LOL: Ta-Nehisi Coates Brands MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry 'America's foremost public intellectual'

The changes haven't worked. MSNBC's ratings are still sad. Its product is a joke. Only Wagner has turned out to be a passable day-to-day host. Bashir has earned the boot for suggesting, on air in scripted comments, that Sarah Palin should be brutally assaulted. Harris-Perry probably feared she had earned the boot for smearing the Romneys. She had already earned derision for suggesting that parents should turn our children over to the loving embrace of the state. The network could add a laugh track to her show and it would only improve the product. Sharpton led the NBC lynching of George Zimmerman, proving that he could kill a man on live television and not get fired. MSNBC is a clown show that hardly anyone outside politics ever watches, unless there's a prison documentary on, or NBC has switched it over to cover English Premiere League soccer.

What has Melissa Harris-Perry ever said that wasn't stated either through the lens of blindered leftwing ideology or through race? Is there any grand idea that anyone can point to that MHP has proffered, that had any kind of resonance beyond her classroom or MSNBC's ever more selective viewership? Has she ever broken a big story? She certainly hasn't become known during her time on MSNBC for making the salient comment that strips a given issue of its ideological cloaks.

She just says what a typical leftist or race-drenched ideologue would say. Or goes farther than most leftists will go in public. All the time.

For that, Coates dubs MHP the "smartest nerd" in the room. Having spent eight years around actual smart nerds on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope project, all I'll say is that MHP has never shown any public evidence that she is either one. Smart nerds pursue facts in ways that few or no one thought of before. They come up with the Hubble Deep Field and then figure out what it means, they discover "dark energy" as one of my colleagues did during my years there (and won a Nobel for it), they prove the existence of black holes, they test theories and either prove or disprove them, they find ways to fix serious engineering issues while they're flying along at 17,000 miles per hour in low earth orbit, or they come up with elegant solutions to vexing problems. Those are the kinds of things that smart nerds do.

Has Melissa Harris-Perry done anything like that? Ever?

*I'd forgotten about Chris Hayes. In my defense, Chris Hayes is quite forgettable.