Tanzina Vega announced Friday on Twitter that she has resigned as host of The Takeaway, WNYC’s nationally syndicated public radio program.
“As the first Latina to host the Takeaway I’m very proud of the work I did transforming the show into a national success that explored the societal gaps of wealth, empathy and truth in our daily lives,” Vega said in a note.
In a text message to Current, Vega did not address questions about why she is leaving the show. She also did not respond to a question about claims that WNYC staffers had filed human resources complaints against her, as reported in a New York Times article citing anonymous sources.
“I’ve prided myself for having the necessary balance of empathy and toughness that is critical to making high quality journalism,” she said in a text message to Current. “I thank the staff for their work on the show and wish them the best.”
A New York Public Radio spokesperson declined to respond to questions about the reported HR complaints against Vega but confirmed that the host has been on an approved leave of absence since April.
Melissa Harris-Perry will be interim host of The Takeaway through the end of the year.
“Over the last three years, Tanzina and the entire Takeaway team have worked tirelessly to produce an essential daily national news show for the listeners of 290 public radio stations and thousands more online,” WNYC CCO Andrew Golis said in a Friday email to staff. “… We wish Tanzina the very best on her next chapter.”
Vega took on the hosting gig in 2018 after previous stints with CNN and the New York Times. She replaced John Hockenberry, who retired in 2017 following accusations of sexual harassment.
Vega is the second host to leave WNYC in recent months. She follows Bob Garfield, who was fired for violating the station’s anti-bullying policy.
I wish Tanzina the best.
Melissa Harris-Perry is fabulous and I hope that she’s named the permanent host of the Take Away!
I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY!
I love Melissa, too!
She has so much positive energy, such a nice way with her guests and expresses her views in a very thoughtful way even when her’s are different from the other person’s.
I liked Tanzina, but I think they can both speak knowledgeably of minority communities.
I love The Takeaway with Melissa Harris-Perry. She is so knowledgeable, has such great energy and is always so interested in her subjects. Hope she stays!
Live by the sword, die by the sword. It’s too bad that at WNYC, so many swords have been drawn.
The loss of Tanzina Vega is huge. Melissa is just fine; not a proper replacement in my eyes. Let’s get another Boricua if we can’t have Tanzina.
Definitely! I also think a Latinex need to be replaced by another Latinex.
I REALLY do not care for MPH. Specially when millions of older people have thrown themselves to get the COVID vaccines regardless if it is safe it not, she says she was reluctant of getting the COVID-19 Vaccines. Only bad cursed words came from mouth.
She’s fully vaccinated. Many of us, particularly people of color were reluctant at first and there is nothing wrong with that. That’s a poor reason to dislike her given millions of people were reluctant
Pretty rich that WNYC wants to keep its HR issues private, when it and other outlets have spent so much time airing the dirty laundry of others (Ellen DeGeneres, etc etc)
Tanzina was/is extraordinary. I’d pick up my sons at school and say, “Let’s listen to Tanzina!” She had a style all her own. Sad for me but trust she has a plan. Hope to hear her lovely voice/intelligence somehow again.Ro
It’s a shame that she is gone. She was intelligent and courageous. A bright light in NPR.
I found TV’s biases rather blatant, TBH, and aggressive almost to the point of bullying– even if I agreed with the point of view. I don’t miss her at all. I thought this show was meant to be informative and more nuanced. I’m pretty liberal, but I still want to hear some intellectual defense/discussion of the other side of my position. That kind of discussion can help one understand the other side just as easily as it can solidify the intellectual underpinnings of the side you are already on (which is why I enjoy Intelligence Squared US so much).
In fact, its page on the NPR website (which still shows Vega as host) describes the show thusly: “The Takeaway provides a breadth and depth of world, national, and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.” “Breadth and depth” should not include only one side of the spectrum.
NPR has a hard enough time already convincing people that it doesn’t have a liberal bias. I would suggest Pacifica as a better fit for TV.
Thank you for this post.
As a 51-year-old white male and 30-year NPR listener, I am very socially liberal and definitely in the category of what I call “pretty daggone woke for an old white guy.” My local station airs “The Takeaway” right before “Think, with Kris Boyd” (which is another syndicated show that started here in Dallas at KERA). More and more I have found that these two programs have made the decision to attempt to forcefully and blatantly push the pendulum by airing extremely biased coverage for race, gender, and LGBT issues.
I have no problem with attempting to re-center things by presenting balanced coverage and open discussions about tough issues in these areas; however, these programs often start from the premise of “here are all of the ways in which middle-aged white males and their predecessors have screwed everything up. And now it’s time to put them in their place.” This is of course an exaggeration, but now that I work from home and list to NPR and KERA for much of the day, I usually have to turn to another station from 11:00 AM CT to 1:00 PM CT to avoid what honestly feels like a blatant, full-frontal attack on me personally because I am over 50 and born white and male.
It would be fine if these programs addressed these issues with true balance, but they do not even attempt to do so. And often when their guest present what would in other circumstances be considered a liberal, far left opinion, there is no challenge to that opinion whatsoever.
These programs are simply creating the same echo chamber that has been created by FOX News and right wing talk radio but in reverse. When will we learn that counteracting bias, racism, misogyny, and discrimination with equal and opposite bias, racism, misandry, and discrimination is the worst way to bring about meaningful change. All we do by presenting equal and opposite biases and racism is create more animosity between people with these desperate view points that widens an already massive gap between people on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Let us not get sucked into the concept of fighting fire with fire. It is an overly simplistic solution that does not work. Because of the two programs I mentioned above, this 50+ white male has started to sound more and more like many of my right-wing counterparts when talking about NPR. NPR used to simply lean liberal while still maintaining the high-road. These two programs are part of a disturbing trend on NPR seemingly abandoning any pretenses of being an organization concerned more with bringing facts to light and attempting to bring all viewpoints to the discussion. More and more NPR is willing to disregard balance all together while giving more and more airtime to far left viewpoints and presenting these viewpoints as if they are the only rational viewpoints to have.
Airing programs in the middle of the day every day that talk about nothing but race, gender, and LGBT issues and do so from a biased perspective not only marginalizes a significant portion of the listeners of NPR, it also suggests that these are the absolute most important issues to be discussed. Although I think we can all agree that they are important issues to discuss, they are without question not the only pressing issues in our modern society. And when they are discussed in a manner that show a clear biased in favor of one side over the other (even though there are definitely multiple “sides” to these issues — they are not simple yes/no, black/white, on/off issues), NPR effectively is telling a large portion of its audience that their viewpoints not only do not matter, but their viewpoints are wrong, and that these programs on NPR will help them correct the error of their ways — not a great approach for an organization that used to pride itself on doing the hard work and having the hard discussion in order to represent all sides of controversial topics in proportion facts, evidence, and overall validity of that point of view. Now, many points of view are marginalized, if not dismissed entirely from the very get-go regardless of the validity of that point of view.
In NPR’s defense, talk radio and FOX News has made it very easy to argue that this shift is all but required in order to fight all of the misinformation and lies being thrown out into the ether and the “interneto’sphere,” but combating all of this misinformation and all of the lies is not NPR’s mission, nor should it be. NPR should get back to its core values and air programs that address the tough issues, but do so in a way that is truly fair and well balanced — just like NPR has done for its entire existence . . . until now.
I listened to Tanzina’s show almost daily and it was pretty good, impressive even around bringing out marginalized voices and views. I miss her contribution now that she’s gone, and I agree that those shoes have not yet been filled.
But I struggled with Tanzina’s ego. The way she put herself at the center of her show always rubbed me wrong. I don’t know much about her departure, but hearing that she allegedly berated her staff is not surprising.
I kind of hate writing that though because I know that public radio is undergoing an identity crisis.