The feud between Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry and MSNBC continues as both pled their case on NPR’s All Things Considered this week. Harris-Perry accused the company of not supporting her while crunching her intersectional show into a political box, while MSNBC maintains that this is all a big disappointment.
“You get larger audiences during an election year and so that is exciting,” Dr. Harris-Perry told to NPR reporter David Folkenflik. “But also it’s a little bit of an irritation for us as a show because although we certainly care about elections, we don’t love horse race coverage.”
MSNBC has made the shift toward covering mostly politics in the election year, mimicking CNN in many ways, to the detriment of contributors and hosts of color who’ve seen their hours slow and their shows cancelled. Last month, in a memo MHP wrote to her staff explaining why she was boycotting and ultimately leaving her own show, she said she wouldn’t be a “token” for MSNBC’s brass. She then released a series of fire tweets, including gifs of Drake popping champagne to say that her contract negotiations with the channel were over, and later, Angela Bassett setting a car on fire in the film Waiting to Exhale. It got real.
However MSNBC President Phil Griffin argues he still can’t believe Harris-Perry left her “terrific show” and that the station is firmly planted in contemporary times, implying that he values today’s diversity. He added that the shift toward all politics all day was “real but temporary” and that before she left it, The MHP Show was “safe.”
Yet facts are facts concerning MSNBC’s programming line-up: MHP has left, host Jose Diaz-Balart’s daily mid-morning show is seen less frequently (though he pops up as a Florida political correspondent sometimes), Alex Wagner’s weekend show has been scrapped and Reverend Al Sharpton has been shuffled to Sunday mornings.
“It seems to be an air of homogenous,” said Harris-Perry on NPR. “Less concerned with questions of racial and social justice and less interested in highlighting a variety of voices that shows like mine had been in the last couple of years.”
The mounting evidence that the television company no longer supported her show’s vision became “clearer and clearer,” Harris-Perry added, so she left.
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Image via AP.