Saturday, February 27, 2016

#RealTalk: Melissa Harris-Perry & Racism In Media

"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."

Too often we see the shuffle of shows on mainstream cable media/networks, usually Black anchor is on the chopping block. MSNBC is clearly no different, We even see it in local media with the way stories are told and broadcast to the masses. The racism at play when it comes to MHP is institutional, and its easy to see when she gave voice to what so many in the BLACK community needed to see and hear. Her subject matter was inclusive of  Black people that live in many intersections (Black and LGBT or  ________ ).

When Andrew Lack took over after the Brian Williams scandal, he made it his mission to shift MSNBC toward hard news and away from liberal reporting. This clearly explains why other Black anchored shows have been nixed so easily, I guess this was harder to do with MHP and her branding because it was highly rated. My thing is, did Lack think we would not notice Melissa's absence?  Take her off air until she agrees to only report on mainstream White issues?

Apparently, talking about issues of the day that are not associated with the mainstream is exactly what Lack wants. MHP had this to say, "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." If there is any doubt in your mind about the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Trans issues, immigration and other issues that affect minorities actually matter to the media....YOU WERE RIGHT, WE DON'T MATTER. Anyway, this is why my blog exists, we have to be our own media in order to address our issues. We also have to remember to support our sistahs and brothas like MHP who are kicking the door open. I will leave you with this letter she wrote and know that we must stick together!

The letter that MHP wrote:


"Dearest Nerds,

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.

Yours always,

Melissa"

SOURCE: Jamil Smith - https://medium.com/@JamilSmith/melissa-harris-perry-s-email-to-her-nerdland-staff-11292bdc27cb#.ywhfzhu42