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Melissa Harris-Perry (née Harris-Lacewell) is a professor of political science at Tulane University, an author, and pundit. Harris-Perry has previously been a guest on MSNBC and a guest host on The Maddow Show. She had an eponymous show on MSNBC from 2012 to 2016.
All your children are belong to the state?
Harris-Perry caught flak from right wing media over an MSNBC "Lean Forward" promo clip, over a remark taken out of context: "...we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities." Cue the predictable right-wing red-baiting paranoia, such as Rush Limbaugh comparing Harris-Perry's opinion to the Communist idea of forced child labor. As well as other snarls like "collectivism" and "statism" and strawman allegations that Harris-Perry is "anti-family". The right wing poutrage ignored the fuller context in that Harris-Perry was talking about the U.S. public education system and alleging that the U.S. insufficiently invests in public education.
"What is riskier than being poor in America?"
On her show, Harris-Perry exploded (with some justification) at Monica Mehta in a debate over welfare, screaming, "What is riskier than being poor in America? Seriously?" She apologized for the outburst and the clip was pulled by MSNBC (damn liberal media!), but many media figures applauded the remark. It would seem some people really are tired of being nice to the "job-creators."
Melissa Harris-Perry has spoken in defense of the Church of Latter Day Saints, given that fundamentalists have often attacked the LDS faith as being a cult. She said Mitt Romney was undeserving of votes for many reasons, but his faith was not one of them.
Nonetheless, she was lambasted by pretty much everyone when a segment mocked Romney having an adopted black grandchild, for which she was, again, forced to apologize.
Anna Julia Cooper Project
Through Tulane University, Harris-Perry founded the Anna Julia Cooper Project. Its stated mission is "To provide an environment where young scholars, established scholars, community activists, and students can work together with mutual respect" on the topics of race, gender, and women's politics.
In 2011 she published a column accusing white liberals of "a more insidious form of racism" for not giving Barack Obama the same percentage of the vote as Bill Clinton in 1996. Even Salon thought this was batshit insane, and actually said so. Around the same time she published a book in which, among other things, she attempted to defend her two academic advisers from criticism over having joined the Group of 88 during the Duke lacrosse case; in doing so she presented a remarkbly disingenuous framing of the events and criticism thereof, and suggested that the "feelings" of the signatories were as important as facts. One of her targets of criticism, history professor KC Johnson, called her out on her bullshit.
Making the good guy out to be the bad guy
In July 2013, she told Edward Snowden that he ought to come back to the United States and stand trial because his travel to Hong Kong and Russia placed a strain on the U.S's relationship with China and Russia. She also blamed him for the fact that the media was reporting on him and not the revelations he provided. It just so happens of course, that in order for her to say this on air she literally has to use air time to talk about Snowden when she could be using air time to talk about the revelations.
Culture of fear
She accused the president of MSNBC and the cable news network of creating a "culture of fear" that degrades diversity.
Termination of show
The Melissa Harris-Perry show ended in February 2016, after several consecutive weeks of being off the air due to election coverage. Harris-Perry wrote a bitter email complaining about her treatment by MSNBC. Several days later, MSNBC cancelled the show.
- MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry screams at guest in welfare debate, Los Angeles Times
- Melissa Harris-Perry Explores Misconceptions About Mormon Religion with Mormon Panelists, Mediaite
- Don't Dislike Mitt Because He's Mormon, MSNBC
- Melissa Harris-Perry and the Contrition Complex, The New Yorker
- Cooper Project
- Oh, the fail.
- Abby Martin tells it like it is