Big Deal: MSNBC Had a Program With Black Hosts and Black Guests Discussing ‘Non-Black’ Issues (Say What?)


*Nope. I’m not being facetious in the headline. This was a big deal!

If you were one of the astute observers who switched your channel to  MSNBC on July 11 in the 6 p.m. hour, you may have noticed something pretty out of the ordinary. Oh, it may not have been immediately apparent – but chances are, after the first station-break you had one of those “Hey, wait a minute…” revelations. What the heck am I talking about?

Bear with me a moment longer.

You may have, at first glance, seen the usual host and panel speaking on topics such as the tragic, much-covered death of an infant left in a car; or even the latest victim of police brutality. But then, just as you were about to settle in with that quart of ice cream you realized…

The host is African American, the panel is African American, and the issues they are talking about is…wait for it…not exclusively African American. Hot dang! Because network and cable news have long been a bastion of whitedom, with white hosts and commentators – black guests were typically brought in to discuss topics traditionally associated with the African-American community: police brutality, voting rights, gun violence and President Barack Obama’s appeal to minority voters.

But in the July segment of “The ED Show,” on MSNBC, every person on camera — the host and the two guests — were African-American. That such a phenomenon is new, of course, is itself a broad indictment. But on MSNBC and occasionally CNN, black hosts and black guests have been discussing news that is targeted not just at the black community, but at all viewers. It’s finally a recognition that African-Americans are just as interested in and qualified to discuss celebrity gossip, Federal Reserve policy, immigration issues or babies locked in overheated cars as anyone else is. It’s an acknowledgement, at last, that black people are, to put it simply, people.

Thanks to HuffPost, who went beyond just recognizing the shift; they actually had a company track CNN, Fox News and MSNBC over a two-week period, from June 29 to July 12 to see if this is a trend.

To see what the company Media Matters learned, visit Huffington Post Black Voices here.



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