Melissa Harris Perry
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MSNBC’s left leaning prime time shows have become must see tv for me each night for the past 3 or 4 years. Chris Matthews on Hardball, Chris Hayes on All In, and Rachel Maddow host of Maddow Blog. Of course the network has never been perfect but they distinguished themselves from other cable news networks by offering a broad range of views and it was the only cable news network to have more than one minority host. The channel’s minority hosts were Al Sharpton, Joy Ann Reid, Melissa Harris Perry, Karen Finney, Touré, Alex Wagner, and Jose Diaz-Balart. It was pretty impressive to find that kind of diversity on cable news. The network also had a lot of minority contributors like Jonathan Capehart, Eugene Robinson, and Michael Steele (just to name a few). All of these people brought a unique intelligent perspective that was lacking on the other networks. Almost a year ago I started to see signs that the network wanted to downplay the progressive perspective that made the network enjoyable for liberals like me. Hardball with Chris Matthews decided to get behind GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul and predicted Rand would be the republican nominee for 2016. Chris heaped praise upon Rand and went after the other GOP hopefuls with tough but fair criticism. I didn’t understand this prediction and I thought it was very strange for a progressive network to give a conservative presidential candidate great press. Then after the Ferguson riots occurred the network covered some other similar situations where a police officer shot and killed an unarmed African American.
Then I noticed that the network stopped covering “black lives matters” protest and did not cover police shootings at all after a point. That’s when I really started paying attention because that change was very noticeable. Then came the firing and demotions of all of the network’s minority hosts. Joy Reid’s show started to pickup viewers even though they gave her a terrible time slot (3pm). I loved her show and she was a complete pro. She made it look easy and that isn’t an easy thing to do. Not too long after giving her a show, they abruptly canceled it and never really gave a coherent reason for the cancellation. She still had a contract with the network so they demoted her to “paid contributor” (aka pundit). Then Karen’s show disappeared. The show Touré hosted got canceled. Alex Wagner got canceled, Jose Diaz-Blart’s show disappeared with no warning or explanation, and Al Sharpton’s daily show at 6pm got canceled, then brought back once a week on Sundays, but not every Sunday (weird right?). The impressive roster of minority contributors slowly began to shrink as well.
Then they came after Melissa Harris Perry and her amazing Sunday show. At first they didn’t cancel her show. They just didn’t put it on the schedule at all for a long time until she sent them an email voicing her frustration with the executives
and programing director snubbing her and not giving her an answer as to when they were going to put her show back in the lineup. MSNBC knew she wasn’t going to go quietly so they told her she could get her show back for a few weeks but she couldn’t use any of her team, she couldn’t decided what to cover, and the network said they will pick the show’s panel. Melissa Harris Perry has a masters degree in political science, she’s a professor at Wake Forrest and has taught political science at Princeton and Tulane University. Obviously she knows a great deal about politics and has hosted a successful show for years. To ignore her talent and expertise and demote her to “news reader” is a huge insult. She turned them down and then things got interesting (read more about this at the bottom of this post).
All of those events have upset every progressive viewer who supported the network and looked to them for commentary on a daily basis. Melissa was the last minority host to get screwed over by MSNBC. Obviously the network has decided that they no longer want
minority viewers, and have set a course to be more like Fox News. Hardball with Chris Matthews is almost unwatchable now. He constantly defends Donald Trump. After two African American protesters were physically assaulted, spat upon, and called a slue of racial slurs, Chris Matthews said the Trump campaign look like it was “full of joy” and instead of calling Trump a racist, Chris calls him a nationalist who loves his country. Chris has also added a new contributor that he likes to book over and over again, and her name is Ann Coulter. So they get rid of the minorities and replace them with racist, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic far right wing nut Ann Coulter. Yesterday on Hardball she said America needs to close the border before “Latin American rape culture” comes over to the United States. This is the kind of ignorance that she spouts every chance she gets, so I wasn’t surprised she said that. But I was absolutely shocked at Chris’s reaction. He smiled and almost chuckled and didn’t challenge Ann’s racist statement at all. He seemed to enjoy it.
I don’t know why MSNBC decided to insult the entire African American community and marginalize their only Latino host, but it is clear that they no longer care. Now they invite white pundits to come on and explain the “black vote” just like their idols Fox News. I could list hundreds of incidents like the few I’ve explained in this post but to sum all of them up with one sentence, I’d say “MSNBC has created the 2016 version of Jim Crow where white men have the only opinions they’re interested in, and blacks need not apply”.