The American journalism industry is rapidly becoming the place where failing up is a viable career move.
Take MSNBC’s Joy Reid.
The Wall Street Journal reported on June 24 that Reid’s bosses apparently had tapped her for the weeknight 7 p.m. slot, which was held by Chris Matthews for more than two decades.
“In her new role, she would serve as the lead-in for MSNBC’s left-leaning prime-time lineup, which includes Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes,” the Journal noted. “Already the most prominent black anchor on MSNBC, Ms. Reid would have a potentially bigger platform to attract viewers than her current weekend morning show offered.”
MSNBC is doing this despite Reid’s often fanciful trips down reporting lane.
Recall that the biggest demerit on her otherwise unremarkable career was the discovery in 2017 and 2018 of a slew of anti-gay posts she wrote for her blog in the mid-2000s.
For instance, besides Tom Cruise and Karl Rove, Reid maintained at the time that Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist of Florida was gay and only married a woman for political cover.
“I can just see poor Charlie on the honeymoon, ogling the male waiters and thinking to himself, ‘God, do I actually have to see her naked?’” wrote Reid, who issued roughly a dozen posts just on Crist’s sexuality.
As Vox reported in April 2018, Reid initially denied writing the homophobic posts, then claimed her blog had been hacked. Even Vox was more than a little skeptical, noting that at the time “Reid wasn’t an MSNBC host or even a widely known national figure, raising questions about why someone would bother hacking her.”
In June 2018, Politico followed up with a story about that blog, on which Reid suggested 9/11 was an inside job and posted an image of Sen. John McCain’s head on the body of the mass murderer who fatally shot 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007.
In an astonishing bit of journalism, Reid in January 2020 hosted a body language expert who determined just by looking at a video that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was “truthful” when she claimed during a Democratic presidential debate that rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had said a woman could not be president a few years ago.
On one show in April 2020, Reid unleashed a cascade of blunders. She welcomed Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) to her program with a chirpy “Happy Easter.” Schiff is Jewish.
She also maintained that “hundreds” of U.S. Postal Service workers had succumbed to COVID-19. The day before, the Washington Post reported the number was 19. And she also criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for wrongfully wearing PPE, even as photos surfaced of prominent Democrats incorrectly wearing masks below their noses.
Apparently no amount of ridiculousness is enough to keep one from ascending at MSNBC.
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