MSNBC's Griffin: 'I don't care about journalists' being in top anchor jobs

Tampa Bay Times
In an interview with Tampa Bay Times' Eric Deggans, MSNBC President Phil Griffin responded to questions about why MSNBC has recently hired anchors of color who aren’t journalists.

"This whole concept of journalist has to be rethought," Griffin said. "I sorry, I don't care about journalists...I want fair minded, smart people who understand the world, who can interpret it and if they're journalists, great. This notion that somehow you have to have done something to earn so-called journalist credentials? Stop. Stop...I think it's unfair."

Griffin said his job is to ensure that anchors are smart and fair and that they come from a position that’s rooted in fact. Deggans worries, though:

Still, it seems the further cable newschannels shrug off the mantle of journalism, the more they come to resemble political campaigns, focused on victory for a particular ideology in a way which may test viewers' trust.

African American journalists criticized MSNBC shortly before the cable news channel hired Al Sharpton last July. Some said the move reflected an unfortunate trend at cable networks that hire African Americans based on name recognition rather than their experience as a journalist. Other African American non-journalists who have had their own cable news shows include MSNBC’s Alan Keyes, and CNN’s Jesse Jackson, Arthel Neville and D.L. Hughley.

  • Mallary Jean Tenore

    As managing editor of The Poynter Institute’s website,, I report on the media news industry, edit the site’s How To section, and moderate the site's live chats. I also help handle the site's social media efforts, and teach social media sessions on the side.


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