Television and the Appearance of Authority

I was fortunate enough to invited to to be a panelist on Up With Chris Hayes. I've said before how much respect I've long held for Chris is a thinker as a writer. (Let me again link this prescient piece on Obama and pragmatism.) To see him--along with Melissa Harris-Perry--extend his breed of hard study out into the world of television has been remarkable, and frankly, something I didn't think was possible.

Before Chris started his own show, when he was guest-hosting, we'd often have discussions about me coming on to talk. I mostly declined early on and then slowly warmed to the idea, almost wholly out of my trust in the work I'd seen from Chris. My general sense, when I was trying to establish myself as a writer, was that it would be the ultimate disgrace for me to wind up as "From the Left" guy on some cable news show. That the format--with all its inherent constraints--is now opening up to something more than professional talkers is progress.

At any rate, here is a clip where Chris asked about reluctance to appear on television and why I was now doing it more in relation to Trayvon Martin. There's a lot more from the show worth discussing which I'll link to throughout the week.