Fire Melissa Harris-Perry

Fire Melissa Harris-Perry

So, let me get this straight. MSNBC gets rid of host Alec Baldwin because of off-air remarks considered offensive to gays. They get rid of Martin Bashir for on-air remarks considered hyper-offensive about a public figure, Sarah Palin. But Melissa Harris-Perry gets to retain her seat in the opiner’s chair after she’s poked fun at an innocent adopted child? How does that work?

In case you’ve been away, MSNBC commentator Melissa Harris-Perry hosted a show where pundits and so-called comedians were called upon to “caption” newsy photos of the year. One of the photos in the line-up was the Romney family Christmas card, with the clan’s children and grandchildren. Among them, an adopted African-American babe, as sweet-looking as all infants are. Harris-Perry and crew made some lame jokes and used the occasion to ridicule the GOP for what they see as the party’s lack of diversity.

Fast forward to a day or so ago. Harris-Perry is on the air, offering a tearful apology (after a less-than-tearful apology Tweet). And Mitt Romney himself is on Fox News Sunday accepting the apology, calling it “heartfelt,” and even graciously saying that everyone makes mistakes.

Two things are wrong with this apology acceptance, though. First, as I stated above, MSNBC has a history of hosts saying outrageously offensive things, and a few of them have been fired for it. It seems that Harris-Perry’s performance surpasses the errors of a Baldwin and Bashir because, as I pointed out above, she targeted an innocent child.

Yes, targeted. Maybe she wasn’t thinking through or controlling the comments that sprang up on the show itself. But she had to have been aware of the decision to put that photo in the line-up for a “Caption This” bit of ridicule. If she didn’t, she’s the most irresponsible talk show host on MSNBC, which is saying something. What on earth did she think would happen when that picture showed up?

So, it seems to me that Mitt Romney should have said much more about this aspect of her action–the conscious choice to target a child, and how this represents a new low, even for MSNBC.

But second, Harris-Perry used Romney’s grandson to ridicule the GOP. What a missed opportunity! Romney could have expressed concern for his fellow party members and suggest that Harris-Perry owes them an apology, as well, because the GOP is actually trying to help minority children through voucher programs while the Obama administration and the Democrat Party elite want to keep them in failing schools.

Romney’s “turn the other cheek” attitude is admirable, but it reminded me of George W. Bush’s proclivity to do the same, not realizing that when liberals attacked him, they were attacking all those who believed in him, who’d voted for him.

So, if Romney won’t say it, I will: MSNBC, fire Harris-Perry. She crossed a line even Martin Bashir and Alec Baldwin didn’t cross. She consciously chose to use an innocent child to get a few yuks that she used to taunt the GOP. What a towering intellect.

Libby Sternberg is a novelist. A serialization of her latest book is at her blog.


Libby Sternberg

Libby Sternberg

Libby Sternberg is an Edgar-nominated novelist whose works include humorous women’s fiction, young adult fiction, and historical fiction. Her political writings have appeared at Hot Air, the Weekly Standard, Insight, the Wall Street Journal, and Christian Science Monitor.


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