Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinksi spoke to The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz about their show. One of the topics that came up was Brzezinski's participation--or lack thereof--in the discussions on the show. In December, writer Eliza Gray a piece in the New Republic titled "The Sexism of Morning Joe." It attracted much attention for its central criticism: that Brzezinski had been sidelined on the show and rarely seemed like an equal to her overwhelmingly male counterparts.
If Brzezinski is the true second pillar of the show, why is she so quiet? Maybe the better question is, why is Scarborough so loud? And why does MSNBC, supposedly leading the liberal charge against conservative cable news, stand for such a dispiriting and old-fashioned gender dynamic? Anyone for a little sexism with their morning joe?
In response, Brzezinski told Kurtz that she has a different role on the show than Scarborough. "It's called Morning Joe, not Scarborough-Brzezinski," she said. But she acknowledged that "sometimes I don't do as well as I'd like, and I take responsibility. It's not Joe, it's me needing to bring it to the table." She said that she was comfortable in her role, and that charges of on-set sexism are "made up."
On Tuesday's episode, Scarborough referred to the Kurtz interview, where he also talked about the relative lack of fluffier fare on "Morning Joe."
"We're making five times the amount of money that the guy that we followed was making, our ratings are higher than ever...this is now a workable model," he said. "When we first pitched it, and said, hey Phil [Griffin, MSNBC's president], I got a great idea, we're going to have really long interviews, we're going to talk about foreign policy, economics--"
"And we're not going to do junk news," Brzezinski cut in.
Scarborough continued, "...and if anybody is short or rude to another guest they'll be told that they're not coming back. There's no way that idea would have ever gotten on the air but for the fact that Imus had blown up and they desperately needed to get somebody to fill three hours in the morning."