In the midst of news coverage around the presidential election, the “Melissa Harris-Perry” show on MSNBC has been preempted for the past few weeks; a scheduling change unbeknownst to the host, famed journalist Melissa Harris-Perry.
After weeks of being unable to anchor the newscast as well as having network producers try and control her topics of discussion, she’s decided to walk away from her show.
In an email sent to colleagues at the network, which was obtained by the NY Times, Perry said, “Here is the reality: Our show was taken — without comment or discussion or notice — in the midst of an election season,” she wrote. “After four years of building an audience, developing a brand and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced.”
While Perry had finally been asked to return to this weekend she claims network executives including NBC News chairman, Andrew Lack, and MSNBC president Phil Griffin wanted the show which talks about news, pop culture as well as cultural issues relevant to the African American community, to be centered around election coverage “for the foreseeable future”.
“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 Lack, Griffin or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back.”
An MSNBC spokesman has since responded to Perry’s email implying that she has overreacted. “…Many of our daytime programs have been temporarily upended by breaking political coverage, including M.H.P. This reaction is really surprising, confusing and disappointing.”
Perry ended her email with saying that she walked away from her show of four years because she felt as if she was in limbo due to the network’s lack of transparency. “It is perfectly fine, 100 percent reasonable and perfectly acceptable for MSNBC to decide they no longer want the M.H.P. show,” she said.
“But they should say that, they should cancel the show, they should stand up. And maybe it would be rewarded with huge ratings, but they shouldn’t kill us by attrition and take us off the air without telling anybody, including us. That for me is what’s painful and difficult.”