The Whitening Continues: MSNBC Backs Out Of Proposed Alex Wagner Weekend Show

The news of Wagner's potential departure from the network follows Melissa Harris-Perry's angry walkout and the benching of Jose Diaz-Balart.

It appears that MSNBC doesn’t even care that everyone can tell it is explicitly trying to make the network less diverse and more white.

On the same day Politico reported that the network wasn’t planning to use veteran anchor (and Miami native) Jose Diaz-Balart during its Florida primary coverage in March, and shortly after the angry departure of Melissa Harris-Perry over mistreatment, it looks like another minority is being pushed aside. CNN’s Dylan Byers reported on Monday that MSNBC has decided against giving former rising star Alex Wagner a weekend show.

Wagner, the child of a Burmese immigrant, has been used as a reporter and guest host since the cancellation of her daily program, NOW with Alex Wagner, last July. That move occurred during a flurry of programming changes by higher-ups to move the network in a more centrist direction, focusing more on ‘hard’ news coverage and less on political commentary. While some of those who saw their programs cut last year were let go completely by the network, Wagner was retained, ostensibly with the promise that she’d be given another program down the road.

According to Byers’ report, MSNBC announced in October that Wagner would host a weekend show in 2016. However, at some point over the past few weeks, the network nixed those plans. Byers was unable to get any comment from NBC News or MSNBC regarding the change of heart.

Since early last year, a number of minority reporters and hosts have either been shown the door or demoted while white personalities have been brought in to take their places. Besides Diaz-Balart, Wagner and Harris-Perry, Joy Reid had her show canceled, Toure was released after The Cycle was axed and Al Sharpton was moved from 6 PM ET weekdays to Sunday morning. Meanwhile, Chuck Todd was given another daily show, Brian Williams was brought back, Kate Snow given weekday duties, and Mark Halperin/John Heilemann had their profiles greatly raised (and their Bloomberg show rebroadcast).

It would appear with this decision that Wagner is likely to move elsewhere, either by her own choice or not having her contract renewed by MSNBC. As for the former Lean Forward network, it is increasingly becoming a channel of center-right milquetoast white folks who won’t press Donald Trump or other Republicans too hard.

Justin Baragona is the editor and publisher of Contemptor. Prior to starting the site, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He currently resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.
8 Comments on this post.
  • Nikki
    29 February 2016 at 7:43 pm

    What is MSNBCthinking!!?? I’m furious that these changes are being made yet there are no reasons given for getting rid of brilliant, well-followed newscasters!!!
    This girl s a disgusting move and stinks of racism andbright-wing stupidity! You should be ashamed of yourselves!!!?

  • Cleo Null
    29 February 2016 at 10:41 pm

    We really hate the way you are getting rid of the good people we have been watching for a long time. Melissa Harris Perry is a very smart lady and we loved her show we really liked Ed S who was on evenings at 5pm but you let him go now you have Joe S on for 4 hours which is at least 3 hours too many Rachel Maddow is our favorite show. She is very bright and if you take her off we can certainly turn to CBS or ABC or anywhere but MSNBC. Please don’t screw up the programming any more. Cleo Null

    29 February 2016 at 11:30 pm

    And although they are not “minorities.” let’s not forget the ouster of Ed Schulz, Ari Melber, Krystal Ball,and before that Keith Olbermann and Martin Bashir. Shame on MSNBC.

    • Onaje Allan Gumbs
      1 March 2016 at 10:44 am

      I am sick and tired of people feeling that it is ok to refer to people who are not white as “minorities”. It is as bad as just saying “nigger”.

      • nvieira
        1 March 2016 at 7:08 pm

        No it’s not. Minority refers to a section of the population that were fewer in numbers and usually not white, tho not exclusively non-white (like Italians and Jews who are white). The “N” word was a derogatory name used specifically to denigrate black people. Stop minimising the revolting racist epithat by comparing it to a description that had nothing to do with racism.

  • Ray
    1 March 2016 at 9:39 am

    MF this white racist network!!!! Now there will be three networks that do not care to report balance news. These network shows the only news is lfluff and dumb down news on these dumb ass white guys who are trying to become the President.

  • Z54
    1 March 2016 at 9:42 am

    Looks like MSNBC has become the heil Hillary channel!

  • Misty
    1 March 2016 at 10:16 am

    Remember the David Bowie interview with MTV? Bowie questions the interviewer about the lack of black musicians, specifically those whose influence launched the careers of the Mick Jaggers, Elvis Presleys, and Bowies, among others. The response from MTV was shocking for the time but the attitude remains the same: He said the sponsors wouldn’t like it (paraphrasing). The look on Bowie’s face expressed how many of us felt.

    Many white Americans can’t stand to think that anyone else but people who look like them are heroes, good people, are productive. They’d rather see others as beneath them. It shows a lack of self-esteem and failures.

    Stop supporting the sponsors who support programs like this. Start with MSNBC.

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