In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, MSNBC president Phil Griffin had some rather blunt words to describe his method for creating new shows and developing new talent.
The backdrop of the piece was the addition of MSNBC's newest host, Melissa Harris-Perry. Harris-Perry frequently appeared on the network as a contributor and began substitute-hosting for Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell when needed. MSNBC awarded her with a new self-titled show, "Melissa Harris-Perry," which will debut next weekend. Harris-Perry is a professor at Tulane University. The interview was published on Sunday.
The Tampa Bay Times described Griffin's straightforward process for developing new talent. "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," Tampa Bay Times' Eric Deggans writes.
The aforementioned process is indeed how a slew of the network's hosts, including Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell, Chris Hayes, Alex Wagner and Al Sharpton got their jobs. Wagner, who formerly worked for The Huffington Post, was a frequent contributor to the network before landing her own show during the 12:00 p.m. hour. Al Sharpton also appeared regularly on panels till he began guest-hosting the 6:00 p.m. hour after former MSNBC host Cenk Uygur abruptly left the network.
In response to criticism that MSNBC features contributors and hosts who are not journalists (as is the case with Harris-Perry and Sharpton), Griffin responded quite candidly.
"I'm sorry, I don't care about journalists…I want fair-minded, smart people who understand the world and can interpret it...If they're journalists, great. This notion that you somehow you have to have done something to earn so-called journalists' credentials? Stop," he said to the Tampa Bay Times.
Harris-Perry's ascension is notable as many cable news networks are often criticized for its lack of diversity. She is now one of three black hosts anchoring programs on MSNBC.
For the full story, click over to the Tampa Bay Times.