Mika Brzezinski

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Mika Brzezinski
Mika Brzezinski smiling
Brzezinski in 2011
Born Mika Emilie Leonia Brzezinski
(1967-05-02) May 2, 1967 (age 46)
New York, New York
Education Williams College, 1989
Occupation Television journalist
Notable credit(s) Morning Joe
Title Co-host
Spouse(s) James Patrick Hoffer (October 23, 1993)
Children 2 Children
Relatives Zbigniew Brzezinski (Father)
Emilie Benešová Brzezinski (Mother)

Mika Emilie Leonia Brzezinski (/ˈmkə brəˈzɪnski/; born May 2, 1967)[1] is an American television host and journalist. Brzezinski co-hosts MSNBC's weekday morning broadcast Morning Joe with former Republican representative Joe Scarborough.

Early life[edit]

Brzezinski was born in New York City, the daughter of Polish-born foreign policy expert and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and Swiss-born sculptress Emilie Anna Benešová. Her mother, of Czech descent, is a grandniece of Czechoslovakia's former president Edvard Beneš. Her father was then teaching at Columbia University, but the family moved to McLean, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., in late 1976, when Zbigniew was named National Security Advisor by newly elected President Jimmy Carter. Her brother, Mark Brzezinski, is an American diplomat and the United States Ambassador to Sweden since 2011.

Brzezinski attended The Madeira School during her high-school years. She graduated in 1989 from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where she majored in English, after transferring from Georgetown University as a junior.

Career[edit]

Brzezinski began her journalism career as an assistant at ABC's World News This Morning in 1990. A year later, she moved to Tribune-owned Fox affiliate WTIC-TV/WTIC-DT in Hartford, Connecticut. There, she progressed from assignment and features editor to general assignments reporter. In 1992, she joined CBS affiliate WFSB-TV/WFSB-DT in Hartford and quickly progressed through the ranks to become its weekday morning anchor in 1995. In 1997, she left that role to join the CBS network news, where she served as a correspondent and as anchor for the overnight Up to the Minute news program.

In 2000, Brzezinski began a short hiatus from CBS, during which she worked for rival MSNBC on the weekday afternoon show, HomePage, with co-anchors Gina Gaston and Ashleigh Banfield.[2] Entertainment Weekly described the trio as "the Powerpuff Girls of journalism".[2]

She returned to CBS as a correspondent in September 2001, a move which thrust her into the limelight as a principal "Ground Zero" reporter for the September 11, 2001 attacks. Brzezinski was broadcasting live from the scene when the South Tower collapsed.

In her last position at CBS, Brzezinski served as a CBS News correspondent, substitute anchor, and segment anchor for breaking news segments and routine updates. During this period she became a frequent contributor to CBS Sunday Morning and "60 Minutes." She was subsequently fired by CBS.

Brzezinski returned to MSNBC on January 26, 2007, doing the evening "Up To The Minute" news updates. Then she anchored primetime newsbreaks during the week, filling in on MSNBC Live weekdays and on the weekends. She also filed reports for NBC Nightly News and appeared as a news anchor on Weekend Today.

Since the program's inception, Brzezinski has appeared as co-host and news reader on MSNBC's morning program Morning Joe,[3] alongside Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist. Her father is a frequent guest. On Morning Joe, Brzezinski pointed out that she is a Democrat and her co-host Joe Scarborough is a Republican.[4]

Protesting trivial journalism[edit]

On June 26, 2007, near the beginning of Morning Joe, Brzezinski refused to read a report about Paris Hilton's release from jail. One hour later during another news break segment, her producer Andy Jones again pushed the story as the lead, ranking it over Indiana's Republican Senator Richard Lugar's break with President Bush on the Iraq war, which Brzezinski considered more important. After several sarcastic remarks from host Joe Scarborough, she attempted to light the story's script on fire on the air, but was physically prevented from doing so by co-host Willie Geist. She then tore up the script, and one hour later, got up and ran another copy of the script through a paper shredder retrieved from Dan Abrams's office.[5] The incident was quickly popularized on the Internet, and in the days that followed, Brzezinski received large quantities of fan mail supporting her on-air protest as a commentary on the tension between "hard news" and "entertainment news".[6][7] Similarly, on July 7, 2010, she spent significant airtime objecting to pressure to report on Lindsay Lohan and Levi Johnston, eventually having Geist or Pat Buchanan report the stories with the caption "News You Can't Use".

In January 2011, she spent time on-air mentioning that it was not newsworthy to report on Sarah Palin's reaction to President Obama's speech about the Tucson shooting.[8]

Wage equality[edit]

On October 19, 2012, Brzezinski stated "We've been talking a lot this week about women and equal pay and all these issues". "I have to say, in all seriousness, I'm very lucky to be working with you [co-host Joe Scarborough] and for a company [MSNBC] who has actually dealt with this problem transparently", a reference to her satisfaction with her $2 million salary.[9]

All Things at Once[edit]

Brzezinski authored the book, All Things at Once, published by Weinstein Books in January 2010. The publisher describes it as "a candid and inspiring motivational book that will help women of all ages confront the unique professional and personal challenges they face in the key moments of their lives."[10] In it she discussed her guilt over being preoccupied with work, which led to her dropping her baby down a flight of stairs. [11]

Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You're Worth[edit]

Brzezinski's most recent book, Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You're Worth (Weinstein Books 2011), includes tips for negotiating salaries and compensation packages. Told as her personal story, the advice and perspectives offered — both encouraging and cautionary — are substantiated with interviews and studies about commonly held perceptions of women who negotiate financial compensation.[12]

Russell Brand incident[edit]

On June 17, 2013, comedian Russell Brand was invited to appear on Morning Joe, hosted by Brzezinski and two co-hosts, Katty Kay and Brian Shactman, to talk about his world comedy tour "Messiah Complex." Viewers and critics perceived that Brzezinski and her co-hosts were rude to Brand during the interview. Brzezinksi repeatedly stated that she had no idea who Brand was, and at one point mistakenly called him "Willy."[13] Shactman mocked Brand's British accent: "On satellite radio in the car, I can't understand a single joke you're saying... everyone's laughing in the audience, but I have no idea what he just said." All three hosts talked about Brand in the third person, causing Brand to snap, "You’re talking about me as if I’m not here and as if I’m an extraterrestrial," later asking "Is this what you all do for a living? ... You’re conveying news to the people of America?"[14]

Following the interview's broadcast, the clip went viral, and Brzezinski later addressed the incident. She said “People come in here one after the other. I know Ratner, I know Andy, I didn’t know Russell. I don’t think Russell liked that. I’ve never gotten more vitriol and anger and hatred than I’ve gotten over this, so I apologize for not knowing.”[citation needed] Brzezinski went on to say that it had been “a long day.” She didn't address why her colleagues talked about Brand in the third person, nor did she apologize for doing so.

Personal life[edit]

Since 1993, Brzezinski has been married to TV news reporter James Hoffer, now of WABC-TV.[15] They met when both worked at WTIC-TV. They have two daughters.

She is the cousin of author Matthew Brzezinski.

Her siblings include Ian Brzezinski and Mark Brzezinski.

References.[edit]

  1. ^ "Brzezinski, Mika". Current Biography Yearbook 2010. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2010. pp. 84–88. ISBN 9780824211134. 
  2. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (February 16, 2001). "The Spin Room, Hardball". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Allocca, Kevin. Mika Brzezinski: A Democrat, MediaBistro.com, May 27, 2010.
  5. ^ Video of the MSNBC incident (dubbed by MSNBC "the journalistic shot heard round the world")
  6. ^ "Paris Hilton script screwed up, burnt and shredded", The Telegraph
  7. ^ "Newscaster's on-air Paris protest", BBC News
  8. ^ "Joe Scarborough Show" (video). via Colbert Report. January 18, 2011. 
  9. ^ Halper, Daniel. "MSNBC Host 'Lucky' to Get Paid Half as Much as Her Male Co-Host". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Books". Weinstein Books. Retrieved 2012-08-08. 
  11. ^ http://www.today.com/id/34691035/ns/today-today_books/t/her-babys-injury-changed-msnbc-anchors-life/#.UbZGcPnrwZY
  12. ^ "Weinstein Books Press Release". 
  13. ^ Alexandra Petri (2013-06-19). "Russell Brand devastates ‘Morning Joe’ — does he have a point?". washingtonpost.com. 
  14. ^ Alexandra Petri (2013-06-19). "Russell Brand devastates ‘Morning Joe’ — does he have a point?". washingtonpost.com. 
  15. ^ "WEDDINGS; Mika Brzezinski and Jim Hoffer". The New York Times. October 24, 1993. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Nanette Hansen
Anchor of Up to the Minute
1998–2000
Succeeded by
Melissa McDermott
New title Co-host of Morning Joe
2007–present
Served alongside: John Ridley, Willie Geist, Joe Scarborough
Incumbent