Someone Needs to Beat Joe Scarborough, and the Baseball Bat’s in the Mail
MSNBC’s Morning Joe just celebrated its fifth anniversary. Since the traditional gift here is wood, I’m going to send a baseball bat.
Quick aside: This is not without precedent. Steve Friedman, legendary executive producer of Today, kept a 34-ounce Louisville slugger (Paul O’Neill model) in his office. During staff meetings, he would slam it on the table—to keep people awake, he said.
Back to our regularly scheduled program: The Morning Joe anniversary bat is intended only for Mika Brzezinski, so she can “nudge” voluble co-host Joe Scarborough when he talks over her, which is always. Aim for the ribs, Mika. Make him feel it.
In fairness, the blame is not all Scarborough’s. For some unfathomable reason, Brzezinski chooses to play the beleaguered kid sister-cum-martyr to Scarborough’s bloviating big brother. Withering looks and audible sighs are the only weapons in her arsenal.
I don’t get it. Brzezinski is no ingénue. She is a veteran journalist, backed by serious bona fides, the training ethic of an Olympian, and a new book titled Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth.
She also happens to be a gorgeous blonde—an aesthetic that often works against women in TV news. In Brzezinski’s case, many, including me, questioned her judgment in posing for Vanity Fair in a cheesecake photo with Scarborough in the October issue.
Scarborough sits comfortably in a chair, clad in a blue suit and open-collar shirt. He smiles to the camera. Next to him, Brzezinski, in a spray-painted black dress, is atop a wooden table, her left leg kicked like a Rockette as she balances herself on one stiletto heel. She looks at Scarborough, unsmiling.
Believe me, I have no problem with serious newswomen showing a sexy side to the public. If I were single and Brzezinski were queer, I would date her in a heartbeat. What I object to is a serious newswoman in a sexually provocative pose next to a male co-host who is not posed that way. The message, in the words of Slate’s Alyssa Rosenberg: A man is a man and a woman is a table-top ornament.
Table-top ornaments don’t inspire credibility, and Brzezinski knows it.
Which brings me back to the bat. Scarborough, an ex-politico, is deeply in love with the sound of his own voice. Whether someone else is speaking, or attempting to speak, at the same time is irrelevant. Thus it will ever be.
Only two things would force Scarborough to change: A Xanax in his Starbucks mug or a hard wooden object against a body part. My advice is to swing for the fences and plead the fifth (anniversary).
Mika Emilie Leonia Brzezinski, this is a clarion call on behalf of all women—and their daughters—who acquiesce to verbally abusive men. Perception matters. Image matters. It’s time to grow a pair. Man up, Mika.
You are a seasoned correspondent who has covered some of the most important stories of our time. Your co-host is a filibustering narcissist. Stop playing the victim and make yourself heard. You are more than a traffic cop. Act like one.
Oh, and by the way, happy anniversary. Your gift is in the mail.