During an interview with Joy Reid, whose new MSNBC weekday show -- The Reid Report -- begins airing at 2 p.m. on Monday, February 24, the perennial network guest stated she is taking a radically different approach than most of her counterparts on the “Lean Forward” network.
“I’m not on there to do an hour of why Republicans suck,” the African-American woman said. “I don’t think I have to do that. I think what MSNBC does really well is to have a really smart conversation both with the left and the right. We may not get that right all the time, but I don’t know a mean-spirited person in this building.”
However, when Tommy Christopher of Mediaite.com asked Reid which conservatives she'd like to have as guests on her new program, she wouldn't name a “dream team.” Instead, she pointed to columnist Relhan Salam and National Review's Washington editor Robert Costa as people she respects.
She then stated she wants to keep the element of surprise in booking conservative guests to appear as guests on her program.
Reid then said:
I’m not doing a show based on the competition. I’m confident that if I do a great show, and I give people information, and I make it fun and interesting to watch, the ratings will take care of themselves.
We are going to be the table-setter for prime time, we are coming out of the MSNBC straight-up news block. It’s two in the afternoon, so we want to do a lot of policy and politics, but we also want to focus on the things that are happening in the culture right then and there.
“The name of her show is a reminder of her unique qualifications because it’s also the name of her long-running blog,” Christopher noted. “That essential new and social media experience, though, comes along with extensive old media experience and reporting chops that are tough to find in one package."
“People already know me from The Reid Report,” she said, “so why not go with what people know?”
However, her social media followers suggested another title, Reid: All About It. “Maybe that can be a segment” in the new show, she stated.
Reid was with her godmother in Washington, D.C., when she got the call from MSNBC president Phil Griffin telling her he wanted her to join their new “dayside” line-up. “He was very enthusiastic,” she noted, “but he didn’t say: ‘This is what I want you to do.’ The way Phil works is that he wants the hosts to be who they are.”
Everyone at MSNBC “has a different, unique perspective,” she continued. “They’re all really smart, and they’re all interesting people that you want to hear talk.”
However, Reid stated that “I have a different perspective” because “I’m a first-generation American, so I kind of look at the culture differently, and I’m bringing that unique perspective” to such topics as the Middle East, politics and other issues and policies “you won’t hear about the rest of the day, even on MSNBC.”
“What I plan to do is, with the sources and information that I have,” is seek out information, she added. “One of the first things I do in the morning is I fire up Twitter because it’s so much easier and quicker to get a round of what’s going on out there rather than going from site to site.”
As a result, “we’ll be honest, we’ll be fair, but do I want to break news? Absolutely.”
While claiming she has “a uniquely level-headed approach to race issues,” Reid noted:
If you think anyone black who mentions race is a racist, you need some serious self-examination.
It’s become a really interesting tic on the right, and it’s a strategy to shout down any person of color who mentions race, up to and including the president.
She also identifies race as a central issue in politics, particularly regarding voting rights and immigration, adding that “there’s a zeal, on the right, to be able to call someone a racist, and it’s almost an emotional release. It’s a strategy to silence people.”
As NewsBusters previously reported, Reid once sneered that Republicans consider Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas “better than other African-Americans” simply because he's a conservative.
The new MSNBC host also hit on another liberal talking point in January when she growled that the GOP bringing up the Clinton-Lewinsky affair “might be the definition of the war on women.”
So can Reid find success as the host of a weekday MSNBC program, or will her “uniquely level-headed approach” in discussing Republicans soon relegate her again to the status of a frequent guest on the network? Only time will tell.