Liberal Luxury: MSNBC to Broadcast from Pricey Essence Festival, Still Bash GOP on Poverty

July 5th, 2013 9:00 AM

The liberal chorus at MSNBC has made it a relentless mission to attack Republicans as unconcerned about the poor. Evening hosts Chris Matthews and Chris Hayes are just two recent examples, the former claiming the GOP “spent months...trying to keep black people and poor people from voting,” and the latter slamming Republicans for an “anti-food stamp jihad.”

The hypocrisy of these attacks may shine through this weekend, as the network broadcasts live from the Essence Festival in New Orleans, from July 5 through July 7. Now, the Essence Festival’s primary purpose is to “celebrate black culture, music and people,” a mission no one could or should criticize. But the Lean Forward network is choosing to promote their GOP-bashing agenda – which includes criticism for Republicans who want to “tear down the poor” – from a festival where the most affordable tickets are currently more than $60 per ticket, per night.

According to Ticketmaster, nosebleed seats for one night of music and entertainment in New Orlean’s Superdome are just over $60, with seats on the floor going for a minimum of $132 and “front floor” seats priced at a whopping $315 per ticket, per night. It appears doubtful many New Orleans residents will be able to attend, considering the median income of Orleans Parish currently stands at roughly $37,000 per year.

That hasn’t stopped the folks at MSNBC from aggressively promoting their weekend at the pricey festival. PoliticsNation host Al Sharpton proclaimed the network has “shows that everyone can relate to.” Perhaps, Reverend Al, but not at more than $100 a day.

Toure, co-host of The Cycle, touted the role of an expanding black middle class in promoting the festival, asserting that “Essence has served an important role in the community.” Doubtless, that’s true, but MSNBC is not exactly attracting a middle-class live audience with those above prices – and that doesn’t even include food, parking, lodging for out-of-town visitors, and travel expenses.

The Lean Forward network will broadcast live from the Essence Festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Matthews, Sharpton, Alex Wagner, Tamron Hall and Melissa Harris-Perry are among the hosts whose shows will be presented.

And of course, who could forget Ed Schultz? The bombastic host has long slammed Republicans across the country for issues on poverty. Here are some of our favorites:

On Newt Gingrich’s plan to give poor students jobs: “He's a slave labor guy.”

On SNAP reform: GOP is “protecting the wealthiest...going after the poor

On Republican opposition to ObamaCare: “They want to see you dead! They’d rather make money off your dead corpse!

In fairness to the Essence Festival, an October 2012 press release advertised “ticket packages starting at $130" for the four-day event. According to Ticketmaster, any four-day packages appear sold out. The point, though, remains – a weekend at an expensive, lush festival does not exactly justify MSNBC’s constant, and inaccurate, slander against the GOP on issues of poverty and welfare.

While the network’s personalities spend the weekend living in luxury, poor people in New Orleans and across the country will no doubt continue to struggle. Many Republicans have put forward policies that attempt to combat poverty with free market policies that can help lift individuals and families to prosperity. What are the folks at MSNBC doing?

See the full schedule here.