Another Black Face on MSNBC: Good News For Joy Ann Reid, Not So Much For The Rest of Us

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon

If Fox News is the Republican ministry of TV propaganda, MSNBC is the mouthpiece of the White House and corporate Democrats. The last real journalist in an MSNBC host spot was Phil Donahue, fired for letting antiwar lefties on the air once in a while. MSNBC must have a lot of confidence that their new host Joy Ann Reid will carry their water, and leverage her black face to carry their message to us, instead of the other way around.

Another Black Face on MSNBC: Good News For Joy Ann Reid, Not So Much For The Rest of Us

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon

“A lot has changed in fifty years, and a lot hasn't, a few things have gotten better and many others have gotten worse.”

Back in 1962, when I was twelve years old growing up on the south side of Chicago, and a black face showed up on TV, I remember my mother going to one of the windows of our apartment and shouting to the neighbors whose windows faced us less than 20 feet away. "Quick, there's one of us on channel 2!" To be fair, sometimes she used the phone for this too, and recall receiving these calls as well as seeing them made.

That's really how it was back in the day half a century ago. We knew we were black, we knew we were here, we knew we mattered somehow, but in the world of corporate-owned television, we had been rendered all but invisible, made to pretty much disappear.

There really were not a lot of black faces on the tube at all, so seeing one was a kind of affirmation, a tangible proof, in a strange way, almost as if the world brought to us by corporate owned broadcasting was more real than our own lives, that we really did exist, that we really did matter somehow in the scheme of things. We were looking for our own faces, our own stories, our own voices in corporate media and public life, and since we'd never even been able to pretend to have these things before they assumed an enormous importance for us that is hard to understand in today's world.

A lot has changed in fifty years, and a lot hasn't, a few things have gotten better and many others have gotten worse. Black unemployment is still double white unemployment, and black wealth remains a tiny fraction of white wealth. Gentrification is still the only model of urban economic development on offer, and the number of black faces in prisons and jails has grown enormously since 1963, the last year whites were a majority in US prisons and jails.

But black voter registration has never been higher, there have never been more black elected and appointed officials on every level from mayors to sheriffs to legislators and generals and even a president. So things are indeed getting better, at least for some of us. Things are certainly looking up for the family and friends of Joy Ann Reid, who's getting her own slot in the MSNBC TV daily lineup, alongside Al Sharpton, Rachel Maddow, weekender Melissa Harris-Perry and the rest of that crew.

Just as Fox News is the propaganda arm of the Republican party, the White House and corporate Democrats, as if any other kind really matter, have MSNBC on lockdown. You don't earn a daily slot on either side of corporate media if you're not a consistent and effective shill for corporate interests – for the privatization of public education, for US imperial interventions and war crimes in Africa, South Asia and the Americas, for fracking, for unfettered police spying, and for only attacking the bad things the other party does. That's Joy Ann Reid to a T, and that's how you earn those slots at Fox or MSNBC and that's how you keep them.

The last real journalist with a daily MSNBC slot was Phil Donahue, who was fired for giving air time to lefty criticisms of the invasion of Iraq. The big boys at Comcast, which owns MSNBC must have a lot of confidence in Joy Ann Reid to use her black face to effectively represent their interests.

A half century ago we imagined that if there were more black faces in more high places, they'd represent our interests. Silly us. We really didn't see this coming.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)



keeping the media accountable

I think we need to ask Joy Reid and force her and others like Al Sharpton, Melissa Harris Perry, Michel Martin, Amy Goodman to be accountable for the ways in which they act like "corporate shills."  Part of the reason for this recession is to force people to be so desperate for work and the "almighty" dollar, that they will tow the corporate line.  This is a line that Cenk Uygur refused to tow and he was fired for refusing to tow it.  Melissa Harris Perry was willing to tow this line when she apologized for talking about Mitt Romney's family.  To be "objective" but to what end?  To compromise with war criminals?  That's not a real compromise.  -RF. 

Amy Goodman?  Why are you

Amy Goodman?  Why are you lumping her in with these corporate shills?  She is nothing of the sort.

Goodman is not as bad as the

Goodman is not as bad as the others but she still has one sensible shoe firmly set on the Democratic party plantation.  Democracy Now followed the empire's company line about Libya.  The final straw for me was Goodman repeating the already discredited yarn about Ghadafi's troops using Viagra to enhance sexual assaults on women.  The majority of DN's guests interviewed on Libya also promoted the company line about the situation.  I remember one guy who started to proffer another side of the story but time had "conveniently run out" for further discourse from him.  Goodman still has on discredited black misleadershippers such as Jesse Jackson and John Conyers.  Anyone who still thinks these chuckers are relevant is automatically placed in the empire shill category.  The BAR crew live in or near NYC (and Mr. Dixon is only a phone call away in GA) but how many times have any of them been on when DN wants a "black" perspective for a story?  Mr. Ford has been on DN a couple of times but that's about it.  Strike that - these capable BAR journalists shouldn't be called upon only to discuss so-called black issues; they are well versed in any damn subject out here.

Thanks for your reply...

I find Amy Goodman to be one of the few very brave journalists who have put their lives on the line to report atrocities here and around the world.  She was in Indonesia reporting on genocide when one of her colleages was beaten almost to death.  She was arrested and man-handled at the Republican National Convention by the gestapo goose-steppers that kept reporters from reporting.   She reports on issues not covered anywhere else on TV.

The idea that having a few Democrats who have sold out on her show is a reason to lump her in with a hateful (her comments on Manning) corporate sell out like Joy Reid is too much.  Her show is the reason I regularly read Black Agenda Report.  When Glen Ford handed Obama sycophant Michael Eric Dyson his ass on Democracy Now, I knew I had found another place to get real reporting, absent the hero worship and partisan hackery of the so called liberal media.

She has reported for years on the US backing of right wing death squads in central and south america.... very few others even touch on the subject much less do indepth reporting on it.

She is a hero, a great reporter, and deserves nothing but respect.  She inspired the great Jeremy Scahill to be what he is today.  That alone puts her head and shoulders of above most in the news business.

Yeah Amy G & DN! Went totally Lame-stream on Libya.

DN! conveniently failed to bring on guests w a different view than the standard line [LIE] about Khadaffi as the brutal dictator who use Viagra for mass rapes & hired African mercs [used as a 'cover-story' excuse to mask the real racist lynch mob NTC that FUK-US NATO & the GCC unleashed on Black Libyans & African migrant workers] against 'peaceful' civilian protestors in Benghazi- Even guests that DN! has regularly had on before IE: Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, Sis Cynthia McKinney, etc. And as you said Beverly- When DN! did have folks on that refused to just regurgitate the Lame-stream Khadaffi the evil dictator meme [to justify FUK-US NATO assault on Libya], it seemed DN! always ran out of time before they could finish making their point. Contrast that to how many times cruise missile liberal Juan Cole was effectively given a sounding platform on DN! to hype & justify FUK-US NATO's relentless bombing assault on Libya.  

It's telling DN! even pushed this [false] peaceful protestor meme, even while showing images of NTC Al-CIAeda link rebels w both small arms & even anti-tank / anti-aircraft weapons. Yet DN! did NOT say a mumbling word about that racist lynch mob NTC ethnically cleansing the Black Libyan town of Twerga. 

PS: Re: DN!'s curious take on FUK-US NATO's phony so-called 'R2P' assault on Libya: IMO it's also telling that in a 2007 DN! interview w Amy G ex-NATO Gen Wesley Clark explained how the Bush / Cheney / NeoCONs in the immediate wake of the 9-11 'New Pearl Harbor' event were planning to do regime-change &/or destabilize several Muslim countries IE: IRAQ & LIBYA, as well as Sudan [split in 2 by 2011 during FUK-US NATO's assult on Libya], Somalia, IRAN & SYRIA!!! IMO this means Amy G should have viewed FUK-US NATO assault on Libya just 4 yrs later w this info foremost in her mind!

Any links to articles supporting your claims? I am interested.

I have a friendly challenge for you.  For every documented case of Amy Goodman getting something wrong (in your opinion), I will find 20 or more stories she got right (in my opinion, and probably yours) that virtually nobody else was covering.... and certainly not as in depth.  Won't even be difficult. 

I Don't Have to Post Links RE Amy G & DN!'s Take on Libya.

Just go to the DN! site's archives from Feb-March thru Oct 2011, Key-word Libya. And also Bruce Dixon did an article here @ BAR in 2011, questioning Amy G's curious position re: FUK-US NATO's phony 'R2P' assault on Libya [take note of my & Beverlys comments on Bro Dixon's article taking Amy G & DN! to task on Libya- We were in a word LIVID!].  

For Amy G's DN! 2007 interview of Wesley Clark: Just google Amy G / DN!, Wesley Clark, NeoCon regime-change agenda, 7 Muslim countries.

PS: DN!'s take on FUK-US NATO phony so-called 'R2P' assault on Libya was so troubling, I almost cut them loose entirely. But DN! did do a decent job reporting on killings of Trayvon & Mr Kenneth Chamberlain, so I still sometimes watch them- but far less regularly than before & thru a much more critical lens.   

Goodman is under the the System's Thumb

I Volunteered for 5 Years in KPFK's News Department during the 1990s and was very familar with Goodman's work. She is not the Radical that you make her out to be. That is readily self evident in her shameless self promotion of her show. Subtle to most people but as subtle as a train wreck to people who are familar with media. How many times have we've heard "And now this Democracy Now Exclusive". That crap makes me want to puke. The good ones don't have to promote themselves into a reputation. They let their work speak for itself.

Goodman has had a cavalcade of CIA Hacks on her show over the years. The most notable is Juan Cole. But she has had CIA Operatives on her show from Syria a little over a year ago when Obama's Mercenary War was just kicking off. They were bashing Assad and parrotting Samantha Power's R2P crap.

Then there was the Sibel Edmonds Affair. Edmonds' politics is more of a Libertarian flavor but she does have a penchant for calling out power. When Edmonds was bashing Bush Goodman was all over her like dirty on a duck. There wasn't an opportunity that Goodman passed up to have Edmonds on her show. But when Edmonds started laying into Obama Goodman dropped her like a hot potato ! I spoke with Edmonds and she alledges that Morton Halprin, one of George Soros' Lieutenants, leaned on Goodman to ditch Edmonds. Call up Halprin's wiki page and check out what he's about.

I follow Democracy Now on the web because its quick and easy and doesn't waste time. I've been around long enough to know when she has an interesting interview just by reading the description.If something is good I will watch it online. I typically take in less than a half dozen segments, not shows, but segments per month.

If you want excellent International News make sure to put on your scan of websites to watch. Eric Draitser knows International Affairs better than most people know the back of their hand. He is called upon for interviews at least once a week by news outlets such as PressTV in Iran and RT (Russia Today). His articles are widely published on sites such as GlobalResearch, Counterpunch and Glen Ford has had Eric on Black AgendaRadio several times and speaks highly of him. When it comes to International Affairs Eric runs rings around the entire Democracy Staff. He posted his latest podcast Podcast Monday February 10th which includes a segment on the fighting that has erupted in Southern Libya in the last 10 Days. is a welcome respite from the Identity Politics that flows out of Democracy Now.

Besides Juan Cole another Amy G favorite w Alleged CIA Ties IS-

MS Gloria Steinem [just awarded the 'Medal of Freedom' by Obama]. Note this article by one of MS Steinem's contemporary feminists, Harriet Fraad: 'The Feminist Movement: What Happened & Why' [@ ] } 'Betty Friedan’s 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique is touted as the beginning of the “Feminist Movement.” However in the 1960s when 2nd wave feminism was born there were 2 branches of Feminism. One has been repressed- The other celebrated. One was Friedan’s and later Gloria Steinem’s. It was a gender only movement fighting for gender equality within the USA as it was / is, with its Racial and Class Hierarchy. It was / is dominated by privileged educated [white] women. The other branch of the women’s movement was the class conscious “Women’s Liberation Movement” which emerged from the radical Anti- War and Civil Rights movements. - The original Women’s Liberation Movement was a movement of both race and class integration, a vision of justice for all. It saw female liberation as the basis for social revolution... Statements of that period stressing the unity of race, class and gender oppression were issued by The Third World Women’s Alliance in 1969... One thing that happened was the enormous funding that the CIA allocated to its operative, Gloria Steinem... Though not discussed on US TV [IE: the lame-stream media], the net is replete with information about MS Steinem’s CIA employment from her days as a student informing on US students attending world youth festivals, to her gender only subversion of the Women’s Liberation Movement... Through CIA subversion led by MS Steinem, the [lame-stream feminist] movement became largely gender essentialist- a set of projects within the capitalist system. It became an attempt to create equality for [mainly upper-class white] women within a system [IE: Wall St Bankster Corp Capitalism in combo w Corp DLC Dims] of ever greater economic and social inequality.... { 

amy's been lame on many things

You're absolutel right about that amy gal perpetuating that big fat ugly white lie about Gaddafi govt troops while saying nothing about the u.s.-&-euro-incited pogrom against black people in Libya (especially black men; I remember seeing several chilling youtube vids of black men being battered by maghreb/arab mobs). Let the least little thing happen to just one white (or honorary white) gal or white jew and ol' amy, along with her fox, npr, cnn peers, will be on that story lickety-split to report it ad nauseum. Amy also irritated me by, on several occasions, casting Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe in a pejorative way, and failing, of course, to add that Mugabe has been the only sub-Saharan African head of state to oust cracker squatters from fertile lands their ancestors stole from blacks in the 19th & 20th centuries (an achievement the turn-coat nelson mandela never attempted when he became the celebrity darling of the West). Amy is as deftly sleazy as Obama: they fool many into thinking they're something that they're not. Oh! and funny how amy hasn't had prof. Cornel West on DN since West stopped slingin' the deceptive "progressive" neoliberal bullshit that scuzzbags like mel harr parry, jesse jackson, angie davis, bill mckibben still spew.





I've Got some other 'Issues' w Some of Amy G's Pet Issues

But for me Libya was damn near a deal-breaker!!! First it caught me off-guard & almost blinded me- cause I scarcely believe what I was seeing [Is this DN! or CNN / MSNBC???]. Then it got to the point that DN!'s 'spin' on Libya just plain PISSED ME OFF!!!  

It's only because of Amy G's / DN!'s decent coverage of the killings of Trayvon & Mr Chamberlain, that I even still watch DN -BUT- Only occasionally & far more critically!

Unfortunately, most black

Unfortunately, most black folks are still stuck in the mindset of 50 years ago and are simply satisfied with a black face in a high place.