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MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry is tired of having to talk about Edward Snowden. Which is why she spent part of today's show personally imploring the asylum-seeking whistleblower to return to the States.

And she does so with sharp condescension and clear disdain. (Video is below the fold.)

Here is how Harris-Perry begins:

Dear Ed,

It’s me, Melissa.

I hear you’re looking for a country. Well, wouldn’t you know, I have an idea for you! How about…this one?

Come on back to the U.S.A., Ed. I know you’re not super pleased with the government these days–and I feel you. The information you revealed about surveillance raises serious issues about the behaviors of our leaders and how they justify and hide those practices from the public. But, here is the deal: it’s time to come home and face the consequences of the actions for which you are so proud.

Daniel Ellsberg, of course, disagrees. But that doesn't really matter to Harris-Perry, because Snowden's well-being isn't really her concern. What is? The fact that his "Tom-Hanks worthy" stay in Moscow is forcing her, and everyone else at MSNBC, to talk about him.
We could be talking about whether accessing and monitoring citizen information and communications is constitutional ... but we’re not. We’re talking about you! And flight paths between Moscow and Venezuela, and how much of a jerk Glenn Greenwald is.


I can imagine you’d say, “Well, then stop! Just talk about something else.” But here’s the problem, even if your initial leak didn’t compromise national security, your new cloak-and-dagger game is having real and tangible geopolitical consequences. So, well, we have to talk about…you.

I see. So MSNBC is compelled to talk about Greenwald's personal failings and Snowden's silly little whistleblower 'games.' The network has absolutely no choice in the matter.

It must talk about Snowden! As must Harris-Perry!

Which is why she closes her soliloquy to Snowden by suggesting that he'll be fine here, really. After all, even if he ends up in prison, it'll be a cushy ride.

You might not have anything to worry about, anyway. Unlike most of the people in solitary confinement–including Private Bradley Manning, on trial for giving data to Wikileaks–you have cultivated a level of celebrity that itself will act as protection if you ever find yourself in U.S. prison. You’ve made a spectacle of yourself, and the Obama Administration will be very careful about how it treats you. Unlike all those other prisoners.

So come on home, Ed. So we could talk about, you know, something else.



The whole spectacle Harris-Perry puts on is disgusting for many reasons, two of which stand out starkly:

1. This open letter isn't really intended for Snowden, but for MSNBC's viewers as a backhanded way to smear the whistleblower, with both words and tone. Rather than offer an honest, albeit flawed analysis, MSNBC lets Harris-Perry go the satire route. Only, unlike actual satire, she intends most, if not all, of what she says.

2. The fact that MSNBC would embrace one of its media personalities in blaming Snowden for the network's obsessive coverage of him is quite rich. Yes, MSNBC could spend more time talking about the actual issues. But it doesn't.


Because save a few gems, Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow among them, it's all too often just another shallow, corporate outfit focused more on ratings than on the quality of its news.


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Originally posted to David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 06:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by Writing by David Harris Gershon.

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