Rachel Sklar on The Unbearable Whiteness of Cable

By Chris Ariens 

In the Daily Beast, Rachel Sklar takes on the cable news channels for their hiring practices of on-air talent.

CNN just announced two new hosts for the 8 p.m. prime time hour recently vacated by Campbell Brown: Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker. Last week, MSNBC announced that the new host for its 10 p.m. prime time show would be network staple Lawrence O’Donnell. What do these three people have in common (and thankfully for O’Donnell and Parker, it’s not being caught with your socks down with a prostitute)? Pretty obvious: They’re white.

But it’s not just CNN. Sklar talked with an African American commentator, who preferred not to be identified, about MSNBC and its president Phil Griffin: “Phil Griffin loves hiring white Irish guys.” Sklar adds:

That may not be entirely fair — [Rachel] Maddow, [Savannah] Guthrie, and [Andrea] Mitchell are not guys — but it’s not a stretch, either.

About that knock, an NBC insider tells TVNewser, “That’s like saying Jon Klein only likes to hire Jewish guys, because he hired Eliot Spitzer. It’s an unfair point to make.”

But, says Danielle Belton, founder and editor of The Black Snob, “There’s been tons of instances of white men who’ve been given shows who have failed miserably, and [the networks] don’t go, ‘Oh, no! White men can’t host TV shows!’ Based on that logic, why is Oprah on television?”