U.S. Politics

CNN host backs Melissa Harris-Perry’s ‘scorching’ indictment of MSNBC: ‘She deserved better than this’

Melissa Harris-Perry (CNN/screen grab)

Melissa Harris-Perry (CNN/screen grab)


CNN media critic Brian Stelter came to the defense of MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry on Sunday, saying that the controversial weekend host “deserved better” than to be silently dumped by the network.

In an email posted last week, Harris-Perry explained that she had been absent from several weekend broadcasts after the network took her off the air in favor of election coverage. And she suggested that she would not host the show again until the network returned editorial control to her staff.

“I will not be used as a tool for their purposes,” she wrote. “I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by [Andrew] Lack, [Phil] Griffin, or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back.”

Over the weekend, multiple sources confirmed that MSNBC intended to part ways with Harris-Perry in the coming days. And on Sunday, Stelter said that Harris-Perry had told him in a text message that she was in severance talks with MSNBC.

“I’m a direct time slot competitor of hers so I have an interest in this,” Stelter noted. “And I know Harris-Perry is a polarizing figure. Some people are very happy she has been sidelined, but I think she deserved better than this.”

“Harris-Perry’s talk show was unique,” he continued. “Love it or hate it, she booked people who otherwise weren’t seen or heard on TV. In some ways, she symbolized the Obama era of MSNBC. But that era is ending.”

Stelter observed that Harris-Perry’s statement about her treatment at MSNBC was “scorching.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it in cable news,” he said. “And it has led to her exit… But by marginalizing her, the channel is taking a risk.”

As The Washington Post‘s Paul Farhi pointed out: “All of the changes carry a potential perception risk that MSNBC… is diminishing the contributions of its minority personalities.”

Watch the video below from CNN’s Reliable Sources, broadcast Feb. 28, 2016.

U.S. Politics

MSNBC to sever ties with Melissa Harris-Perry after host’s critical email



MSNBC intends to part ways with host Melissa Harris-Perry after she complained about preemptions of her weekend program and implied that there was a racial aspect to the cable-news network’s treatment, insiders at MSNBC said.

Harris-Perry refused to appear on her program Saturday morning, telling her co-workers in an email that she felt “worthless” to the NBC-owned network. “I will not be used as a tool for their purposes,” wrote Harris-Perry, who is African American. “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.”

The rebuke, which became public when it was obtained by the New York Times, has triggered discussions involving the network, Harris-Perry and her representatives about the terms of her departure, said people at MSNBC, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks with Perry have not been finalized.

The flap with Harris-Perry, who did not respond to a request for comment, follows a strategic transformation of MSNBC that has swept up several of its minority program hosts. Specifically, the network — which typically finishes far behind Fox News and CNN in cable-news ratings — has been trying to emphasize breaking-news coverage during daytime hours while maintaining a slate of liberal hosts during prime-time hours at night. Like its competitors, it has emphasized breaking campaign coverage, which lately has bumped Harris-Perry from her regular spot.

The network earlier faced some outcry on social media over its irregular preemptions of Jose Diaz-Balart, who hosts a two-hour bloc from 9 to 11 a.m. weekdays. Diaz-Balart’s disappearance from the air prompted a hashtag —#MasJose — and a petition to encourage MSNBC to feature him on the air more often.

Diaz-Balart’s hosting duties are also in question at the network, with one senior executive terming his chances of continuing his program beyond another month at “50-50.” Scenarios under review include extending the “Morning Joe” program into Diaz-Balart’s slot or creating a new program hosted by one of “Morning Joe’s” regular personalities.


Black Men Shot and Killed By Police · Melissa Harris-Perry · Police Brutality

Melissa Harris-Perry’s Searing Tribute To Black Men Killed By Police

MSNBC host and Tulane University professor, Melissa Harris-Perry educates her audience in a three minute and four second presentation on her Saturday show.

The Huffington Post

In a short but powerful segment on Saturday, Melissa Harris-Perry connected the recent police killing of Michael Brown to the deaths of other black men at the hands of police — and to America’s history of injustice towards black people.

Harris-Perry read the names of some of the hundreds of men who were killed by police across the country “in the past decade alone,” from Sean Bell to Oscar Grant to Eric Garner to Brown. All of the men she mentioned were unarmed at the time of their death.

In the past decade alone, these men and hundreds of others have lost their lives to police.

“From 2006 to 2012 a white police officer killed a black person at least twice a week in this country,” she said.

She then noted that Ferguson, where Brown was shot dead, is close to the place from which the slave Dred Scott waged a legal battle for his freedom. She quoted from the notorious Supreme Court case which rejected Scott’s claim because, in the infamous words of Chief Justice Roger Taney, he had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

Harris-Perry repeated that last phrase over and over again, as images of police in Ferguson flashed behind her.

Race-Baiting · Racism

“Damned Dirty Ape!” Politico Blasts Black MSNBC News Anchor Via Twitter

Melissa Harris-Perry Jim Coughlan

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first read the headline to this story.  WTF?

News One

Jim Coughlan (pictured), the controller of Dutchess County, N.Y., who is running for a state Senate seat, fired off a bigoted tweet aimed at MSNBC political commentator Melissa Harris-Perry (pictured). “Keep your dirty stinking paws off my kid you damned dirty ape,” he tweeted. Coughlan is insisting that he did not know his target was an African-American, according to the New York Daily News.

Coughlin claims his fiery remark was in response to Harris-Perry’s comments about child-rearing. Harris-Perry, who has been in the center of the right-wing noise machine, has promoted the idea of how society needs to think in a collective manner about its children. She has expressed in the past how children are not private property and not just extensions of ourselves but how they belong to their communities. Harris-Perry’s parenting comments have ignited a firestorm of anger, with some opponents believing thinks children belong to the government rather than to their own flesh and blood.

Even though Coughlin is adamant that he had never seen Harris-Perry and was unfamiliar with her body of work, he insists that his comment was not racist at all, stating he was just repeating a well-known quote from the film, “Planet of the Apes.”

Melissa Harris-Perry Jim Coughlan

And “Denial” is just a river in Egypt.

Coughlin’s offensive comments did not sit well with Democrats or even some Republicans; some have already distanced themselves from him.

Democratic Dutchess County legislator Gwen Johnson told the Daily News, “As an African-American woman, I find this very insulting and appalling.”  The politician went on to say that even if Coughlin did not know Harris-Perry was Black, “You should know what you’re tweeting about and who you’re tweeting about.”

One Republican politician spoke about Coughlin’s track record and how many in his camp feel he could keep them from regaining a Senate seat they long-held up until two years ago. “Jim Coughlin is toxic,”  said the unidentified Republican. “The Democrats are dying to run against him in November because they know he’s the best chance they have of keeping this seat in Democratic hands.”

Meantime, Coughlin has suspended his Twitter account after folks lashed out about his controversial tweets. The very conservative Coughlin balked at the criticisms, calling them, “A new low by the Albany insiders who are scared of my candidacy because they know I’m not going to be a patsy in the Senate. It’s despicable! They’re trying to get me to drop out.”

Melissa Harris-Perry

Melissa Harris-Perry Sends Open Letter To Marissa Alexander’s Prosecuting Attorney

Melissa Harris-Perry Sends Open Letter To Marissa Alexander's Prosecuting Attorney

Liberals Unite

Three days after domestic violence victim, Marissa Alexander was released on bail, after spending ‘over 1,000 days’ in prison, MSNBC’s host, Melissa Harris-Perry, decided to write and open letter to Angela Corey – Marissa’s prosecuting attorney.

Corey helped send Alexander to prison for 20 years – for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband who was coming at her. (Husband, Rico Gray,  admitted his intentions in his sworn deposition, and had admitted abusing her physically and emotionally prior to that incident as well).

Here is Melissa Harris-Perry’s intro followed by her letter to Corey:

There is nothing like being home for the holidays with your loved ones. So I can only imagine that this Thanksgiving is particularly bittersweet for Marissa Alexander, who was granted a special pre-trial release at 10:30 PM on Wednesday – Thanksgiving Eve – after spending more than 1000 days in jail, and barely seeing her youngest child who just recently turned three.

But my letter is not to Marissa. Sis, I am saving that one for when you are finally freed for good. No, my letter this week is to the woman that worked to put you in jail in the first place: Florida State Attorney for the fourth judicial circuit, Angela Corey.

Dear Angela Corey,

It’s me, Melissa.

Angela, there are few times in life that we get second chances to right our wrongs. Well Angela, this is yours.

You have been called a fierce victim’s advocate, so it is way past time that you start acting like it.

Because a woman who was hospitalized in 2009 after being shoved into a bathtub and hitting her head – she is a victim.

A woman whose estranged husband has admitted to abusing all five mothers of his kids – she is his victim.

And when that woman, that victim, who has just recently given birth, fires a warning shot near the man that has cornered her in her home – she is a victim who feels she has no other recourse.

But that is part of the problem, Angela. You never saw Marissa as a victim. You saw Marissa as the aggressor and even justified why the infamous “Stand Your Ground” law was not applied in Marissa’s case.

Because, as you put it, she was not fleeing from an abuser, even though Rico Gray, her estranged husband, has admitted telling Marissa that he would kill her if she ever cheated on him.

You have said that the shot fired was not consistent with a warning shot because it was at adult head height. Marissa is three inches shorter than Rico Gray.

And according to you she didn’t have to get 20 years in jail. That also was her fault, right Angela? You said to NBC’s the Grio back in May: “She didn’t have to get 20 years, because I took into account their prior domestic history and her lack of a [criminal] record, and we offered her the three year mandatory minimum.”

Marissa is a mother of three. And she is a victim of abuse.
Any mother knows that one day away from her child is 24 hours too long.

And when you are an abuse victim, you have to believe that the courts will finally free you from the cycle of violence instead of criminalizing you for trying to protect yourself.

If nothing else, the last two years should have shown you that an aggressive prosecution is not always the best one.
So while I know Marissa is thankful this holiday to be home with her family while she awaits her new trial on March 31st, 2014, maybe you should spend this holiday being thankful that you have a second chance to right this obvious wrong.



Also posted on TFC’s Racial Profiling page


Alec Baldwin · MSNBC

Giving Alec Baldwin A Talk Show Is The Best Idea MSNBC’s Had In A While

Credit: MSNBC

This sounds like a pretty good plan. I can still watch Bill Maher an hour later…

Think Progress

Alec Baldwin is not always an easy celebrity to be fond of. There’s always the acting work, of course, and 30 Rock is recently-enough departed to elicit a warm glow of remembrance. But Baldwin’s his own worst enemy in many other venues, whether he’s going after paparazzi, throwing temper tantrums on social media in ways that sometimes seem in contradiction of his stated political beliefs, then quitting and rejoining it, not to mention the unfortunate details of his divorce and handling of his custody arrangements that were reported in the press. For all of Baldwin’s gifts, he doesn’t seem to have learned to manage his temper.

And if I thought MSNBC was relying on his temper, or even Baldwin’s outspoken liberalism, for the new talk show that the network confirmed today that Baldwin were host, I’d be worried about the result. But instead, Baldwin’s program, Up Late with Alec Baldwin, will be a talk show. And that’s a genre Baldwin’s demonstrated that he’s very good at during his stint as host of Here’s The Thing, a podcast he’s done in collaboration with WNYC.

Baldwin’s stature meant that he was able to pull an impressive roster of guests to WNYC, from Chris Rock, to Dwight Gooden, to Jill Abramson. And where Baldwin can be combative in other media, on the podcast, he’s thoughtful and curious, quizzing Abramson about her time at the Wall Street Journal and the role of her legal writing experience in her later reporting, or teasing out the differences between Lena Dunham and the character, Hannah Horvath, she plays on her HBO show Girls, and with whom Dunham is frequently conflated. Because of his work in the entertainment industry, Baldwin has a lot of experience he brings usefully to bear in interviews about culture. Where he’s not an expert, he’s curious, as when Baldwin asked Andrew Luck about how studying architecture and the math required for it interacted with his development as a quarterback.

Not only does Baldwin’s experience lend itself well to the format to which he’s assigned, that particular peg in that particular hole is a good expansion of MSNBC’s brand. If MSNBC is supposed to be a smart, enthusiastic place for intelligent analysis and discussion, Baldwin brings a dash of celebrity and sex appeal to that mission. It also expands the network’s coverage of culture, which has cropped up in Rachel Maddow, Melissa Harris-Perry and Chris Hayes’ shows in particular, at a time when Al Jazeera America has entered the market with regular culture segments, and Jeff Zucker, who came up through the entertainment side of NBC and NBC Universal, has taken over CNN. Finally, Baldwin’s likely one of the few figures who has a shot at success going up against Bill Maher in the 10PM Friday timeslot, where his reputation will lure in enough viewers to give his approach to interviewing time to take root. The best possible thing MSNBC could do with Baldwin is to encourage him to replicate his experience on Here’s The Thing as much as possible, and trust that his curiosity will create moments in interviews that will last into the next week’s news cycle.

Melissa Harris-Perry · MSNBC · MSNBC Hosts

Melissa Harris-Perry Responds To Criticism On Hayes: What Is It About My Ad That Would ‘Distress People So Much?’


MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry sat down with her colleague Chris Hayes tonight on All In to respond to the controversy over her promo for the network, in which she says that children should be the responsibility of communities. Harris-Perry found it particularly interesting that of all the hours and hours of content aired on MSNBC, this in particular would “distress people so much.”

RELATED: Mark Levin Rants Against ‘Blithering Idiot’ Harris-Perry For Her MSNBC Ad ‘Straight Out Of Communist Manifesto’

Hayes opened the segment saying that the only reason this has been getting a lot of play on Fox News is due to a dearth of big news. He admitted this blew up “for reasons I genuinely don’t understand,” and ran just a portion of the huge coverage Fox News has given to the controversy, leading Hayes to call Harris-Perry’s ad “the most successful promo in the history of MSNBC.”

Harris-Perry admitted “it’s not fun” to go through this, but accepted it as “the nature of public life” to get such heavy criticism. But she found it more interesting that this particular ad, of all things, is getting such play in the conservative media sphere.

“Why this? Like this, of the various spots that all of us have done, they many hours of television I’ve produced on the show, what is it about this that raises the ire?… [I’m] trying to figure out what it is about those statements that distress people so much.”

Mediaite took note of the ad early on, with a highly critical column by Garrett Quinn, followed by a mix of continued criticism and also support, especially this column by Matt Wilstein defending Harris-Perry

Harris-Perry will be addressing the controversy more in full on her MSNBC show tomorrow morning.

Watch the video courtesy of MSNBC.

GOP Whine · Melissa Harris-Perry · MSNBC

There Is Nothing Controversial About Melissa Harris-Perry’s MSNBC Promo

You may have heard that the right-wing hysteria machine is at screaming level over an MSNBC thirty second promo.  I cannot believe the reaction she’s receiving from the paranoid right.

If you get a chance check out the comments on Mediaite.  Here’s just one example:

Esteban Rey  Ima Winnah • 31 minutes ago

I thought white conservative southerners used to like it when black women raised their kids for them.

Ima Winnah  Esteban Rey • 15 minutes ago

Mammy obviously doesn’t know her role.

(D-Ed. note:) Ms. Perry is a Professor of Political Science at Tulane University.


Everything that Melissa Harris-Perry says in her latest “Lean Forward” promo for MSNBC is completely reasonable. And no, that last sentence was not sarcastic.

Since the “controversial” promo first appeared this past weekend, conservatives have been apoplectic over its content. Glenn Beck called the ad “almost a parody.” Fox News’ Eric Bolling said she “declared war on the American fabric.” And, Sarah Palin was so angry she had to invent a completely new word: “unflippingbelievable.”

Those three and others across the internet and on TV are utterly outraged that Harris-Perry would suggest that America should take a more “collective” approach to child-rearing. They can’t believe she dared to tell them that their children, don’t just “belong” to them, but also are part of a larger community. It’s those two words–”collective” and “belong”–that are at the root of conservatives’ outrage, and also their major misunderstanding.

Starting with “collective,” Harris-Perry says “We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children.” As Bob Beckel pointed out on The Five today, that word is often associated with socialism. As in, everyone works together for the collective good and shares the wealth. That’s fundamentally not what Harris-Perry is talking about here. As Beckel said, it may not have been the best choice of words for her to use, but she is simply using the word “collective” to describe the way members of a community help each other, while clearly maintaining their own, capitalistic identities.

The issue with the second word, “belong,” I believe hinges on two distinct definitions that often get conflated and confused. Someone or something can “belong” to another person in terms of being their property. Or they can “belong” to an organization in terms of being a member. This issue arose during the Democratic National Convention last September when another promotional video featured the phrase “the government is the only thing we all belong to.”

Mitt Romney‘s campaign attempted to turn that innocuous line into the second coming of “you didn’t build that” by proudly declaring in response “We don’t belong to government, the government belongs to us.” Just as Romney seemed to miss the fact that the word “belong” can have two meanings, critics of Harris-Perry do not realize that while a child can be the “property” of their parents, they are a “member” of the community. These are two very different notions that Harris-Perry to tying together using the word “belong” for rhetorical effect.

Obviously, there is something about Harris-Perry and the words that came out of her mouth that have conservatives enraged. But when you break it down, all she was saying is that by attending school every day, and living in the world, children are members of a larger community than just their nuclear families. In no way is she suggesting that the government owns your children and should have the right to take them away or make any other major decisions about how they are raised.

On her MSNBC blog today, Harris-Perry “doubled-down” on her comments, writing, “One thing is for sure: I have no intention of apologizing for saying that our children, all of our children, are part of more than our households, they are part of our communities and deserve to have the care, attention, resources, respect and opportunities of those communities.” When she puts it like that, it doesn’t sound so crazy, does it?

Current TV shows the commercial (partially) and analyzes the right-wing “shock and anger” response:

U.S. Politics

Blog Roundup – 2-11-2013


Yep, It’s a Problem
We all know Chris Christie is a bit of a hothead. I mean, it’s a bit like saying a h.


The Tea Party Fades
Ezra Klein : “The Republican establishment is reasserting control. It’s purging some..


The World After Hillary
She changed the game irrevocably, and now she’s about to transform it again—by walkin..

Don’t fall for GOP’s sequester bluff
John Boehner’s office is circulating Charles Krauthammer’s column today, ..


L.A. manhunt reminiscent of D.C. sniper case
For those who worked the Beltway sniper case in Washington a little more than a decad..


Wife drops gun at McDonald’s, accidentally shoots husband
Guns in schools. What could possibly go wrong? .

Obama weighing executive actions on housing, gays and other issues
President Obama is considering a series of new executive actions aimed at working ar..


Marco Rubio emerges as GOP’s star. But is he the answer for Republican..
Lately, it seems just about everyone is fascinated by the junior senator from Florid..


Video: GOP ritualizes penitent post-election outreach to African-Ameri..
Melissa Harris-Perry reports on the latest Republican outreach to African-Americans ..


Lindsey Graham To Place Hold On National Security Nominees Over Bengha..
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is threatening to place a hold on key administration nati..




Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

In fiscal negotiations, Obama channels ‘The Godfather’

President Obama channelled the Michael Corleone of The Godfather in his opening fiscal cliff bid.
President Obama channelled the Michael Corleone of The Godfather in his opening fiscal cliff bid.

As a fan of The Godfather, I’ve been enjoying MSNBC commentators’ comparisons of the president’s fiscal cliff negotiations to The Godfather movies.

I was watching Melissa Harris Perry this morning and she also used the Godfather analogy to describe president Obama’s leverage in the current fiscal negotiations. (The relevant portion of the video link above starts after the 30 second intro from Ms. Harris.)


President Obama presented his fiscal cliff proposal to Republicans Thursday, calling for $1.6 trillion in new taxes, $50 billion in new spending to bolster the economy, and an elimination of the debt ceiling as we know it. In the way of capitulation, Obama’s first proposal offers exactly nothing.

Whether or not the president is taking his bargaining cues from Michael Corleone is still being determined.

For film buffs out there, Mr. Obama’s offer recalls Don Corleone’s offer to fictional Nevada Sen. Pat Geary in The Godfather Part II, in which Geary demands that Corleone pay him off for a gaming license. Corleone, stony and aloof, responds, “My offer is this: nothing. Not even the fee for the gaming license, which I would appreciate if you would put up personally.”

In this metaphor, Sen. Geary is John Boehner. And the fee for the gaming license is the federal debt limit.

Most of Obama’s proposal is nothing new. Several pieces, such as the expiration of tax cuts on the richest 2%, have been hashed out in the campaign and since. “This should not be news to anyone on Capitol Hill,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Friday, in a decidedly abrasive tone. “It is certainly not news to anyone in America who was not in a coma during the campaign season.”

The White House proposal seeks to trim the deficit by $4 trillion over a decade. One trillion of that will come from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest. Obama also wants dividends to be taxed as normal income, and the estate tax to rise from 15 to 45 percent, which it is already scheduled to do if no action is taken.

Entitlements, a contentious point for Democrats and Republicans alike, will see about $350 billion in savings from the president’s plan, mostly coming from Medicare. The details of these cuts would be decided by policymakers in 2013.

The real surprise in all of this is the the White House’s proposal to give the president unilateral power to raise the debt ceiling, barring a two-thirds opposition from Congress. An even greater surprise might be that this policy was originally proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“The effect of this policy would, in general, be to finish off the debt ceiling,” wrote Ezra Klein on his Wonkblog Friday. “Republicans are laughing this off as a ridiculous, pie-in-the-sky proposal. But it’s actually a great idea—one that could do more to protect our economy than anything else in the debt deal. Even better, it would cost us nothing. Measured by its cost-effectiveness, it’s perhaps the best idea in American politics today.”

The president’s opening bid is bold. And though it may owe some debt to the Godfather, it’s certainly an offer Republicans can refuse.