Tiffany Cross was livin' large on the MSNBC dime before she was fired
Tiffany Cross, the now-former host of MSNBC's weekly show Cross Connection, surrendered to temptation and may have greased the skids for her downfall by abuse of her expense account.
At the time she was fired (when her contract was not renewed and she was abruptly locked out of her studio) early this month, her vulgar on-air remark that "Florida literally looks like the dick of the country" was cited as the straw that broke the camel's back, the latest and worst of her on-air extremism, which often was racially tinged.
But in an exclusive report in the New York Post, we learn that a number of other factors were aggravating her bosses, and that once she heard that the axe was falling, she planned vengeance.
YouTube screen grab.
Alexandra Steigrad writes:
Ex-MSNBC host Tiffany Cross learned that she was getting pushed out days ahead of her exit — and threatened to "go out in a blaze" and "take down" the cable-TV network and its boss Rashida Jones, The Post has learned.
The controversial anchor — whose weekend show "The Cross Connection" was abruptly canceled earlier this month as MSNBC elected not to renew her contract, according to sources — began frantically calling other journalists, media executives and social activists a week before her ouster in a bid to rally support, a source with knowledge said.
"She made calls saying: 'I'm going out in a blaze and I'm taking down the network and going after Rashida,'" a source close to the situation said, paraphrasing Cross.
Trashing your former employer may gratify the lower urges one feels when being shown the door, but it does not exactly signal to prospective new employers that one will be an ideal colleague to add to the organization — particularly when the nation's economy is in decline, even if Biden and the media insist that there is no recession.
But Cross's expense account behavior was a good sign of her lack of judgment and taste:
The Post has learned that she also had been under fire for racking up as much as $100,000 in expenses for five-star hotel stays.
During her two-year tenure at MSNBC, the host took trips to Los Angeles and the Super Bowl, positioning them as work trips, sources said. Cross' Oscars trip, in which she stayed at the Beverly Wilshire on Rodeo Drive for an "extended stay," raised eyebrows, according to a source.
"She's staying at a hotel NBC's execs don't stay at," the source said of the Four Seasons–owned hotel, which charges more than $1,000 a night for a basic room during high season.
"She mistook working in television news for being a celebrity," the source added. "She was making north of $200,000 and she acted like she made $5 million."
Expense account behavior is one of the "tells" of a person's character. The most sensible advice I ever got came a couple of years after I had first started traveling on other people's money as a consultant, when I joined the faculty at Harvard Business School. "Spend our money the way you would spend your own" was the guidance given to me by then-dean Lawrence Fouraker, and it made sense, especially for a nonprofit, even a wealthy one like HBS.
When a consulting client's policy was first-class travel and five-star hotels, I gladly accepted the perks. I am no monk. But it's more than obvious that people with responsibility for budgets don't appreciate having to cut elsewhere when a bloated expense account blows a hole in the month's finances. It's a matter of basic respect.
But respect for others doesn't seem part of Tiffany Cross's character, as far as I can see from her reported behavior. More like "get it while you can" seems to be her watchword.
Now that media organizations are cutting back and laying off staffers, she is not exactly showing herself to be a desirable hire. Good luck to her; she'll need it.