During the first day The Reid Report, a new weekday program aired on MSNBC, the African-American female host said during an interview with Marc Lamont Hill of HuffPostLive that “the people who watch our network” should see themselves reflected in “the full spectrum of humanity,” which she stated is “the job of all news organizations.”
“More than a third of our audience is black,” said Joy Reid, who described herself as “an opinion journalist” who is very open about being a liberal Democrat. “And so, this is just good constituent service to make sure that the people who watch our network see themselves reflected in all of our variety. … I don't think MSNBC should be unusual. Everybody should be doing that.”
Hill -- who is also black – asked his guest: “How important will race be, you know, in terms of the content of your show?”
“I think you can't get away from the issue of race,” she told Hill. “It's everywhere, it's a part of this country's legacy, and I think that it's kind of disingenuous. The thing I hate hearing people say is 'I don't see race' because everybody sees race, and it's dishonest.”
“One way that it's easier for y'all not to shy away from it is you actually have black people on camera,” Hill stated. “I mean, talk about revolutionary!”
The interviewer then noted that when he heard an afternoon slot on MSNBC was open, he said: “Well, I want her to get the show, but they already got, they're stocked up with black people.” MSNBC is doing the right thing, but you know: Melissa (Harris-Perry) has a show, you have a show, there's Alex (Wagner)--.”
“Karen Finney,” Reid interjected.
“I mean, we could go down the list of people of color who have shows, and women, you know what I mean?” Hill asked. Tamron Hall is now doing the Today Show. I mean, this is a great week for black people on TV.”
He then asked Reid: “How do you make sense of MSNBC making those choices” when hiring women and minority anchors and hosts? She responded:
Well, I think partly, it’s our audience. More than a third of our viewership is black, and so, this is just good constituent service to make sure that the people who watch our network see themselves reflected in all of our variety.
As we know, African-Americans come in all shades, all shapes and sizes, and so having people who represent the full spectrum of humanity, I think, is just the job of all news organizations.
“One of the things I am proud of at the network is that we don't just plug people in their racial box, Reid said. “We don’t just say 'Ah, there’s a black issue; c’mon, black person; let’s go and talk about it.'
“I think that, you know, you can't give the news to a diverse, 300 million-person country by only representing a slice of it,” she continued. “You have to have something that represents everyone, and that doesn't mean you just have Latinos on to talk about immigration, right? It means that you actually have a Latino analyst that can talk about economics or they can talk about foreign policy, anything.”
“How come the other networks don't always do that?” Hill inquired.
“I'm not sure why that is,” Reid replied. “I think in some cases, people are also reflecting their viewership." She added:
I think Fox's demographics, in terms of who they're serving, are different than our demographic, and so in some ways, they're also serving that base.
I think for a conservative network like Fox, there are “a finite number” of black Republican viewers, so you have to pick from a smaller pool, whereas a network that has a progressive lean has a bigger pool.
Without realizing that she is partly explaining the incredible success of Fox News, Reid is only referring to a small portion of a fairly small part of the U.S. population while its competitor is drawing bigger portions of larger parts of the country's population..
Nevertheless, “I don't know why everybody's doing it,” Reid said. “I think they should.”
“I think you're right,” Hill stated.
One of the most interesting parts of the interview came when Reid explained “one of the reasons I want to have Republicans on the show.
“Look, I can't parrot your point of view, OK?” she asked. “People say why don't you talk about Benghazi? Well, I'm not going to do Benghazi like Fox--.”
“Because you're sane,” Hill interjected.
“Well, yeah, and the facts of the story are otherwise,” she responded.
I wouldn't hold my breath until the debut of the MSNBC comedy channel. You might turn a very deep shade of purple.