Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Mika Brzezinski, Serious Newswoman (well, sometimes)

Remember how Mika Brzezinski was the hero of everyone for being a serious newswoman? Let's see if YouTube posts a video of this Morning Joe exchange from August 7:

[WILLIE] GEIST: I think, John Edwards -- we've been paying so much attention to [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL] and [Sen.] Hillary [Rodham Clinton] [D-NY] over the last couple of weeks -- he's got to be feeling a little left out here -- I mean, the third-place guy. Do you think he's going to take advantage tonight and try to -- maybe he engages Hillary, maybe he picks a fight with her?

[MONICA] CROWLEY: Yeah, the metrosexual in the race is really lagging. Not a lot of traction here for John Edwards, much to his surprise and chagrin, I think, because he's the prettiest one of the Democrats.

[MIKA] BRZEZINSKI: I think he and Mitt Romney are taking a spa day. Is --

GEIST: No. You know, why are you objectifying men? I hate when you do that.

CROWLEY: The one time!

BRZEZINSKI: The one time! Whatever -- I'm sorry.

GEIST: Talk about the issues.

Also cited here.

But give Brzezinski credit for changing her mind. The Antonio Villaraigosa/Mirthala Salinas story raises legitimate questions about press access (and, in that regard, is more a story about Salinas than about Villaraigosa). On two successive days*, Brzezinski had different takes on a story about a reporter pursuing Villaraigosa (no, not THAT kind of pursuing) regarding the story:

Yesterday, after airing the video, Brzezinski gave her opinion as to the newsworthiness of the story. Here is her quote from the August 7 show:

That's an aggressive reporter. Yeah, you know, the problem I have with this is that, eh, it's just the whole topic is probably not that pressing in terms of the state of our society but let's role it again, why not?

On today's "Morning Joe" it seems that Brzezinski has arrived at virtually the same conclusions I outlined yesterday. After today's guest host Willie Geist played the same video tape, Brzezinski and Geist had this exchange:

Willie Geist: "...[The reporter] went on to ask her question so give her credit for that."

Mika Brzezinski: "I do give her credit for that. And actually that story, unlike some of the other stories that we debate over - whether we should cover or not. That story's important.

Geist: " what?"

Brzezinski: "Uh, well for example, in this case, this is a mayor who had an affair with a news anchor. Several people were suspended at the TV station. And there's some conflict of interest questions. And I guess, I wouldn't love to have to cover that story but you know what? Sometimes these stories have to be covered. And [the reporter] was doing a very good job."

Perhaps Brzezinski originally objected to the tactics of the reporter - maybe the reporter was auditioning for a job with Harvey Levin - but at least Brzezinski realizes that serious issues can result from a titillating story.

* (Not sure which days. The post is dated August 7, but refers to the first incident as occurring on the August 7 show.)


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