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Black Opinions

A Break of Faith In MSNBC

By Dr. E. Faye Williams

Not long ago, MSNBC was the first network I turned on in the morning and the last I turned off at night. As opportunities would allow, I was a loyal viewer throughout the day. I counted on it as a primary source of unbiased reporting, “straight” news and great discussion of issues of importance and interest to me.

Admittedly, I gave mixed reviews to the Morning Joe show. Nevertheless, I looked at the show because Mika Brzezinski routinely and effectively countered Joe’s more extreme viewpoints. I guess that association does bring about assimilation because at some point Mika began leaning more right than left – so I switched to CNN to start my mornings.

Later in the morning, I switched to MSNBC to watch Tamron Hall. I quickly became a fan and faithful viewer. Her reporting was crisp and concise, and I loved the incisiveness of her interviews.

I was rarely able to watch afternoon news unless there was significant ‘Breaking News.’ Before his evening show was canceled, when possible, I would rush home to watch Rev. Al on Politics Nation. Of course, any time of day or evening I would watch Joy Ann Reid because of her excellent reporting. Chris Matthews even said she was the smartest person he knew. Because Joy Ann often filled in or did commentary for one of the late evening hosts, there was little chance of my switching channels in the evening. Besides, I watched her in full agreement with Chris.

For a long time, I’ve faithfully watched Chris Matthews. His excellent reporting earned him my forgiveness when he occasionally went off course. I continue to watch MSNBC for the rest of the evening because I absolutely love Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell. They never disappoint, except recently when Rachel tried to ‘sell’ us on Greta Van Susteren! Giving great latitude, I forgave her for what I assumed to be her kindness in welcoming a new colleague.

Noticing a gradual shift to the right, I thought that MSNBC was making an over-reaching attempt to create greater ‘balance in reporting.’ That concession is no longer valid because I find myself viewing a network that has two new hires from FOX — Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren – two women who’ve been most dishonest and disrespectful to everything I care about.

There are few who can forget Megyn Kelly’s overly-enthusiastic assertion that “Jesus is white.” If she cared to visit the volumes of evidence to the contrary or read the Biblical description of Jesus, she might be a little less cocky. Van Susteren was no better with her assertion that the Obama Administration “went stupid” by creating a “completely unnecessary fight” by kicking Andrew Jackson off the $20 dollar bill. She said, “Give Tubman her own bill. Like a $25 bill.” Her disrespect for Harriett Tubman conveys both racial and anti-feminist overtones.

Along with these hires, I have watched MSNBC’s systematic removal/displacement of the few Blacks with significant hosting duties on the network. Melissa Harris-Perry was displaced. Al Sharpton has been relegated to one hour per week. Joy Ann Reid’s contract expired this month and her show’s future is in limbo. And, as of January 31st, Tamron Hall has left the network because the 9 – 10 a.m. Today Show segment she co-hosted with Al Roker has been taken to accommodate the interests of Megyn Kelly.

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Sadly, the NBC and MSNBC networks have made a 180-degree shift from the programming that earned them a faithful viewer. So many who gave me a reason to watch are either gone or leaving. I am left to ask, “Why are we still watching MSNBC when the network seems unconcerned about keeping Black talent in secure or prominent positions?

Dr. E. Faye Williams, President of the National Congress of Black Women. 202/678-6788

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