Racialicious

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations. If you've been on the blog, you know how this Tumblr works, too. Including the moderation policy.
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Pat Buchanan, the conservative political commentator, announced Thursday his “days as a political analyst at MSNBC have come to an end.” In an essay, he cited “an incessant clamor from the left” as the reason for his departure.

It’s unclear if Buchanan was fired or if the final decision to leave was his own but MSNBC suspended him last October and he has not appeared on the network since. MSNBC President Phil Griffin said last month that he didn’t think Buchanan’s latest book “Suicide of a Superpower” that contains chapters titled “The End of White America” and “The Death of Christian America.” “should be part of the national dialogue, much less part of the dialogue on MSNBC.”

A spokesman for MSNBC told the NY Times, “After 10 years, we’ve parted ways with Pat Buchanan. We wish him well.”

—Jorge Rivas, "Pat Buchanan: ‘My Days as a Political Analyst at MSNBC Have Come to an End’", Colorlines 2/17/12

I’ma let POTUS Obama express my feelings about this:

Obama applause

At every turn, Buchanan has blamed the same groups of people - immigrants, LGBT people, Jewish people - for, in his mind, sullying his idea of what America should be. During his political career, the press at large gave giving Buchanan a wide berth, according to Slate:

Since Buchanan first ran for president in 1992, the press has largely treated him as a legitimate candidate rather than an extremist canker on American politics, á la David Duke or Louis Farrakhan. Part of the explanation for this is that he’s one of us. Though few journalists have any sympathy for Buchanan’s views, some find it hard to reconcile evidence of his bigotry with the friendly guy they know. For those covering his campaigns, there are other disincentives. Once you brand him an anti-Semite, a racist, and a fascist, it’s not much fun riding around New Hampshire with him in a minivan. What’s more, there is a dimension of self-conscious theatricality to Buchanan’s performances that makes his views easier to dismiss. He’ll uncork a zinger about not buying any more chopsticks until the Chinese quit dumping cheap imports, and then cackle at his no-no. You can write this kind of thing off as just Buchanan tomfooling around and building his brand for TV, rather than dyed-in-the-wool bigotry.

And that column was written in 1999, three years before MSNBC and Griffin gave him a national platform, where he would go on to claim that America "has been a country built, basically, by white folks;" that “only white men” died in the Battle of Gettysburg; and so on.

So what changed? According to an InsideCableNews column at Mediaite, it sure wasn’t Buchanan - it was the platform around him:

On the other hand, MSNBC has changed. It openly courts Progressive views and news. It puts out job ads asking for candidates with a progressive news background. Its pundit host class is all progressive and the network lets them show up en masse at the White House for off the record get togethers. The network is openly and aggressively courting the African American viewing audience so much so that it now notes how big it is in African American viewership in its releases.

Add all these things together and you now have a scenario where MSNBC, which used to be able to handle a Pat Buchanan and his intransigent controversial views, can no longer afford to do so without alienating core constituencies it covets.

The theory makes more sense now than it would have a few years ago: even after Keith Olbermann’s acrimonious departure, MSNBC has rebuilt a good portion of its’ talk show brand around Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Chris Hayes, and has added Melissa Harris-Perry, even if it keeps Joe Scarborough around in the morning.

Read more of what Arturo García said about why Buchanan was, essentially, fired.

We at the R join the congratulations chorus in giving love to one of our favorite public intellectuals, Melissa Harris-Perry, on getting her own show on MSNBC! The show’s premiere is Saturday, February 4, from 10AM to noon. Its regular slot is Saturdays and Sundays in that time slot. 

This is how we celebrated backstage here at the R: