From the Right



Tavis Smiley's poisonous partnership with PBS

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

Jacques Hyzagi, a disgruntled former senior producer on the show, wrote a hatchet piece for LA Observer in February. Hyzagi recalled that Smiley once told him: "I hate the people who run PBS. I hate Beth Hoppe, Mary Nelson, Mishi [Margaret Ebrahim]. Every single one of them ... and they hate me too."

Media companies never admit their real motives because they care too much about their public image, and they would rather ruin the reputation of others than harm that image.

It's despicable. Even more so if the person pushed out is a person of color in an industry run by white people.

Hyzagi claims that Smiley told him: "I'm the only black guy on PBS, all these white people are waiting for me to tumble."

And because of his recklessness, he did. Smiley doesn't deserve all the public shaming. Then again, PBS never deserved Smiley.

No partnership is perfect. But this one was poisonous.


Ruben Navarrette's email address is His daily podcast, "Navarrette Nation," is available through every podcast app.

(c) 2017, The Washington Post Writers Group



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