Two days after MSNBC‘s Way Too Early ran a segment in which host Thomas Roberts talked about the origins of Cinco de Mayo while Morning Joe producer Louis Burgdorf ambled around the newsroom in a sombrero, shaking maracas and pretending to swill tequila, the program will issue an on-air apology.
In the segment, Roberts talked about the origins of Monday’s holiday. Burgdorf shook his maracas and faux swilled. “It’s also an excuse to drink tequila on a Monday morning at work for Louis,” Roberts said, adding, “You have to drink the whole thing — and eat the worm.”
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists blasted the segment, accusing MSNBC of “lack of judgment, insensitivity” and for its “attack of the Mexican community.”
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When Alex Wagner moves to 4 PM ET on MSNBC, replacing potty-mouthed Martin Bashir, a rotating lineup of on-air talent will replace Wagner at noon. They include Joy Reid, who has been filling in at 4 since Bashir’s exit last month, as well as Ari Melber, who’d previously replaced Steve Kornacki as host of MSNBC’s The Cycle in April.
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MSNBC is expected to eventually pick one of its host rotators to get the gig on a permanent basis, reports TV Newser. At least, as permanent as hosts are on MSNBC these days. Most recently, Bashir resigned after the drumbeat failed to die down when he apologized for having suggested, on air, that someone might defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth, after she likened the country’s debt to China to slavery — because an infamous slave owner used to punish his slaves in that manner. Bashir nearly ran into MSNBC’s short-lived host Alec Baldwin heading out the door — Baldwin having been suspended, and then exited by mutual agreement, at about the same time in the wake of a homophobic slur lobbed at a photographer during a street altercation.
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Eight months after MSNBC named Brian Shactman new anchor of Way Too Early — its pre-dawn lead-in to Morning Joe — the cable news net has tapped Thomas Roberts to replace him starting Monday. Roberts said in the announcement the job is “right in line with my career goals and aspirations.”
Shactman, meanwhile, said in this morning’s announcement he’d come to the conclusion that “I don’t want politics to be my only focus. … I want to continue to branch out, making sure my career is not solely defined by that.” Shactman got the show when Willie Geist was named co-anchor of Today‘s 9 AM hour.
MSNBC president Phil Griffin said Roberts got the gig because his “unique personality and point of view are just the right mix to lead-in to Morning Joe.” When The Daily Caller reported the openly gay Roberts was replacing Shactman because the left-leaning channel wants the show to be seen as more “diverse,” Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough shot back, to TV Newser, “Despite Internet speculation, he was chosen based strictly on merit and not politically correct considerations.” Roberts has been host of MSNBC Live at 11 a.m. since 2010 and also has been a fill-in host and contributor to Morning Joe, Way Too Early, and NBC’s Today. Read More »
UPDATE, 1 PM: On Today’s MSNBC Live, Thomas Roberts asked Miss Universe pageant co-owner Donald Trump asked if giving a thumbs up to his hosting gig, which is “professionally flying in the face of” Russian anti-gay laws, “change any of your prior public stances on marriage equality here in the U.S?”
“No, it doesn’t change,” Trump responded, adding that Roberts is “a wonderful guy.” Trump said he’s invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to the pageant, on November 9. “I know for a fact that he wants very much to come, but we’ll have to see. We haven’t heard yet, but we have invited him.”
PREVIOUS: NBC News landed itself a great angle on a big news story when MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts signed to co-host the Miss Universe Pageant in Russia next month, joining NBC’s America’s Got Talent judge/“Spice Girl” Mel B. Roberts. “Courage is contagious. I have felt that way since coming out publicly in 2006,” Roberts explains on MSNBC.com, saying he aggressively sought the gig. Roberts is replacing NBCU-owned Bravo’s Andy Cohen, who previously hosted the pageant but said he would not do so this time because of Russia’s recently passed anti-gay laws which left him concerned for his own safety and feeling that, as a gay man, he should not set foot in Russia. (The pageant is co-owned by NBC and Donald Trump’s organization.) Read More »