The Insider: Hold the ‘Joe’ and Mika

Jul 8, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The Insider is addicted to morning television, but she’s also verrrrrrrry finicky about her morning television.

She avoids, like the proverbial plague, any show whose hosts (usually male) seem bent not on telling her what’s happening in the world or how they feel about it, but how she should feel about it.

Starting the day under the thumb of someone who starts his (or her) day with the presumption that he is right and anyone who doesn’t accept that is wrong-headed reminds The Insider of too many marriages and relationships she has known. How’s that for a revelation that explains soooooo many things, huh?

So it wasn’t until last Friday, when Joe Scarborough was hundreds of miles away from the MSNBC territory that houses his studio, that The Insider finally was able to watch an entire “Morning Joe,” the show with which MSNBC is filling the old “Imus in the Morning” timeslot.

Yes, Mr. Scarborough has refashioned himself as less doctrinaire of late, but he’s still too in love with his every word and thought to make him someone with whom The Insider wants to start her day.

Willie Geist was holding down the fort in the on-set company of Renaissance man John Ridley (author, screenwriter, graphic novelist) and MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski.

Mr. Geist, who can be inhumanely caustic in his sardonic segments about media on “Tucker,” was lower-key and almost likable, except during the segments when Mr. Scarborough called in from his chicken-surrounded double-wide on the Redneck Riviera (his characterization, certainly not The Insider’s) and when Tucker Carlson called in standing in his kitchen in his boxer shorts (see previous disclaimer).

Mr. Ridley is a mellow bomb thrower who slyly takes aim at the left and the right from the center of his not-so-predictable road. He won The Insider’s heart when he suggested that Al Gore, whose son’s pharmacopious drug arrest was not curtailing his prepwork/promotion for what Mr. Ridley called the “Live Hypocrisy Concert,” ought to be hugging his son, not the Earth.

Ms. Brzezinski is a competent TV newswoman and wannabe-so-much-more-but-won’t-be-for-reasons-too-numerous-to-belabor-here. Ms. Brzezinski defended Mr. Gore repeatedly. “What if the [Gore] kid wants nothing to do with him? … He goes to see the kid because we’re all saying it because it’s a PR move?” Speaking like the child of power that she is (dad was Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew), she zipped right past the parental thing to do and landed at the political thing to do.

Perhaps most telling was an exchange between Mr. Ridley and Ms. Brzezinski.

He suggested there was so much more than met the gimlet eye to Ms. Brzezinski’s too-ballyhooed June 26 “insurrection” on “Morning Joe” in which she refused to read her script about the release of Paris Hilton from jail—and then tried to burn the script before finally shredding it.

Remember, please, that this is a woman who first joined MSNBC in 2000 on “HomePage,” a midday show that tried to appeal to women by perching the trio of feminanchors on the anchor desk. This also is a woman who carefully combs long bangs over her forehead and then spends most of her time on-camera slooooowly finger-combing the bangs first off and then back onto her face—a face that seemed so perfectly refreshed when she returned to MSNBC as a fill-in several months after leaving CBS News that, if The Insider weren’t so old and overweight as to make it pointless, she’d ask for the name of Ms. Brzezinski’s, um, uh, “skin doctor.”

When it was noted that the clip of the Howard Beale-lite bit had been played more than 2 million times on YouTube, Mr. Ridley ribbed: “You just happened to have a lighter in your pocket, and the shredder just happened to be nearby. I love that real journalism works out like that.”

To which Ms. Brzezinski retorted: “It started out real, and then it became a statement.”


This woman is a danger to herself without a script.


  1. I, too, was thrilled to see Joe gone on Friday and ended up not being able to change the channel. Willie Geist is charming, smart and kept the show moving — Mr. Scarborough could learn a thing or two from this guy. I look forward to Willie taking the reigns again, do I smell a replacement?

  2. Sounds like Michele has forgotten how to change channels. You don’t like it, hit the remote.
    I like Morning Joe, except they should dump John Ridley and bring Willie Geist in his place.
    Ridley is too cynical for me to listen to for more than a few minutes. If he watched the Mika/Lighter bit he would see she got the lighter form Willie. She didn’t know how to use it which doesn’t surprise me. I’ve seen lots of non smokers not be able to try to light one, kind of like Prescription bottles that are kid proof. Watch a bunch of adults try to open those easily. The shredder was indeed staged, but the point was she didn’t want to lead with Paris, so what’s wrong with that.
    As for Al Gore not rushing to his kids side, the kid is 24, second time he’s been caught. It’s time for him to grow up and behave like an adult. Too many rich kids have mommy and daddy running after them to clean up their screw ups. Maybe the kid didn’t want his dad there. I know there were times when I didn’t want my dad around, no matter what was wrong. Mr. Ridley should not judge without all of the facts. Isn’t that what a journalist is supposed to do? Oh wait, he’s not a journalist, he’s a writer.
    As for the Live Earth event, I don’t see Ridley offering any solutions to Global warming, but he probably doesn’t believe it’s real.
    In regards to taking pot shots at Mika, methinks Michele maybe jealous that she’s not so attractive as Mika. Taking shots in regards to “skin doctor” is just cheap, pure and simple.

  3. dump joe, and keep willie as host (he is back). also, bring back john ridley.

  4. Some of the commentators must watch the simpsons too much. We are well rid of ridley. No one else on tv is as brilliant and beautiful as Mika. She towers over the others and should take command of the show as soon as joe’s parole is revoked.

  5. I’m so happy when Joe isnt there…he is just too much and the way he talks to Mika and the weather person & the Market lady…very sexist….he talks over everyone also…i thought rosie did that and it bothered joe so much?? Mika and Willie are the ones that run the show and shud be given a chance….
    That said, get that fool off of joes’ old spot at 9pm. The one that was the reporter during O.J. and now is gen manager of MSNBC. He is truly a moron and so tabloidish. Put joe back there…i actually watched him most of the time…Don’t make me wake up with him tho, please!!!

  6. Joe Scarborough is a fine addition to the morning talk shows with his keen insights and balance–although a bit rough around the edges and at times domineering. Hopefully, he will mature and give others the opportunity to express themselves without interruption. Nevertheless, Joe is a breath of fresh air; don’t lose him.
    Mika Brzezinski is too patrician and intelligent to be anyone’s second banana. She should head her own show.
    I am glad to see the departure of Mr.Imus whose arrogance and petulance was a bit much.

  7. Here’s an idea for a new feature on Morning Joe, perhaps called “Do tase Joe.” In this feature, Mika has a taser gun and zaps Joe whenever that ego-bloated jerk starts cutting her down (such as calls her “Baby,” takes smarmy swipes at her views/values/background, makes digs at her family, interrupts her news/comments, refuses to let her ask questions of guests, or says anything about her looks. Being tased about every 5 minutes, 15 hours a week for a few months may be the only way to train Joe how to be a professional media-person and less of a chauvinist pig. Mika, you go girl!

  8. Where did Scarborough get his new,and so much of, the hair? Kay M

  9. Mika,
    I was watching this morning and you made mistakes right away. Did you ever hear about possessive case befoe gerunds,you know those words ending in ing.

  10. Oh shut up! Mika is incredible. She is everything anyone could want in an early morning anchor. She’s pretty like a sweet morning flower. She’s as smart as a lot of women are petty and jealous of pretty, smart women, and she’s not a “yes man” to that snake-eyed Joe Scarborough (I don’t care how mellow he is now, post-Republican meltdown – I remember “Scarborough County” – that O’Reilly wannabe!). What else could you want. Did I mention that she’s pretty?

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