MSNBC president Phil Griffin shocked the media elite by telling Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times that you don't need to build a career in journalism to star at MSNBC. "I'm sorry, I don't care about journalists. … I want fair-minded, smart people who understand the world and can interpret it," he said. "If they're journalists, great. This notion that you somehow you have to have done something to earn so-called journalists' credentials? Stop."
They seemed to miss the hilarious part of that passage. That MSNBC has been looking for "fair-minded smart people" and then they hired Al Sharpton. This tells aspiring black journalists to forget the newspaper jobs. Go out and falsely accuse white people of raping black kids. That's apparently the fast track to hosting an MSNBC show. Griffin has also shredded any rules against moonlighting political activity for Sharpton. He made a video advocating a "gay marriage" bill in Maryland:
Reverend Sharpton says in his video: "As a Baptist minister, I don't have the right to impose my views on anyone else." He added: "If committed gay and lesbian couples want to marry, that is their business, none of us should stand in their way." Keith Olbermann and Joe Scarborough were suspended for making small contributions. Sharpton can make video ads and nobody at MSNBC cares.
Deggans explained that Griffin is really just looking at ratings:
For Griffin, the process is simple. He puts on someone as a panelist/expert, and if they do well, they get a shot at guest anchoring. If that works, they might get a shot at a show. It's the way Maddow met the MSNBC audience, guest-hosting then-MSNBC star Keith Olbermann's Countdown before earning her own show, and it's the way Lawrence O'Donnell progressed to hosting his show, The Last Word.
Melissa Harris-Perry, the newest weekend host at MSNBC, debuting this weekend, told Deggans "I think none of us really quite know whether or not … (black anchors in prime time) bringing you the news will work," she said. "But, I mean, (white people) did vote for a black guy for president. … I think that's pretty remarkable, actually."
The controversy here isn't about race. It's about whether minority journalists should have become street-theater activists instead of learning anything about news gathering.