Friday, April 27, 2018

"Joy Gets Right To The Business of Unapologetic Truth Telling."


Elle |  Now Reid’s show, AM Joy, regularly pulls in viewers, and 2017 marks the first time in 16 years that MSNBC beat out CNN in the Saturday-morning time slot. Twitter swells with real-time reactions from #Reiders, especially when Reid schools a guest in her trademark patient, no-nonsense fashion. (After Shonda Rhimes retweeted a clip of Reid calmly demolishing a guest who was spouting Clinton Foundation conspiracy theories—appending the comment “Just in case you’re wondering how to dismiss foolishness”—Reid confesses, “I died. Oh, I died!”) Given the cacophony of cable news, where the loudest panelist often wins, Reid’s approach has few antecedents on the right or the left, but perhaps that’s why she has so many newly minted fans: In a sensationalist climate, she refuses to let facts wriggle out of her grasp.

“As a woman of color,” Cross notes, “there’s often this unspoken pressure to dot your i’s with hearts to avert the presumed angry Black woman stereotype. But Joy skirts past that and gets right to the business of unapologetic truth telling.”

Reid also looks for what she calls “ideological diversity,” although that can backfire in cases like the dustup that earned her Rhimes’s attention. “I’m not trying to do Barnum & Bailey’s circus. If you’re coming on to do a circus act and say that Hillary Clinton murdered 40 people, we can’t have a conversation,” she says. When she appears on Meet the Press, she’s been known to run upstairs, in heels, to her own studio between breaks to check a fact. “You have to act fast, because once something’s said on TV, people think it’s true. So that’s one of the reasons I will interrupt people.” 

Notes Hayes, “She has this deep centeredness I have come to really value and appreciate. She doesn’t really raise her voice. She’s not a ranter; she’s not a yeller.” 

Still, every viral clip earns cries of approval from the rah-rah arm of the left-wing media—and ire from the far right. Reid tells me the harassment has spread beyond Twitter; she recently had to inform NBC of a rape threat. 

Her philosophy, she tells me, is just to keep on keeping on. “We’re trying to fill the show with as many fact-vitamins as we can, to inoculate our audience against the fact-free nonsense they’ll deal with the rest of the week. We’re trying to load you up with nutritious facts, so when you go into the world and are arguing with your argle-bargle uncle who’s trying to tell you Seth Rich was murdered [referring to the conspiracy theory that the Clintons were somehow involved], you’ve got some facts; or they tell you that Uranium One was a scandal, you’ve got something. We’re delivering people some ammunition to be able to fight in a fact-free world.”