After a recent appearance on the “Today” show, writer Mansfield Frazier posted an article on the Daily Beast about his experience on the show titled “Why I Got the Boot from the Today Show.” In it, Mansfield states that due to a misinterpretation of a previous article he’d written about Professor Skip Gates, he was brought on to provide a perspective that didn’t match his own:
So, evidently the producers of the Today show thought—mistakenly—that I was one of those conservative black writers…who earn their daily bread by exculpating whites from any responsibility for the racial tensions extant in America. So I can only imagine their surprise when I stated that there is a history in this country of negative and sometimes explosive interactions between minorities and police officers, and, with America being far and away the world leader in per capita incarceration of its own citizens, by that measure and definition we are living in a police state. Somehow I got the feeling that statements of that kind were not what I was brought on the show to give voice to.
In the article, it’s never made completely clear how or when (or even “Why”) Frazier got “the boot.” In fact, there’s not much other evidence provided at all to support Frazier’s claims about the show’s producers. We went back and watched the interview and didn’t notice anything on-air. A Today show spokeswoman tells TVNewser, “Mansfield Frazier appeared on Weekend Today along with Michael Eric Dyson to discuss the Gates controversy. The segment went well, and there were no complaints from anyone at anytime. Frazier appears to be surmising that he ‘got the boot from the TODAY show,’ which is absolutely not true. Maybe he didn’t write the headline.”
It’s common practice on the Web to use a controversial headline (something we’d never do, of course) to garner more clicks, but is Frazier—or perhaps The Daily Beast—stretching the truth a bit too much here about what actually occurred?