It’s awesomely ironic that Melissa Harris-Perry – who sees a racist bogeyman around every corner – was fired after calling her bosses racist.
The host of the eponymous MSNBC show had seen her show pre-empted for coverage of the primary elections for two weeks straight and she was angry. When she was told that her show was scheduled again for this weekend, she balked and refused to go on.
In an e-mail to her co-workers, she said that her bosses were a bunch of racists.
“I will not be used as a tool for their purposes,” wrote Harris-Perry, who is black. “I am not a token, mammy or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by [NBC executives] or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back.”
Of course, the best way to get what you want is to call people racist. That’s what she’s been doing for years. But it didn’t work this time. MSNBC promptly gave her the boot.
MSNBC – whose far-left talking heads never get any ratings traction – has been trying to emphasize “breaking news” and campaign coverage – because again – nobody was watching the station.
When The New York Times got hold of her e-mail calling her bosses a bunch of racists, she tried to backtrack.
“I don’t know if there is a personal racial component,” she said. “I don’t think anyone is doing something mean to me because I’m a black person.”
They’re not Melissa. They’re cancelling your show because it’s a stupid show that nobody watches. It’s a show where you proudly wear tampon earrings. It’s a show where everybody had a big laugh making fun of Mitt Romney’s adopted grandson, who is black. It’s a show where you claim Star Wars is racist and America’s national drug policy is racist and the phrase “hard worker” is racist and the word “Obamacare” is racist and illegal immigration opponents are racists.
Harris-Perry claims to have a “racial trigger.” She just knows when something’s racist. That damn trigger must sound like a constant drone in your cranium.
One final word from Melissa Harris-Perry. Here’s her email to her staff – Note how it’s dripping with ego and self-aggrandizement.
As you know by now, my name appears on the weekend schedule for MSNBC programming from South Carolina this Saturday and Sunday. I appreciate that many of you responded to this development with relief and enthusiasm. To know that you have missed working with me even a fraction of how much I’ve missed working with all of you is deeply moving. However, as of this morning, I do not have any intention of hosting this weekend. Because this is a decision that affects all of you, I wanted to take a moment to explain my reasoning.
Some unknown decision-maker, presumably Andy Lack or Phil Griffin, has added my name to this spreadsheet, but nothing has changed in the posture of the MSNBC leadership team toward me or toward our show. Putting me on air seems to be a decision being made solely to save face because there is a growing chorus of questions from our viewers about my notable absence from MSNBC coverage. Social media has noted the dramatic change in editorial tone and racial composition of MSNBC’s on-air coverage. In addition, Dylan Byers of CNN has made repeated inquiries with MSNBC’s leadership and with me about the show and what appears to be its cancellation. I have not responded to reporters or social media inquiries. However, I am not willing to appear on air in order to quell concerns about the disappearance of our show and our voice.
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.
The purpose of this decision seems to be to provide cover for MSNBC, not to provide voice for MHP Show. I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin, or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back. I have wept more tears than I can count and I find this deeply painful, but I don’t want back on air at any cost. I am only willing to return when that return happens under certain terms.
Undoubtedly, television nurtures the egos of those of us who find ourselves in front of bright lights and big cameras. I am sure ego is informing my own pain in this moment, but there is a level of professional decency, respect, and communication that has been denied this show for years. And the utter insulting absurdity of the past few weeks exceeds anything I can countenance.
I have stayed in the same hotels where MSNBC has been broadcasting in Iowa, in New Hampshire, and in South Carolina, yet I have been shut out from coverage. 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. I have hosted a weekly program on this network for four years and contributed to election coverage on this network for nearly eight years, but no one on the third floor has even returned an email, called me, or initiated or responded to any communication of any kind from me for nearly a month. It is profoundly hurtful to realize that I work for people who find my considerable expertise and editorial judgment valueless to the coverage they are creating.
While MSNBC may believe that I am worthless, I know better. I know who I am. I know why MHP Show is unique and valuable. I will not sell short myself or this show. I am not hungry for empty airtime. I care only about substantive, meaningful, and autonomous work. When we can do that, I will return — not a moment earlier. I am deeply sorry for the ways that this decision makes life harder for all of you. You mean more to me than you can imagine.