The need for Ta-Nehisi Coates to present Harris-Perry in such a manner ultimately stems from the attacks at that moment. Melissa Harris-Perry was being scrutinized for an off key remark, a statement of ill will that involved a child. If media politics where a game of spades, Melissa Harris-Perry’s comments would be something like getting caught reneging—for those that are not natives, a very grievous error in the US Black Community. In this analogy of sorts, Melissa Harris-Perry is the partner of MSNBC, in a game against FOX news and its Republican Party interests. And following this line of comparison, the media voices of the Republican Party wanted their three books, in a sense, Melissa Harris-Perry to be fired, or to have her reputation sullied.
So, Ta Nehisi Coates finds himself in an interesting role here in this scenario. If I am allowed by you the reader to continue, I’d like to venture that Coates is something like a sideline gambler, who has a vested interests in the success of MSNBC and Melissa Harris-Perry winning this game against FOX News and its GOP associated interests. Coates’ job here is to stop the partners from arguing over the renege, so that they might focus on what makes them winning partners. In this regard, if I might be allowed to stretch your imagination here some more, Coates has to frame Melissa Harris-Perry in such a way as to remind MSNBC of what MSNBC and Melissa Harris-Perry as a brand have done together, and all the wins that Melissa Harris-Perry has provided for the MSNBC slash Melissa Harris-Perry conglomeration that is “The Melissa Harris-Perry Show”.
Alright, now that we have extended ourselves thusly, let us step back so that we might step forward. We’ve got that this interesting metaphor of a spades game where one partner on one team has been caught reneging, and a third-party who is enjoying the benefits of the partnership of that team needing that to remain in existence. We also have the less metaphoric objective reality of Ta Nehisi Coates needing to present via his writing platform over at The Atlantic Melissa Harris-Perry in such a way as to remind MSNBC’s investors to keep her show on air, as opposed to having to removing yet another premiere show from their scheduled line-up.
In order to understand the exact nature of the preemptive strike that is the “Smartest Nerd In the Room” article, we must be completely clear on the travesty here. Not to be too humorous here, or however that needs to be worded, but, I’ve literally seen romantic couples split ways over a renege on the spades table. That particular incident I am recalling had no money involved. Melissa Harris-Perry made comments about a child after Aiyana Jones, after Trayvon Martin, as an insult to a group of people whose audience is as emotionally driven as The Tea Party, because their audience is The Tea Party! The immediate response was a social media cry that Harris-Perry not be fired. It was that egregious. Regardless of whether Harris-Perry had become overzealous in her position as MSNBC political punditry media assassin, or if she felt compulsions to speak against the Romney household from her own deep seated personal experiences, she gave her opponents fodder—she handed them plenty of fuel for the fire of her baking. She reneged.