Why is Ed Schultz hosting MSNBC's special on "The Black Agenda" alone?
It's hard to know what troubles me more about an upcoming MSNBC special dubbed "A Stronger Nation: The Black Agenda," planned April 10 at a convention held by Al Sharpton's National Action Network.
Is it the use of a dated term like "black agenda," which sounds oddly pejorative? Regardless of who came up with it -- MSNBC or Sharpton's group -- it feels like the kind of term anti-civil rights people used to describe work towards social justice decades ago.
Is it the implication that there is a single black agenda, given all the challenges facing black communities across the country? I have a feeling the concerns of black folks in California might be different than the concerns of black people in Chicago, however common our struggles may also seem.
Is it the fact that MSNBC is allowing a small group of black leaders -- headed and controlled by controversial advocate Al Sharpton -- to speak for all black people? Whenever people complain to me about Sharpton's visibility as an advocate, I always remind them that much of his power and prominence comes from his ability to get the attention to major media outlets like MSNBC.
Is it the fact that a similar event last year was hosted by a more diverse anchor panel, including African American anchor Tamron Hall?
Has MSNBC grown so diversity-challenged it can't find another anchor of color to join Ed Schultz, who is white, in leading a discussion about black leadership?
Well intentioned as this event may be, it could also be a pretty strong argument for MSNBC to diversify its own staff in the future.