Tuesday, April 05, 2011
I am a big fan of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. The three main on-air personalities, host Joe Scarborough, Willie Geist and Mika Brzezinski, generally have engaging panelists as they cover, with humor, the ever-changing political landscape in a non-partisan manner. But there's something about the show that's been bugging me for a long time now, and that's how Brzezinski is treated, or shall I say mistreated.
The daughter of former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski is often demeaned, condescended to and bullied by the typically all-male panel, who summarily dismiss and disrespect her and her opinions as if she was a '50's suburban housewife. They mock her, interrupt her, talk over her, and even shout her down. The biggest brute of all is Scarborough, who orders her around like an intern and frequently looks at her with disdain, as if she's just uttered the most idiotic thing imaginable. And throughout all this Brzezinsky rolls her eyes, winces, frowns, pouts, gasps, sighs and smiles demurely as she tolerates this overtly chauvinistic behavior while desperately fighting to speak. That her producers likely also require her to flirt with them all, especially Scarborough, only serves to objectify and marginalize her even more.
Now don't get me wrong. I personally think Mika is terrific. She's a brilliant, accomplished 20-year news veteran with spot-on views and lots of integrity (as evidenced by her refusal in the 2007 video above to report on Paris Hilton). But her exasperated "boy's will be boys" girly-girl persona does an extreme disservice to her and to women news broadcasters everywhere. She either needs to grow some cajones and demand the respect and airtime she deserves or let her contract run out and get her own show somewhere. She's way too smart and talented to be subjected to this blatant sexism, and relegated to being Scarborough's bimbo.