MSNBC’s Morning Joe occupies an important space in political-news-talk television. That is why so many rational people with an insatiable appetite for political discourse watch it almost daily. The alternative is to watch Fox & Friends but then the likelihood of a rational person choosing to watch that shameless, brainless propaganda-fest is pretty slim. In reality, Morning Joe is the go-to destination for anybody who wants to see some semblance of truthful, substantive debate on the political issues of the day- with enough pop-culture and personality sprinkled in to keep it light when necessary. It is entertainment after all and it is on at 6:00 in the morning. Too much doom and gloom can be a hell on the ratings.
But just being better than the trolls across the street at Fox News is not good enough. At times the Morning Joe crew is so committed to the “both-sidism” cop-out in their messaging that they insult the intelligence of their audience and drag down the national discourse even further. They do this by playing dumb on critical issues and unfortunately the one who takes up that role is almost always the resident blond on the set, Mika Brzenski.
Mika can be a maddening mash up of contradictions. Author of the best-selling book “Know Your Value” she has made a central feature of her public persona encouraging women to be all they can be in the workplace- demanding all that is coming to them in both money and respect. She holds huge summits that are attended by celebrity women from the world of politics, business and entertainment. It is quite a celebration of the might of estrogen and all who partake feel empowered when it is over.
Then you tune in to Mika’s show this Monday and watch this grown woman- nearly 50 years old- acting like a little girl: too shy or intimidated or insecure to simply answer the straightforward question from a panelist about which of the Democratic candidates for president would best battle Donald Trump for the presidency. She had to write it down on a piece of paper and sheepishly ask Joe to promise not to read it aloud because she just couldn’t bring herself to say it. Never mind that its an opinion show- she’s not allowed to take such a contentious position without making sure that it was safe to do so.
Then you tune in two days later and hear her unloading about the Jussie Smollett case, leading off her half-assed commentary with the inflammatory phrase “The absurdity of his initial claims.” WHAT?? This chick can’t say who she thinks is a strong Democratic candidate for 2020, but she’s Hot-n-Ready like Little Cesar’s in reaching a conclusion about a criminal case that hasn’t even had a court hearing? I wondered aloud if she was playing dumb or if she really is that dumb. Before she was done, she had rewritten recent history and implied that Democrats had somehow been injured by the Bret Kavanaugh hearings and that Democrats were somehow imperiled by speaking out in support of Smollett when the initial report came out about the attack.
Mika’s analysis of this issue- if you can even call it that- was more than just wrong and far worse than just being dumb. It was actually harmful. By criticizing Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker for the statements that they made in support of Smollett and denouncing the rising tide of political violence in the country, Mika is asking Democratic leaders to be just as weak and ineffective as she is. Maybe they should just write down what they think on a piece of paper and hand it to the nearest powerful white man they can trust to vouch for them when the heat gets turned up.
In her haste to prove herself willing to criticize people on her side of the fense, Mika just forgot about the thorough electoral ass-whipping the Republicans suffered mere weeks after the Kavanaugh hearings. She also forgot that more women were elected to congress than at any time in US history- almost all of them Democrats and again mere weeks after the Kavanaugh hearings. She also forgot that there was no full investigation of the allegations against Bret Kavanaugh at all- and no Democrat paid any price for insisting on a hearing for his accuser Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford. So her hand-wringing about “the Democrats playing right into Donald Trump’s hands” was complete bullshit.
For the record, neither Booker nor Harris said anything to apologize for. If we are supposed to be in an environment where we believe victims it cannot possibly be wrong to denounce the news of an attack regardless of what happens later. Even in this crazy case. Smollett did not name an attacker or an assailant so “due process” is a non-issue. Only a named individual defendant or an accused can assert a right to “due process.” Fictional attackers do not qualify. I realize that Mika did not go to law school but her “ex-Republican” newly-wed husband Joe did. I know damned well he knows better. And since they sleep together that means Mika at least has direct access to somebody who knows better. Now Joe might actually be playing dumb: pretending that certain positions are tenable, talking them up to his blushing bride and then letting her go out on the set and parrot them to millions of people every day. It certainly suits his political objectives to do so- and I’m guessing its also a real turn-on.
Whatever the case may be, Mika’s playing dumb or being dumb is getting hard to take and is lowering the caliber of discourse on Morning Joe. It is easy to forget how far up Trump’s ass Joe and Mika were until he got mad about something and started calling Mika names- “crazy, low-IQ Mika” I think it was. So this couple is very opportunistic and we would all do well to keep that in mind- even if we keep tuning in.