It's not often that a cable news journalist actually shows much interest in, oh, say, the news anymore. But when MNSBC's Mika Brzezinski's producer insisted that Paris Hilton be her lead story on Morning Joe on a day when Republican Senator Richard Lugar made a major anti-war speech to the Senate, she objected. Her producer didn't listen to her. So when it came time for her to read the copy, she intro'd it this way: "I have an apology as well, and that is for our lead story. Yeah. I didn't choose it... I hate this story, and I don't think it should be our lead." And then she tried to burn, then rip, then shred the Paris script.
But cable news boys like their female news anchors lithe, winsome and without pesky journalistic ethics (as Samantha Bee satirized in her Daily Show segment "N.I.L.F.: News I'd Like To F@#k"). They're certainly not supposed to expose the emperor's new clothes. So while Brzezinski is burning, ripping, shredding and otherwise protesting the Paris script, smug host Joe Scarborough on her right and interchangeably smug co-anchorboy on her left mock her mercilessly. "To the news, now," she keeps trying to say, while Scarborough and his brother-in-bombast laugh at her, deride her desire to do anything resembling actual journalism, and harass her with infantilizing, patronizing comments such as this one from Joe: "By the way, Mika's father called her mousey a couple weeks ago, and Mika's been yelling at me all morning to prove to her father that she is no mouse."
Then, over Brzezinski's extreme objections, Scarborough instructs the crew to roll tape of Hilton prancing out of jail -- when the camera cuts back to Brzezinski, her head is in her hand, with a "Remind me why I'm working here?" look on her face.
Last week, I wrote about CNN's Larry King Live bumping a scheduled discussion on health care in America for an hour of inane chitchat with a post-hoosegow Hilton. If CNN's journalistic priorities were pathetic, it's even sadder than when this MSNBC anchor tries to follow her news judgment and do the right thing, her male colleagues shut her down.
This post originally appeared at WIMN's Voices: A Group Blog on Women and the Media , a project of < a href="http://www.wimnonline.org">Women In Media & News, the national women's media analysis, education and advocacy group. To bring Jennifer L. Pozner to speak to your campus or community group, or to send her blog tips, email info [at] wimnonline [dot] org. To subscribe to WIMN's free media alert list, see the Action Center at < a href=http://www.wimnonline.org/action > http://www.wimnonline.org/action/