Melissa Harris-Perry dove headfirst on Saturday into the weeklong controversy about her MSNBC promo.
Harris-Perry became the target of relentless conservative attacks for the ad, in which she said society needed to think in a collective manner about its children and that "we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to their communities." On his MSNBC show, Chris Hayes estimated that the 30-second promo had, when you added it up, been covered for over an hour on Fox News during the week—even though it was aired for just a total of four minutes on MSNBC.
Speaking on her weekend show, Harris-Perry said she thought the spot had been "relatively benign," and was surprised by the reaction it got. She assured viewers that she did not intend to steal their children from them. But she stood by her statement.
"I believe our children are not our private property," she said. "They are not just extensions of ourselves."
Then, Harris-Perry explained why she thought she had caused such a ruckus. She said the fight over the ad was, at its core, the same argument the left and the right have been having for centuries.
"This isn't about me wanting to take your kids," she said. "This is about whether we as a society, expressing our collective will through our public institutions, including our government, have a right to impinge on individual freedoms in order to advance a common good. And that is exactly the fight that we have been having for a couple hundred years.”