Melissa Harris-Perry to MSNBC: “I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head.”
In a letter to her staff today, Melissa Harris-Perry stated she would not be hosting her MSNBC show this weekend, alleging that MSNBC has seized editorial control from her:
Here is the reality: our show was taken—without comment or discussion or notice— in the midst of an election season. After four years of building an audience, developing a brand, and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced. Now, MSNBC would like me to appear for four inconsequential hours to read news that they deem relevant without returning to our team any of the editorial control and authority that makes MHP Show distinctive.
This is unsurprising to those who follow her show (her #nerdland as they are affectionately called) which has seen a dramatic shift in tone as MSNBC struggles to cope with failing ratings. Harris-Perry’s show was a breath of fresh air on the network, and she continually brought in voices and perspectives otherwise missing from the cable news trifecta. To be frank, the only surprising facet of this story is that MSNBC’s increasingly stale (and incredibly white) lineup had a watchable show to begin with.
Harris-Perry is sending a strong message to MSNBC that she will not play their corporate media game. As a knowledgeable voice on electoral politics, it is ludicrous for MSNBC to push her voice out of the fray during an election year – particularly given her experience, as Harris-Perry notes:
I have a PhD in political science and have taught American voting and elections at some of the nation’s top universities for nearly two decades, yet I have been deemed less worthy to weigh in than relative novices and certified liars.
Harris-Perry’s story draws into sharp relief our overwhelming need for truly independent media in this country. As the internet continues to play a larger role in our media consumption, it’s no wonder that MSNBC’S ratings are in trouble. As cable news’ supposedly “progressive” channel, it’s not shocking that their viewers can only put up with Joe & Mika slobbering over Donald Trump for so long.
I hold little hope that MSNBC will see the error of their ways. I do look forward to seeing more from Melissa Harris-Perry soon, whether that’s at MSNBC or somewhere else. If she ends up somewhere else, I look forward to kissing MSNBC goodbye for good.
Featured image via YouTube