By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
Without detailed explanation and days before one of the most consequential midterm elections in recent memory, MSNBC decided to end its contract with MSNBC host Tiffany Cross. The staff who work on her show was informed of the change on Oct. 4.
Cross was host of The Cross Connection, which aired on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. The show was the highest rated weekend show on MSNBC, whose slogan is “this is who we are.”
The sudden end to Cross’ time at MSNBC is another moment in a string of examples of MSNBC parting ways with Black women who were either hosts or commentators at the network. The list of Black women who have departed over the last several years includes Tamron Hall, April Ryan, Melissa Harris Perry, Karen Finney and Zerlina Maxwell.
In a statement posted on social media on the evening of Nov. 4, Cross reacted saying, “I am disheartened to learn of MSNBC’s decision to cancel The Cross Connection, at such a crucial time — four days before the midterm elections.”
“Fresh off the heels of ‘a racial reckoning,’ as so many have called it, we see that with progress there is always backlash. Now is not the time to retreat to politics or journalism as usual,” Cross observed.
There has been a rise in political violence and white supremacy in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s rise to political prominence. Trump’s announcement he’d run for the presidency included a racist attack on Mexican immigrants, blaming them for crime in the U.S.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” Trump said during the June 16, 2015 campaign kickoff announcement in New York.
Prior to that statement, Trump had spent years attempting to falsely claim that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and somehow elected illegitimately though President Obama was born in the U.S.
On June 17, 2015 a white supremacist, Dylann Roof, murdered nine Black people by shooting them to death at point blank range during a bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Those murdered by Roof including the church’s senior pastor: State Senator Clementa Pinckney.
During his time in office, Trump hired two white supremacist who often platformed and pushed policies and messaging that has been used by racists: Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller.
The FBI has reported a notable uptick in political threats and violence and named the number one threat in the U.S: as politically driven domestic terrorism.
On Aug. 4, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress that, “the greatest terrorism threat to our homeland is posed by lone actors or small cells who typically radicalize to violence online and look to attack soft targets with easily accessible weapons. We see these threats manifested within both domestic violent extremists and homegrown violent extremists… Individuals who commit violent criminal acts in furtherance of social or political goals stemming from domestic influences—some of which include racial or ethnic bias, or anti-government or anti-authority sentiments.”
In 2017, a hate filled white supremacists riot broke out in Charlottesville, Va. and a counter-protester was murdered after a white supremacist deliberately drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. President Trump did little to push back against the racist Charlottesville rioters and instead said “there are very good people on both sides.”
In Jan. 2021, the U.S. Capitol was violently attacked by Trump supporters shortly after he incited them in a a speech to go to the Capitol on the day President Biden’s 8 million vote victory over Trump was to be certified.
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi, 82, was violently attacked in his home by an intruder who struck him with a hammer. The individual trafficked in false online conspiracy theories around election fraud and QAnon driven paranoia.
At a time of rising political division and deliberate misinformation and disinformation, MSNBC is removing an on-air presence pushing back against growing racist and fascist trends in politics. Cross was recently a target of Fox News host Tucker Carlson. The silence of MSNBC on Carlson’s attack was noted by many on social media.
“So just right before a crucial election cycle the plug is pulled on @tiffanydcross? What’s going on @msnbc?! First @mharrisperry & now this….I know the numbers were right….what’s goin on?” Wrote music artist and producer Questlove on twitter on Nov. 4.
“WTH?! First @ZerlinaMaxwell now suddenly @TiffanyDCross is out @msnbc? Pro Tip: Reversing 2020’s equality by ruthlessly purging people of color or taking hints on how to treat your hosts from Tucker & Fox News won’t appease Trump & the armed insurrectionists. They hate you,” wrote Malcolm Nance, a MSNBC contributor.
MSNBC announced Cross Connection’s debut in December 2020 along with a Sunday show hosted by Jonathan Capehart. Moving forward, MSNBC will have different hosts in the Saturday 10 a.m. slot to replace Cross.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is a political analyst who appears regularly on #RolandMartinUnfiltered. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke