the right of Uncle Milty.

  10. Septimius says:

    Buchanan said in an on-air comment on MSNBC that there were “too many Jews” on the Supreme Court already

    Doug, you need to get it together. Some of us actually read the links. Buchanan never said the words “too many Jews” on the Supreme Court. It wasn’t an on-air comment on MSNBC. Your link refers to a syndicated column he wrote that lamented the lack of Protestants on the Supreme Court. He was criticizing the lack of diversity of a court with 6 Catholics and 3 Jews.

  11. Rob in CT says:

    I wouldn’t have put it exactly has Joe did, but I do think Buchanan is representative of a goodly chunk of US Conservatives.

    First off, the ideology is secondary to the resentment. He feeds that rather well.

    Second, it’s not at all clear to me that US Conservatives wouldn’t be perfectly happy with some protectionism, so long as it was enacted by a guy with an R after his name. So I don’t think the ideology is actually that wacky. Rick Santorum (Righty nanny-stater extraordinare) is giving Mitt Romney a serious fight right now, for example.

    The one area where Buchanan really clashed with modern Conservative dogma was foreign policy. He’s a paleocon (and no friend of Israel). The NeoCons are driving the FP bus in the GOP.

  12. mattb says:

    For those interested, @Septimius is correct. Buchanan never used that phrase on MSNBC or the WND article in question –

    That said, reading between the lines, and within the larger body of Mr. B’s work, it is a pretty defensible interpretation of the text. And it should be noted that, historically, Jews represent only 6.4% of ALL SCOTUS justices over the years (7 Jews have sat on the bench, total). By contrast, over 32% of justices have been Episcopalians, when only 1.7% of the country is within that religion. In fact, historically, more than 70% of all Justices have been Protestants.

  13. HankP says:

    Too perfect. The longtime supporter of Joe McCarthy complains about … blacklisting.

  14. “Pat Buchanan has not represented the mainstream of political thought on the right for years,”

    That´s why I like him. There is too much common wisdom on cable news, most pundits are tiring predictable, most people operates on party lines.

  15. 8155206732 says: