- Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images
Joy Reid said her broadcasting style had changed significantly since the 2016 election, when she saw herself as “a fairly standard political analyst” on MSNBC.
“I gave my take on polling and the possibilities and the outcomes of elections,” Reid said in a brief telephone conversation promoting the Global Citizen Festival, a concert aimed at reducing poverty through activism, on Saturday in Central Park.
“I definitely think the 2016 election completely upended what I do,” she said. “I feel like now there has to be such a greater focus on trying to steer our audience through a truly unprecedented presidency.”
Reid told Business Insider she was increasingly focused on reminding viewers of President Donald Trump’s abdication of global leadership on issues like climate change – which she hopes to highlight during MSNBC’s telecast of the festival – and on attempting to push back against the administration’s various “outrages.”
“It’s a truly unprecedented time, and a time of withdrawal from the world – it’s sort of unusual for the United States to withdraw from global leadership and continue to have such an outsized influence on world events,” she said.
“The daily outrage, the blizzard of outrages, it definitely changes your job,” Reid added. “It changes the work of journalism, for sure.”
Two years after her “Reid Report” was canceled amid a programming shift away from daytime opinion shows, Reid has continued to maintain a high profile as one of the most prominent and outspoken figures on the network.
Her anti-Trump screeds and prolific activity on Twitter has earned her plenty of fans in left-leaning media. The Root dubbed her a “national treasure,” while Vulture, in a description intended as a compliment, described Reid as “the early 1980s Jay Leno of MSNBC.”
In addition to hosting her weekend show, Reid has emerged as the go-to fill-in host for the primetime shows and has taken on additional duties – MSNBC’s president, Phil Griffin, asked Reid to be a cohost of the network’s broadcast of the festival.
And while her weekday show was squashed, Reid has managed to pull in strong weekend ratings, increasing by between 50% and 60% over 2016. Her show now has the largest audience ever for the network in the 10 a.m. weekend time slot.
But more than other hosts on MSNBC, Reid has inspired a particular type of ire and scrutiny both from conservative media outlets and from some outspoken activists on the left.
Outlets like Fox News, Breitbart News, and The Daily Caller, among others, run seemingly daily articles and segments about her comments on racial issues and her criticism of the Trump administration during her weekend show, in interviews, and from tweets.
She has also clashed online with the left over her admonishment of Sen. Bernie Sanders and her coverage of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Critics like Glenn Greenwald, the founder of the left-leaning news outlet The Intercept, has repeatedly condemned Reid for what he says is perpetuating unproved theories about Russia, and blamed her for building up the conspiracy theorist Louise Mensch.
Reid said she was aware of the criticism from the right and the left – “I still look at my mentions on Twitter,” she joked – but that it didn’t bother her.
“I used to do talk radio, so I have very thick skin,” she said. “I don’t get bothered by a lot of that.”
She said criticism of her tweets and TV appearances demonstrated that she was doing good work and getting under people’s skin.
“I had an old mentor back in the early TV days who helped me get my first column at The Miami Herald. He once told me: If you’re not getting any angry mail, you probably didn’t write a terribly good column,” Reid said. “If your angry mail is a little angry left mail, a little angry far-right mail, it makes it a good column. You have to take it with a grain of salt.
“People need someone to take out their frustrations on, and if you’re on TV, you’re easy and visible.”