Reid says she wants different perspectives on MSNBC show

Joy Ann Reid portrait

MSNBC said Thursday it would give Joy Reid the 7 p.m. slot that had been anchored for years by departed journalist Chris Matthews, handing the important task of assembling early-evening weekday audiences for its primetime schedule to a Black woman – still a rarity in the cable-news business in 2020.

Her program will be called “The ReidOut,” and will be based in Washington, D.C., starting on July 20. Reid’s new role has been widely expected since The Wall Street Journal reported last month she was in consideration.

MSNBC doesn’t appear to be changing the nature of the hour, which has for years been filled by Matthews’ “Hardball,” an hour devoted to the politics of the day. Matthews, a former political speechwriter and one-time aide to former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill, was immersed in Beltway rhythms. He retired from his program abruptly in March, coming under scrutiny for remarks made on air about U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and after a female journalist alleged he spoke to her in an inappropriate way.

But Reid has always offered an unapologetically partisan program. Her Sunday show, “A.M. Joy,” part of MSNBC since 2016, analyzes the issues of the day with the same progressive lens as the network’s ‘s primetime hosts Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes and Lawrence O’Donnell.  Reid has in recent years been one of the main fill-ins for those anchors. She has held that even right-leaning viewers can tune in to see her work from a common set of facts to put the news cycle in context. “We do have some conservatives who watch the show,” she told Variety in 2017. “Some hate-watch. Some watch it on purpose. We have a lot of Republicans who are on the show, part of them are Never Trumpers and neocon Never Trumpers. In an ideal world, people would take the opposite position and work from a common fact base and draw their own conclusions.”

Some of the most important broadcast-network news shows are anchored or co-anchored by Black journalists, including the nation’s three biggest morning-news programs as well as “NBC Nightly News.” But cable-news’ track record on diversity is less distinctive. Only CNN features a person of color in weekday primetime. Fox News Channel, meanwhile, has given increasing attention to Harris Faulkner in daytime since she took on duties on “Outnumbered” in 2014, adding a solo hour to her daily routine.

Chris Matthews left “Hardball” carrying baggage. Reid arrives in the timeslot with some in tow. In 2018, some of her posts on an old blog she managed earlier in her career surfaced anew. Some of them contained homophobic remarks, and another one contained a photoshopped image of former Senator John McCain depicted as the instigator of a mass-shooting incident. Reid has apologized several times for the controversial comments, but also maintained she did not recall writing them and even suggested that the old web pages had been manipulated by hackers  – a claim that remains unproven.

“What I genuinely believe is that I truly care about the L.G.B.T. people in my own life,” Reid told The New York Times in a report Thursday. “I care about being a good ally, a good person, and making sure that my voice is authentic, that I can make a difference.”

Reid first arrived at MSNBC as an afternoon anchor, part of a move to extend the progressive leanings of primetime to other parts of the schedule. But MSNBC pulled back on that maneuver after Andy Lack arrived in 2015, and shows led by Reid and Ronan Farrow were scuttled in favor of a hard-news presentation. These days, MSNBC’s schedule is sandwiched between the political analysis of “Morning Joe” and the primetime lineup, with morning and early-afternoon programs that burnish the journalism of NBC News giving way in mid-afternoon to more analysis and stronger remarks from Nicolle Wallace and others.

She has worked her way up in the business, starting out in Florida as a radio host and blogger and then moving over time to become managing editor of The Grio. Since launching “A.M. Joy,” however, Reid has become an integral part of MSNBC’s brand and identity. She will likely have a greater hand in that in her new role.


Rickey Smiley Challenges Black Communities ‘To Get These Hoodlums Out’ After Daughter’s Shooting

Rickey Smiley directly challenged Black communities to confront their gun violence while delivering a passionate and at times emotional update about his daughter’s condition days after she was shot multiple times in Houston. The comedian and radio host on Wednesday morning posted a video to his social media channels to give his fans an update as well as to sound off on gun violence.

Aaryn Smiley, who was shot on Sunday, is recovering after surgery on her leg and was expected to leave the hospital later this week, her father said with relief. He posted screenshots from the 19-year-old’s Instagram stories that explained how she nearly was shot in the head. She posted that being alone since her parents were not allowed in the hospital was “the scariest part.”

But while Rickey Smiley expressed gratitude that his daughter would ultimately be physically fine, he also took some time to condemn the gun violence in Black communities that made her a victim in the first place. In doing so, he challenged those same communities in no uncertain terms.

“When y’all ready to have a conversation about what we do in our community and how we act and things that we do and our mindset of our people, I’ll be ready,” he said not just referring to his daughter’s experience but also “all the kids that got killed all over the country Fourth of July weekend due to gun violence.”

Rickey Smiley said the news that a grandmother in Birmingham had to now console her daughter while also grieving the killing of her 8-year-old grandson in Atlanta was heartbreaking to him and he vowed to help that family somehow. At least six children were killed in gun violence over the past weekend.

“That’s who we need to be praying for,” he said. “And I’m not gonna compare this to the movement going on because the movement is legit and I support it, but we need to figure out how to get these hoodlums out of our community that’s around here killing innocent people.”

“Who we gon blame for that? When are we gonna have that conversation?” he asked rhetorically.

To hammer home his point, Smiley pointed to his own family statistics as proof that gun violence in Black communities is out of control. He said out of the five people living in his home, “two of us are gunshot victims now. Me and my daughter, shot in our own communities that we serve … and damn it if two of us ain’t gunshot victims.”

He said he was standing by for whenever “anybody’s ready to have that convo without getting dragged on the internet for talking down to Black people, talking about how we act and how we carry ourselves and the things that we do.

Rickey Smiley compared white supremacy and systemic to a home’s “yard,” saying, “at some point, we gotta work on the house because you don’t fix the yard until you fix everything in the house.”

Watch his full video message below.

Rickey Smiley first announced on Monday morning that his daughter had been shot over the weekend. According to a report from Bossip, he “fought back tears as he revealed … on his morning show that he had just found out a few hours earlier that his daughter was shot while she was waiting for food at a Whataburger location in Houston.”

Details including the shooter(s) identity and the motive surrounding the shooting were not immediately announced. However, at the time, Rickey Smiley had some choice words while on the air Monday morning that expressed a similarly dismayed sentiment in his video message Wednesday morning.

“All the stuff these people trying to do to fight for the rights of Black people. This is no discredit to Black Lives Matter because I believe that and I’m with that movement 110% and one has nothing to do with the other, but there are some criminals in our community that someone needs to do something about,” Rickey Smiley said before continuing.

“I just pray,” he added. “I’m sitting up here a gunshot victim myself and I’m still up here fighting and praying for the rights of Black people and all of the parents that had to bury their loved ones due to gun violence in our own community by our own people. Absolutely disgusting.”

Smiley was also frustrated because of initial difficulties securing travel arrangements. When he did arrive in Houston, he told his fans via another video message that he had been prevented from seeing his daughter in the hospital because of COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.



Kanye West Now Claims He’s Taking Off His ‘Make America Great Again’ Hat

Though he also seemed to contradict the notion that he’s dumping Trump in the same wild interview.

Kanye West is dumping his “Make America Great Again” cap for a birthday hat. Supposedly.

Days after the hip-hop superstar tweeted that he’s running for president, he spoke with Forbes in a baffling interview (blatant publicity stunt?) in which he discussed conspiracy theories, running the White House like the fictional kingdom of Wakanda from “Black Panther,” and allegedly pulling his support from Donald Trump.

Forbes, a magazine that’s been making a habit of outing West’s family members as nonbillionaires, described the Tuesday interview as “four rambling hours” in which he provided some of the following insights about his potential campaign:

His new political party is apparently the “Birthday Party.”

“Because when we win, it’s everybody’s birthday,” West said.

As far as his support for Trump, West says he’s “taking the red hat off.”

Talking about the president, the rapper said “it looks like one big mess to me,” adding that he didn’t like that Trump “hid in the bunker” amid anti-racism protests.

He also spoke about his previous support for the president, saying it was to protest the “segregation of votes in the Black community” ― and because he likes Trump hotels.

He wants to make the White House more like Wakanda.

The rapper told Forbes, “A lot of Africans do not like the movie [“Black Panther”] and representation of themselves in … Wakanda. But I’m gonna use the framework of Wakanda right now because it’s the best explanation of what our design group is going to feel like in the White House.”

But don’t expect him to be campaigning on “Wakanda Forever.”

West says his campaign slogan is “YES” and his running mate is Michelle Tidball, whom Forbes describes as “an obscure preacher from Wyoming.”

The rapper has a history of inflammatory comments, infamously saying in 2018 that slavery was a “choice,” and throughout the interview he made a number of other disturbing assertions. Despite claiming to have had COVID-19, he said he was cautious of vaccines, calling them the “mark of the beast” and saying, “They want to put chips inside of us.” He also called Black History Month “torture porn.”

As far as pulling his support from Trump, West seemed to contradict himself in the same interview, saying the president isn’t “in my way, he may be a part of my way.” Forbes noted that West is also OK with “siphoning off Black votes from the Democratic nominee, thus helping Trump.”

“I’m not denying it, I just told you. To say that the Black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy,” West said.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the rapper denied that his presidential bid was a publicity stunt for his new album. Why would it be, right? It’s not like running for president as a publicity stunt has ever been successful anyway.


Cowboys star shrugs off Jerry Jones' silence

At least one Dallas Cowboys star doesn’t need to hear a message from team owner Jerry Jones when it comes to the civil rights and social justice statements that have swept across the NFL and America since the homicide of George Floyd last month in Minneapolis.

In an interesting twist, the man who is shrugging off Jones’ silence also happens to be one of the Cowboys’ most outspoken players: defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.

Lawrence said he was indifferent to Jones’ silence over the last month, telling the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he didn’t see how a statement from the Cowboys owner or NFL protests could effect change in the country. It was a notable sentiment, given that fellow Dallas defensive lineman Gerald McCoy recently criticized Jones’ silence since the death of Floyd and ensuing social unrest that swept the country.

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Those events prompted an unprecedented show of support from both the NFL league office and every team in the league — which included a statement from the Cowboys, but not Jones specifically.

It’s that latter point — the lack of Jones’ specific voice — that has drawn criticism. Not only because he’s considered the most powerful team owner in the NFL, but also because Jones has historically demanded that his players refrain from kneeling in protest during the national anthem. While Lawrence didn’t endorse Jones’ views on kneeling, the star defensive lineman suggested to the Star-Telegram that protests were divisive.

Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, right, said he is indifferent to team owner Jerry Jones' silence in the wake of George Floyd's death that sparked protests and social unrest around the country. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)

“Protests ain’t gonna help change anything,” Lawrence told the Star-Telegram on Saturday, while attending a rally to support establishing Juneteenth as a national holiday. “It ain’t gonna do nothing but start more riots between different ethnicities and different backgrounds. The real thing to do is focus on our youth. If our youth understands our struggles — our history — if our youth understand that they can be more than the position that they was placed in, then that’s how we thinking.”

Asked if he expected to hear from Jones at some point, Lawrence replied: “This whole situation has nothing to do with Jerry or anybody in Jerry’s position.”

“This is about us coming together, focusing on how we can make a change, focusing on how we can come together and be united,” Lawrence said. “I don’t feel like one man in Jerry’s position or any of those types of positions can really make a change. The only thing they can do is give us money to make a change. What kind of help do we need from Jerry? We need to stand on our own two feet, be the men that we’re supposed to be, and build foundations and build these centers to help.”

Where it concerned Jones’ silence, Lawrence was clearly apart from McCoy, who made several pointed statements about the Cowboys owner last week — in hopes that the franchise would get behind the effort to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

“You have the players, who have their own brand, but we’re all under the umbrella of the Dallas Cowboys,” McCoy told ESPN. “The Dallas Cowboys are the most recognized franchise in the world. They can get behind it, whether it’s the players or just being in the movement, period, and showing their support. It would be great to hear a statement from the Cowboys, great to hear a statement from Jerry Jones in support of everything that’s going on. Will that get me in trouble saying that? I don’t know, but the truth is it needs to be said. The problem is people are afraid to have the conversations.”

McCoy later sharpened his criticism of Jones’ silence during an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take.”

“It don’t look good, I’ll say that,” McCoy said. “It doesn’t look good, and you can’t be silent at a time like this. I’m new to the Cowboys organization, and I’m blessed to be part of this organization. … But when things are not going well for the team, you can hear him screaming. Well, this is life. This is bigger than just football, it’s bigger than money, it’s bigger than winning a Super Bowl. And something needs to be said.”




The event in Tulsa was the first Trump rally to take place in months. The upper stands were empty, and there was plenty of room in front of the stage.

President Donald Trump addressed an enthusiastic — though smaller than expected — crowd of supporters at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday night as some protesters gathered outside to call for an end to systemic racism and police brutality.

“You are warriors, thank you. We had some very bad people outside,” Trump told the crowd inside the BOK Center, later referring to protesters as “thugs.”

The Tulsa event, the first Trump rally to take place in months, was held against the advice of Trump’s own coronavirus task force, which had urged White House officials to nix the event amid fears it might spread coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, advised in an interview earlier this month that large events of any kind, including Trump’s rally, remain “risky,” and he urged people to avoid such gatherings.  

The Trump campaign warned potential rallygoers that they would participate in the event at their own risk. The registration page for the rally included a legal disclaimer that said attendees could not sue Trump or his campaign if they found themselves infected with COVID-19.

On Saturday afternoon, the Trump campaign confirmed that at least six rally staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. The staffers were immediately quarantined, the campaign said.

Trump did not mention the sick staffers during his address, but he repeatedly downplayed the threat of the coronavirus and referred to it as the “Chinese virus” and “kung flu.” 

At one point, Trump suggested he wanted COVID-19 testing to be slowed down, as more testing uncovers more cases. (A White House official later told The Wall Street Journal that Trump was “clearly joking” about slowing down testing.)

“Testing is a double-edged sword,” Trump told the crowd in Oklahoma. “Here’s the bad part: When you do testing to that extent, you’re gonna find more people, you’re gonna find more cases.”

“I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please,’” he said.  

Rally attendees were given face coverings when they entered the venue but many chose not to wear them, The Washington Post reported. Most police officers and National Guard soldiers who were on site also chose not to cover their faces, according to the publication. 

Joe Biden released a statement after the rally responding to Trump’s remarks on COVID-19: “This virus has killed nearly 120,000 Americans and cost tens of millions their jobs, in large part because this president could not and would not mobilize testing as quickly as we needed it. To hear him say tonight that he has ordered testing slowed — a transparent attempt to make the numbers look better — is appalling.”

Trump’s aides previously claimed that more than 1 million people wanted tickets to the main rally inside the BOK Center. But the actual turnout fell short of expectations.   

The president was initially scheduled to address supporters outside the arena, which has a capacity of 19,000 people, earlier in the evening before heading inside. But Trump’s campaign canceled the outdoor remarks at the last minute.

At the time the cancellation was announced, only a few dozen people were reportedly gathered in the overflow area outside the venue. Inside, the upper stands were empty, and there was plenty of room in the standing-only area in front of the stage. 

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh blamed protesters for the low turnout, saying demonstrators blocked access to metal detectors, which prevented participants from entering the venue. 

“Radical protesters, coupled with a relentless onslaught from the media, attempted to frighten off the President’s supporters,” Murtaugh said. 

Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, echoed a similar sentiment.

There were some minor clashes between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters gathered outside the BOK Center, but there were no major violent confrontations in the lead-up to the event.

Black city leaders had urged people to stay away from Trump’s event, The New York Times reported. Instead, hundreds of people gathered at Veterans Park, about a 30-minute walk away, to participate in the “Rally Against Hate.”

“Our biggest thing was to make sure people felt safe tonight,” rally organizer Tykebrean Cheshire told the Post. “Going to the BOK Center didn’t feel like a safe option. I wanted to do the old-school [Martin Luther King] thing. We’re able to connect with each other, and that’s the most important thing today.”

There had been concerns before the rally that violence might erupt after Trump tweeted what appeared to be a veiled threat aimed at potential protesters. 

“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” the president tweeted Friday. “It will be a much different scene!”

Bracing for potential violence at the Trump event, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum issued an executive order on Thursday declaring a civil emergency ahead of the rally. Bynum said the city expected tens of thousands of people to flock to the vicinity of the event, including “individuals from organized groups who have been involved in destructive and violent behavior in other States” and who were planning on traveling to Tulsa “for purposes of causing unrest in and around the city.”

On Saturday afternoon, a peaceful protester wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt was arrested by Tulsa police outside the BOK Center at the behest of Trump’s campaign staff. “I Can’t Breathe” has become a rallying cry for protesters calling for the end of racism and police brutality following the death last month of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis who uttered those words as a white police officer knelt on his neck, leading to his death.

The protester — identified by police as Tulsa resident Sheila Buck — was accused of trespassing in a secure area accessible only to ticket holders, though Buck said she had a ticket for the event. A video of the arrest shows officers grabbing Buck by her armpits and dragging her away.

Trump lambasted protesters, calling them “thugs” and “bad people,” but did not respond their calls to end racial injustice or police brutality in the wake of Floyd’s death. 

The president spoke for more than an hour and a half but did not mention Floyd’s name at all. He also did not mention Juneteenth, which fell on Friday and commemorates the end of slavery in America.

Trump had previously been criticized for planning the Tulsa rally on Juneteenth. He postponed the rally by one day after facing backlash. 

Near the end of his address, Trump said only that he’d “done more for the Black community in four years than Joe Biden has done in 47 years,” referring to the former vice president and the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. 

“Racial justice begins with Joe Biden’s retirement from public life,” Trump said.

The president did spend about 10 minutes of his speech defending his awkward walk down a ramp after a speech at West Point last week. 

“It was like an ice-skating rink,” Trump said of the ramp.

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