MSNBC’s shocking cancellation of Saturday morning news program The Cross Connection and the news network’s decision not to renew Tiffany Cross’ contract, shocked fans and colleagues. On Friday, Cross released a statement where she revealed she was “disheartened” at the decision coming four days before the 2022 midterm elections.
“From the beginning, we were intentional about centering communities of colors, elevating issues and voices often ignored by the mainstream media, and disrupting the echo chambers,” she wrote. “As a result, viewers consistently made The Cross Connection MSNBC’s highest rated weekend show.”
She also thanked her fans, community and team, noting that “attacks on me from other outlets and former hosts will never control my narrative.” She was a frequent target of Fox News poster boy Tucker Carlson, which often led his horrible fan base to flood social media with racist attacks on her.
“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 added. “It is my hope that the last two years at MSNBC have been disruptive and transformative, changing how politics are discussed and making policy more digestible. It was the opportunity of a lifetime to create a show the culture would be proud to keep trending every weekend.”
Tiffany’s friends rallied around her, with MSNBC host Joy Reid showing her support on Friday’s episode of The ReidOut saying, “She is not just my friend. She is my sister. I love her. I support her. I was boosting for her to get the show that she created, The Cross Connection, that she put her heart and soul into every day. And I just want to say, those on the far right who are attacking her on a social media app that I won’t name: You don’t understand how sisters move. So watch this space. We will be here. Her sisters will be here to support anything Tiffany Cross ever does. Know that. Believe that.”
Meanwhile, frequent MSNBC contributor and The Nation justice correspondent Elie Mystal posted a Twitter thread explaining that “there is a cost to taking on racists while Black. Every Black person I know knows this cost. They navigate it at work, and in their professional circles. From the start of my career, a lot of Black professionals have liked me because I say to their bosses what they cannot.”
He went on to write “Tiffany was special because she proactively centered her work and her voice in nonwhite audiences. It’s not that she didn’t care what white people thought. It’s that she refused to bend her voice around those forces. She was willing to pay the price to uplift nonwhite voices.” He then added how the network’s treatment is meant to send a message to other Black news personalities, tweeting, “And so, they punished her. Publicly. Disrespectfully. In a mean way. As an example to other Blacks in the media to... recalculate. They want us all to recalibrate the risk/reward matrix of telling the truth about white people while Black.”
As usual, Elie sums it up brilliantly. Like so many of us have done over the years, MSNBC expected Tiffany to just swallow all those racists attacks and not defend herself. They also wanted to make sure no one else got too honest about white people, specifically white women, who she often called out for their support of MAGA republicans and their draconian policies.
At the end of the day, TV networks are really only concerned about how these decisions affect their wallets. Based on how Black viewers on social media reacted Saturday morning, it seems like MSNBC will start feeling the ramifications of losing Tiffany Cross in low ratings. More importantly, her absence will definitely be felt in how marginalized communities are covered by the network.