Back in October, Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez got a lot of great publicity when he took to the floor of the House of Representatives to deliver a speech, with audiovisual aids, blasting NBC’s plans to have Donald Trump host Saturday Night Live. The media lapped up lines like, “If Donald Trump had said gays and lesbians were murderers and raping Americans, would he get to host the show?” Loads more yeasty stuff where that came from, as Gutierrez stood next to a large picture of SNL impresario Lorne Michaels looking stern, and a card with the hashtag #RacismIsntFunny.
That went so well that Gutierrez hoped lightning would strike a second time today when he again took to the House floor to blast NBC. But this time, the Democratic politician’s complaint was Melissa Harris-Perry’s exit from MSNBC. He also decried the recent reduced presence on MSNBC of Jose Diaz-Balart, who anchors daily and weekend broadcasts on Telemundo, which is owned by NBCU.
This time Gutierrez attempted, unsuccessfully, to tap out the “chimes” xylophone sound first introduced by NBC in 1929. And he delivered his speech while standing next to a cardboard cutout of an old tube TV set on which was displayed what appeared to be NBC’s first peacock logo introduced in 1957.
“What’s going on at NBC?” asked the time-traveling congressman. “Last week, Wake Forest University professor and MSNBC television host Melissa Harris-Perry was abruptly pulled from the airwaves without even a chance to say goodbye,” he said, inaccurately.
Last weekend, Harris-Perry and MSNBC confirmed she would not be returning to the cable news network, after an email in which she denounced the network for pre-empting her show for election coverage was leaked to the press. Harris-Perry refused to host MSNBC presidential campaign coverage in her show’s time slot last weekend and, in an email sent to staff, she expressed displeasure with MSNBC for having pre-empted more than once MHP for an election-coverage program called The Place For Politics.
“I am not hungry for empty airtime,” Harris-Perry wrote in the note. “I care only about substantive, meaningful, and autonomous work. When we can do that, I will return — not a moment earlier.” MSNBC called Harris-Perry’s refusal to return to the air “really surprising, confusing and disappointing.”
The day before Gutierrez’s speech on the floor of the House, Harris-Perry again took to Twitter to take on MSNBC: