New comms VP at MSNBC hit with ad boycott, war in Iraq

SECAUCUS, NJ: It's been a baptism by fire for MSNBC's new VP of communications Jeremy Gaines.

SECAUCUS, NJ: It's been a baptism by fire for MSNBC's new VP of communications Jeremy Gaines.

In less than two weeks on the job, Gaines has already dealt with the accidental airing of commercials by major sponsors despite their announced ad boycott of a controversial new show, not to mention preparations for covering the war in Iraq.

"Having spent five years here and knowing the institution and its players enables me to hit the ground running," said Gaines, who was most recently director of strategic development.

With new programming on the horizon, he expects the challenges to last beyond the war. MSNBC caused a media ruckus recently when it announced that Jesse Ventura would host a talk show, and that it had fired liberal host Phil Donahue. Furthermore, The Savage Nation, hosted by shock jock Michael Savage, is facing protests by gay and lesbian groups, and advertising boycotts by Kraft Foods and Procter & Gamble.

According to Gaines, these high-profile moves don't mean a makeover for the network.

"We have a history of having a lot of different voices on the air," he said. "I don't see this as a drastic change."

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