LOS ANGELES, February 29, 2016 — While many Americans focused on a racially charged Hollywood awards show, a biracial one-percenter let her ego get her fired. Like many Hollywood celebrities, Melissa Harris-Perry had an overinflated sense of self. She thought she was indispensable. Her employer felt otherwise.
Harris-Perry had a dream job at MSNBC. She was paid money to spout off on whatever mattered to her. The lowest rated cable news network allowed her to spend her entire public life complaining about anything and everything. All she had to do to keep her job was refrain from complaining about the people paying her very comfortable salary.
This was too much to ask of Harris-Perry. The woman who attacked Mitt Romney for having a black grandchild was a new breed of racial justice commentator. Everything was racist. The system was rigged against black people from succeeding, despite her own life totally disproving this. When she was not complaining about race on television, she was an overpaid academic teaching overprivileged students at a university how to become future agitators.
Besieged by horrendous ratings, MSNBC President Phil Griffin has desperately tried to transition MSNBC from an all-opinion network to an occasional hard news station. Leftist bomb-throwers Ed Schultz and Keith Olbermann were free to take their meltdowns elsewhere. With the 2016 presidential race reaching critical mass, Griffin preempted Harris-Perry’s show several times in favor of election programming.
This happens in the real world. Greg Gutfeld hosted a lighthearted program on Fox News called Redeye. When major news stories broke, Redeye was preempted. Gutfeld understood that people were more interested in major news stories than lighthearted human interest fare. After the September 11th attacks, David Letterman, Jay Leno and the rest of the comedians took a few days off. They understood that there was a larger world beyond their own programs.
Harris-Perry resented having her low-rated program on a low-rated network temporarily removed. Rather than understand that the presidential election mattered more than her televised ideological and racial temper tantrums, she threw another tantrum. She accused the network of racism and boycotted her Saturday program. The woman angry at not being on the air retaliated by refusing to go on the air. She dared MSNBC to fire her, and they fired her.
This was not a black or white thing, but an egomaniacal stunt gone wrong. She should have talked to Dan Rather and Nolan Richardson before mouthing off.
On September 11, 1987, Gunga Dan Rather walked off the set in protest, leaving six minutes of dead air at CBS News. His walkout was triggered by the airing of a tennis match that cut into his broadcast. Live sporting events frequently preempt news programs, and Rather was rightly ridiculed as a prima donna. After being caught promoting fake news footage in an attempt to rig the 2004 election against President George W. Bush, Rather was forced out of the anchor chair and soon fired. He ended his career in disgrace. Had he just apologized for getting too big for his britches, he very well would have survived.
Nolan Richardson was more of a textbook Harris-Perry case. The Arkansas basketball coach led the Razorbacks to a pair of appearances in the NCAA Title Game, winning it all in 1994. He was on top of the sports world until he decided to inject race into his job status. Even winning coaches are on the hot seat. Success is fleeting. In 2002, Richardson insisted that his being black was why he was being criticized. He then threatened and dared the university to fire him. “If they go ahead and pay me my money, they can take my job tomorrow.” He was promptly fired. He sued for discrimination and was laughed out of court. He never had success as a basketball coach ever again.
Harris-Perry, Rather and Richardson all the thought the world revolved around them. They were indispensable. The concept of shutting up and doing their jobs was too much to ask. To be fair to Richardson, he did have an actual skill. He was a good basketball coach who earned a title. Harris-Perry and Rather ran unsuccessful programs badly. They had low ratings, yet felt entitled to more power.
Rather blamed his firing on age, when the problem was shoddy journalism and a bad attitude.
Harris-Perry injected racial poison at MSNBC, the same politically correct network that groveled at Al Sharpton’s feet. Harris-Perry over her four years may have earned seven figures, yet she was acting like a #BlackLivesMatter protester. Harris-Perry never understood that in a nation of 300 million Americans, MSNBC would have zero difficulty finding another agitator to rile up an ever-shrinking audience.
Harris-Perry worked for perhaps the only media organization that encouraged her race-baiting, ideologically driven eruptions. MSNBC allowed a wealthy biracial one-percenter to attack everyone else’s motives. They gave a job to a woman who would be unemployable anywhere a skill set mattered. She should have kissed Griffin’s feet every night.
Nobody forced her to turn on her employers, but she did. In the real world, even the best employees delivering the best results can be fired for publicly attacking their boss. She was far from the best, and now she is among the unemployed.
Harris-Perry, Rather and Richardson were not known for self-awareness, but Harris-Perry at 42 is young enough to recover. If another network is crazy enough to demand an entire program of artificial complaints, she should learn from her mistake. Scream at the shrinking audience all you want, but shut up about the boss. Nobody is entitled to a cushy life. Everybody answers to somebody. No one is indispensable. The over-rated and least talented among us are the most vulnerable. The least introspective of the least talented people refuse to recognize this.