MSNBC Benches Jose Diaz-Balart During Florida Primary In Favor Of White Broadcasters
It looks like MSNBC is continuing its push to make the network whiter and more comfortable for conservatives as the election season heats up.
Following Melissa Harris-Perry’s ugly walkout from the network after MSNBC execs took editorial control away from her show and effectively benched her in place of less-experienced analysts and reporters, it looks like another minority veteran reporter is also getting the shaft. Jose Diaz-Balart, who splits his time between MSNBC, NBC and the NBC-owned Telemundo, is currently not listed on the network’s schedule for the week of Florida’s primary, when the network will be broadcasting live from the state.
According to Politico’s Hadas Gold, Diaz-Balart’s normal 9 AM ET spot will be anchored by Steve Kornacki. Kate Snow, Andrea Mitchell, Chris Jansing and Thomas Roberts will also host various hours. Over the past few weeks, Diaz-Balart has seen his daily morning program, The Rundown, constantly pre-empted for live election coverage. Per Gold, this has frustrated the experienced anchor, as he expects there to be more coordination between MSNBC and Telemundo. He anchors a weeknight newscast on the Spanish-language channel, so it would be helpful if he knew his schedule on a daily basis.
However, perhaps even more galling than the consistent pre-emption of his MSNBC program, is the fact that the network is not looking to utilize him in Florida. Diaz-Balart is from Miami and there is a large Hispanic and Latino voting base in the state. Also, with the Rise of Trump, and the demonization of Hispanics this campaign, it would seem imperative to have someone who is in tune with that community during your election coverage, especially if he’s already in house.
Per Gold, MSNBC staffers are pretty shocked by this turn of events. Last year, in the midst of program changes, which affected a number of minority hosts and reporters, it was rumored that Diaz-Balart’s show was on the chopping block. According to the scuttlebutt, Morning Joe would be expanded to four hours this year to take advantage of the election coverage. This was met with petitions from the Hispanic community calling for Diaz-Balart to be retained.
While MSNBC relented on canceling The Rundown, the network instead just went with more live broadcasting of campaign events and rallies over the past couple of months, pre-empting Diaz-Balart’s program over and over and over. Now, the native Miamian isn’t even being used in his home state. The whitewashing at MSNBC, and the creation of a safe space for Donald Trump, continues unabated.