Joy Reid said her broadcasting style has changed significantly since the 2016 election when she saw herself as “a fairly standard political analyst” on MSNBC.
“I gave my take on polling and the possibilities and the outcomes of elections,” Reid said in a brief telephone conversation promoting the Global Citizen Festival on Saturday.
“I definitely think the 2016 election completely upended what I do. I feel like now there has to be such a greater focus on trying to steer our audience through a truly unprecedented presidency.”
Reid told Business Insider she is increasingly focused on reminding viewers of Trump’s abdication of global leadership on issues like climate change — which she hopes to highlight during Saturday’s telecast on MSNBC of the Global Citizen Festival — while also attempting to push back against the administration’s various “outrages.”
“It’s a truly unprecedented time, and a time of withdrawal from the world — it’s sort of unusual for the United States to withdraw from global leadership, and continue to have such an outsized influence on world events,” she said.
“The daily outrage, the blizzard of outrages, it definitely changes your job,” Reid added. “It changes the work of journalism, for sure.”
Two years after her daytime MSNBC show was cancelled amid a programming shift away from daytime opinion shows, Reid has continued to maintain a high profile as one of the most prominent and outspoken figures on the network.
Her anti-Trump screeds and prolific activity on Twitter has earned her plenty left-leaning media fans. The Root dubbed her a “national treasure,” while Vulture, in a description intended as a compliment, described Reid as the “early 1980’s Jay Leno of MSNBC.”
In addition to her weekend show, she has emerged as the go-to fill-in host for the primetime shows, and has taken on additional duties. MSNBC President Phil Griffin asked Reid to co-host MSNBC’s Saturday broadcast of the massive concert in Central Park aimed at reducing poverty through activism.
And while her weekday show was squashed, Reid has managed to pull in strong weekend ratings — her show now has the largest audience ever for the network in the 10 a.m. weekend time-slot, a 50-60% year-over-year increase from 2016.
But more than other hosts on MSNBC, Reid has inspired a particular type of ire and scrutiny from both conservative media outlets and some outspoken activists on the left.
Outlets like Fox News, Breitbart News, and the Daily Caller, among others, run seemingly daily articles and segments about her comments on racial issues and criticism of the Trump administration on her weekend shows, in interviews, and from tweets.
She has also clashed online with the left over her admonishment of Sen. Bernie Sanders and her coverage of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Critics like Glenn Greenwald, founder of left-leaning news outlet The Intercept, has repeatedly condemned Reid for perpetuating unproven theories about Russia, and blamed her for building up conspiracy theorist Louise Mensch.
Reid said that she’s aware of the criticism from the right and the left (“I still look at my mentions on Twitter,” she joked) but it doesn’t bother her.
“I used to do talk radio, so I have very thick skin,” she said. “I don’t get bothered by a lot of that.”
She contended that criticism of her tweets and her television appearances demonstrates that she’s doing good work, and getting under people’s skin.
“I had an old mentor back in the early TV days who helped me get my first column at the Miami Herald. He once told me if you’re not getting any angry mail, you probably didn’t write a terribly good column,” Reid said. “If your angry mail is a little angry left mail, a little angry far-right mail, it makes it a good column. You have to take it with a grain of salt.
“People need someone to take out their frustrations on, and if you’re on TV you’re easy and visible.”
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