Just days after Melissa Harris-Perry wrote a scathing indictment of MSNBC’s willful shift away from powerful and necessary opinions to that of just generic news, the network has responded.
Perry wrote a letter that was released through one of her original producers of her show that explained what she was parting ways with the network. She wrote:
“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.”
She left the window open, however, to MSNBC if they wanted to pull their heads out of their asses, that she may return. She wrote at the end of her letter:
“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.”
However, it looks as though MSNBC now wants absolutely nothing to do with her and has cut all ties because Harris-Perry had the audacity to do what she does best, voice her opinion. MSNBC executives have now said:
“She’s a brilliant, intelligent but challenging and unpredictable personality… There was no plan to cancel her.”
“It’s highly unlikely she will continue… [because her email] is destructive to our relationship.”
According to WaPo:
“This executive disputed Harris-Perry’s assertion that MSNBC executives had not communicated with her, although he said Harris-Perry has never met Andrew Lack, the NBC News chairman who was rehired by the network last year after the controversy over Williams. The decision to preempt Harris-Perry’s program for election-news coverage over the past several months was made by MSNBC’s president, Phil Griffin.”
All in all, MSNBC is blaming Harris-Perry for her own departure. She wasn’t willing to bend over backwards to fulfill a narrative set by a company desperate for ratings, and because she had the courage to stand up against it, she’s getting punished for having a voice of her own. It’s sad, really. Melissa Harris-Perry was a necessary and powerful progressive voice that often brought up subjects all too many others are afraid to bring up. She will be missed.