TNR counted the number of words MSNBC Morning Joe co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski spoke one morning on the show and found a ratio of 3,213 to 644. TNR‘s assessment of this situation is—ATT gynobloggers— “sexism.” Having subjected myself to a triple dosage of MSNBC in the past few weeks (bedridden, contagious, already caught up on Real Housewives of Bev Hills, v. desperate) I would venture an alternative theory of the relative reticence of Mika Brzezinski. This is, after all, not Gretchen Carlson we are talking about here. Brzezinski cannot exactly hide her elite pedigree or her scary erudite (scary-udite!) father. Also, the title of her forthcoming book is Know Your Worth. Perhaps Mika merely values her thoughts to highly to waste them on “Morning Joe”…
Take this morning: yet again, topic du jour is the taxcuts-for-hostages deal, about which many thousands of hours have been expended blathering ad nauseam on MSNBC today alone. But I only noticed Mika voice her opinion on the matter once, during this exchange with Joe and Arianna Huffington:
MIKA: Senator [Bernie] Sanders made his point and I agree with him.
JOE: He made a very good point. You actually have Senator Sanders who may be teaming up with Jim DeMint. I know Rand Paul says he’ll oppose this. But there are a lot of Republicans And we even have had a lot of them on our show, that come on and just after calling Barack Obama a socialist who’s bankrupting this nation for the past two years, another as Charles Krauthammer says, another stimulus package.
MIKA: This is another steaming pile of garbage, I’m serious. Another. Steaming. Pile of garbage.
JOE: I think this steaming pile of garbage will actually get people back into the malls, because you know why?
MIKA: Oh, okay. Why?
JOE: Because this goes to the people instead of the bureaucracy, which then funnels through all those shovel ready projects that are ready to go…but they’re both funded by the Chinese, therefore a nightmare to the country.
MIKA: This is not something new that’s been introduced. This is something that has been in place. So if it were somehow stimulative, wouldn’t we have known that?
JOE: Well the fear is, of course, on the other side of it is if you raise taxes during a recession, things are going to get much worse. But I would say nothing is worse right now for this country, over the long term, than, than… going another trillion dollars into debt. These tax cuts and everything that we’re doing, the unemployment benefits…they’re all being paid for by the Chinese…
[ARIANNA SAYS SOMETHING, WITH ACCENT]
JOE CONT’D: Well, and that’s what we were saying in the last hour. Even if peiple start working again, this does what Jeffrey Sachs has been talking about, it just re-creates another bubble. Sure, people flood into the malls, unemployment drops a little bit. But this is us chasing our tail again as we’ve been doing for the last quarter of a century…
In the above twenty seconds or so, Joe says 264 words; Mika 55. As usual, she accompanies those fifty five words with face parade of pointed scowls, skeptical raised-eye/eye-roll combos, melodramatic woe-is-me closed-eye head-tilts and the rest of the gamut of bullshit-calling facial expressions.
Which reminded me: usually I am too busy watching Mika’s face, wondering why she looks so disapproving all the time and whether she’ll ever choose a slightly mellower hair color and/or rosier lip shade, to notice quite how much total nonsense is flowing out of Joe Scarborough’s mouth. I think I was always afraid that whatever he was saying might succeed in offending me more than the typical idiotic triangutard talking points being echoed by the rest of the Obama fanboy’s choir over at Thirty Wonk and I just tuned him out ages ago, but actually no it turns out that Joe is less offensive, because he doesn’t even seem to have been briefed by anyone, he’s just repeating a series of pasted-together boldfaced names and buzz-phrases from both sides’ camps because he is “bipartisan” that way, and the result is less infuriating than it is eminently tune-out-able. Mika probably hasn’t actually listened to a thing he’s said in years!
He is still wrong of course, in that the problem with a lol “stimulus” plan so concentrated on gratuitously rewarding the lucky sliver of the population that has been all but unscathed by this Recession is that its spoils flow not into lead toys and high definition TVs but tax shelters, secret bank accounts and closely-held nonprofit organizations with names like Rich Citizens For More Prosperity, but that’s beside the point. As Mika’s dad pointed out that one time, Joe’s bigger problem is that it can be embarrassing to talk to someone who doesn’t know anything. But that’s okay, because all you really needed out of this segment is what she said: “steaming pile of garbage.” And so as the tax deal goes, so does MSNBC. If it were going to stimulate you, it would have done it already.