News anchor Tamron Hall is leaving NBC and MSNBC, the first casualty of the network’s poor decision to sign Megyn Kelly away from Fox News Channel.
Hall co-hosted the third of NBC’s four-hour “Today” show, airing at 9 a.m. ET, with Al Roker. They were told that their hour was giving way to Kelly, who was promised a slot in NBC’s daytime lineup.
NBC said Hall, who also hosted an hour of news programming each morning on MSNBC, had her last day at the network on Jan. 31. The network said it tried to convince Hall to stay beyond the end of her contract this month, but she declined.
NBC was lauded for naming Lester Holt, a highly respected award-winning journalist, as the only African American to host the evening news on a major network. But the network got it wrong on Hall and Kelly.
The National Association of Black Journalists is right to slam the network.
“[Hall] broke ground as the first Black female ‘Today’ show co-host and was enjoying ratings success alongside Al Roker during the show’s third hour of programming,” NABJ said in a statement.
“NBC has been a leader for diversity in broadcasting, but recent reports that Hall and Roker will be replaced by former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly are being seen by industry professionals as whitewashing,” it added.
Hall, a graduate of Temple University, did an excellent job at NBC as the morning show’s co-host and on her late-morning show on MSNBC.
Not many journalists can show the versatility required to be fun and lighthearted for the morning “Today” show and then switch within hours to asking tough, serious questions in her late-morning show.
Although the network said it valued her work, if published reports of her departure are correct NBC did not treat her with the respect she deserved as a veteran award-winning television journalist.
According to published reports, Hall who joined MSNBC and NBC News in 2007 and became part of “Today” in 2014, was reportedly blindsided last month when she learned she would be bumped from her role as co-anchor of the third hour of “Today” by Kelly, who left Fox after 12 years.
Hall was also doing well in the ever-important ratings.
The “Today” show’s rating success, according to NABJ, “deserves praise, not punishment, as replacing talent often is associated with low-ratings performance.”
NABJ said in its statement, “Roker tweeted last week that the show leads the ratings in its time slot and consistently beats its competition.”
NBC is also wrong to bring on a race-baiter like Kelly.
Jamelle Bouie, Slate’s magazine chief political correspondent, points out Kelly has demonstrated racist demagoguery, which defined much of her tenure at Fox News.
“In 2010, for example, Kelly devoted hours of coverage to the New Black Panther Party, a small group on the fringe of American politics, because two members of the NBPP were charged with voter intimidation after standing outside of a heavily Black polling place in Philadelphia in the 2008 election. Those charges were later dropped, but the incident became the basis for a wide-ranging conspiracy disseminated by conservative writers, websites, and — most prominently — Megyn Kelly. Along with Republican activist J. Christian Adams, then a frequent guest of Kelly’s, the Fox News host spun a disturbing tale of voter intimidation and anti-white racism sanctioned by an Eric Holder–helmed Justice Department that she claimed wouldn’t investigate Black Americans accused of criminal activity. “Well, think about that. Think about that … Now you’re going to have instances like this where Black Panthers and others can go to the polling stations and do this if they so choose. And they just basically are gonna get a pass because while it’s not an official thing, it’s been made very clear to all the rank-and-file voting rights attorneys in the DOJ those cases are not to be pursued,” Kelly said during one broadcast before suggesting that Holder was, in fact, involved in a plan to protect the NBPP.
This is not the only time Kelly has engaged in race-baiting.
She has criticized those who dare to portray Santa Claus, a fictional character, as anything other than White, she has falsely accused the African-American community as having an “anti-cop” mentality.
This is the woman who will replace Hall.
True to form Hall left the network with style and grace.
“The last 10 years have been beyond anything I could have imagined, and I’m grateful,” Hall said in a statement. “I’m also very excited about the next chapter. To all my great colleagues, I will miss you and I will be rooting for you.”
We wish Hall well in her future endeavors.