What happened? MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ teases Jussie Smollett chat with Rahm Emanuel, then skips the subject entirely

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MSNBC viewers tuning in to catch “Morning Joe” hosts questioning Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel about the Jussie Smollett scandal were sorely disappointed.

Discussion of the “Empire” actor’s staged hate crime and subsequent arrest for filing a false police report was a glaring omission during Monday’s show, despite co-host Mika Brzezinski teasing the segment ahead.

“Still ahead, Chicago police blasted Empire actor Jussie Smollett last week, accusing him of staging a hate crime because he was unhappy with his salary. We’ll get Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s reaction to the alleged incident, next on Morning Joe,” she said.

But Emanuel’s reaction never came. In fact, no comments were forthcoming because Brzezinski and co-host Joe Scarborough never posed any questions to the mayor whose city was at the center of Smollet’s story as he claimed two masked men attacked him last month, hurling racial and homophobic slurs at him while placing a noose around his neck, pouring a liquid on him and yelling “this is MAGA country.”

Smollett was charged last week with felony disorderly conduct amid filing a false police report after turning himself in to Chicago police. He could face up to three years in prison if convicted.

After the commercial break on Monday’s show, Emanuel talked with the “Morning Joe” co-hosts about everything from the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, Mexico and funding of the border wall along the southern U.S. border as well as his accomplishments as mayor. Missing was any talk of Smollett.

“What happened during the commercial break between Mika’s tease and the interview itself? Did Emanuel, in his tough-guy persona, perhaps inform the hosts that he would accept no questions about Smollett?” Media Research Center‘s contributing editor, Mark Finkelstein, asked.

Finkelstein argued that the show’s co-hosts should have “let Rahm explain live on the air his refusal to answer” or they should have canceled the interview.

“Instead, Joe and Mika did neither. Had they bowed meekly to Emanuel’s demand?” he asked.

“Looks like the fix was in,” Finkelstein wrote, noting how MSNBC correspondent Kasie Hunt and New York Times reporter Nick Confessore as well as other panel guests did not broach the subject with Emanuel either.

No one even questioned an widely reported interview Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson did with “Good Morning America” on Monday in which he said there was reportedly “a lot more evidence” indicating that Smollett staged his own hate crime.

Johnson had already leveled a blistering statement about Smollett in a press conference after the actor turned himself last week. Emanuel had followed that with a statement of his own at the time.

“All across Chicago, in every neighborhood, there are signs in front yards and windows that read, ‘Hate Has No Home Here.’ It is a sign that expresses our shared values and defines our great city,” Emanuel said. “Our laws exist to reflect and defend those values, and hate crimes will never be tolerated.”

“A single individual who put their perceived self-interest ahead of these shared principles will never trump Chicago’s collective spirit,” he added.

Meanwhile, MSNBC’s obvious omission was not lost on Twitter users who slammed the network for its move.

Frieda Powers


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