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Opinion MSNBC fails to address tax problems of hosts

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National Review reported today that MSNBC’s Touré, who co-hosts the network’s afternoon program “The Cycle,” owes nearly $60,000 in taxes to New York State, according to a pair of tax warrants that the magazine found. And as the story fully noted, there’s a trend afoot here:

*Al Sharpton: The New York Times reported last year that the MSNBC host ran a “delinquent” nonprofit organization and calculated “$4.5 million in current state and federal tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses.” Sharpton convened a news conference to deny the story’s allegations.

*Melissa Harris-Perry: The Winston-Salem Journal last week reported that this MSNBC host and her husband, James Perry, had been socked with a $70,000 IRS tax lien. Harris-Perry said that more than $21,000 of that amount had been paid.

*Joy-Ann Reid: National Review reported that Reid, a former MSNBC host and managing editor of, and her husband were slapped with a nearly $5,000 tax warrant from New York state.

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Let the ridiculing begin. “We actually do better as a country when we spread the wealth around,” Harris-Perry has said, as National Review pointed out. Touré has tweeted:

There’s just so much more of this hypocrisy in MSNBC’s storage vaults. Try this piece by David Rutz in the Washington Free Beacon for a thorough inventory. A highlight:

Despite the sweat and the swearing, the thing that carries me through the mid-April tax madness is, honestly, a democratic spirit — the belief that we’re all in it together, paying into the collective pot is part of our duty as citizens. It means we get roads for our cars, schools for our kids, retirement for our parents, national defense for our borders, research in our universities and cartoons on our public TV stations. Taxes are how we all do our part. And we all want to believe that the tax math adds up to an equitable system where everyone pays their due.

Harris-Perry has said that her tax debt stems from 2013, but still: She and these other tax-payment-challenged TV personalities work for the network of activist, problem-solving government. Just watch one of MSNBC’s famous “Lean In” commercials or scan a day’s worth of coverage. In the collective ethic of MSNBC, there can be no excuse for tax delinquency.

And there’s even less of an excuse for MSNBC’s non-response to all this news. National Review fetched no response from the network. When the Erik Wemple Blog knocked today, the network again clammed up. A spokeswoman offered to go off-record with an explanation of things. We responded that we weren’t interested in spin that we couldn’t publish. Is it that hard for MSNBC to take a simple stand in favor of our common civic obligations?