Mika Brzezinski

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Mika Brzezinski
Mika Brzezinski smiling
Born Mika Emilie Leonia Brzezinski
(1967-05-02) May 2, 1967 (age 49)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Education Georgetown University
Williams College (BA)
Occupation Journalist
Employer NBCUniversal, Comcast
Television Morning Joe (co-host)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) James Hoffer (m. 19932016)
Children 2
Parent(s) Emilie Benešová (mother)
Zbigniew Brzezinski (father)
Relatives Mark Brzezinski (brother)
Ian Brzezinski (brother)

Mika Emilie Leonia Brzezinski (/ˈmkə brəˈzɪnski/; born May 2, 1967)[1] is an American television host, author and political commentator. Brzezinski co-hosts MSNBC's weekday morning broadcast Morning Joe with former Republican representative Joe Scarborough. She is the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter and counselor to President Lyndon B. Johnson.

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,[2] and Swiss-born sculptor Emilie Anna Benešová. Her mother, of Czech descent, is a grandniece of Czechoslovakia's former president Edvard Beneš. Her father was teaching at Columbia University when she was born, 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 was the United States Ambassador to Sweden from 2011 to 2015. Her brother is military expert Ian Brzezinski. She is also first cousin of author Matthew Brzezinski.

Brzezinski attended The Madeira School during her high school years. She graduated in 1989 from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts,[2] where she majored in English, after transferring from Georgetown University as a junior.


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 2001, Brzezinski began a short hiatus from CBS News, during which she worked for rival MSNBC on the weekday afternoon show, HomePage, with co-anchors Gina Gaston and Ashleigh Banfield.[3] Entertainment Weekly described the trio as "the Powerpuff Girls of journalism".[3]

She returned to CBS News as a correspondent in September 2001, a move that 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 News, Brzezinski served as a CBS News correspondent, substitute anchor, and segment anchor for breaking news segments and routine updates. During this period she became an occasional 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 worked primetime newsbreaks during the week. She also filed occasional reports for NBC Nightly News and appeared as an occasional anchor on Weekend Today. Brzezinski resigned from both shows on the eve of a renewal option, said Brzezinski, when Scarborough selected her to co-host on Morning Joe. Brzezinski said, "I struggled to keep up with the live interaction broadcasting format at 6-9 am. I became more comfortable when I found myself having a primary function of reading the prompt for lead-ins and breaks. Mika, the 'hot anchor' was born. The producers slowly encouraged my participation in news reader segments that I was more at ease with. Geist and Joe slowly found me a capable news reader and the expansion of my role was a process. I was not pleased with the reference to being the 'hot anchor'."[4]

Brzezinski at the Miami Book Fair International 2013

Since the program's inception, Brzezinski has appeared as co-host and news reader on MSNBC's morning program Morning Joe,[4] alongside Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist. Her father is a frequent guest. On Morning Joe, Brzezinski often points out that she is a Democrat and her co-host Joe Scarborough is a Republican.[5]

The 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak revealed that Democratic National Committee members had emailed Chuck Todd to demand that he "stop" Brzezinski from criticizing the DNC's treatment of Bernie Sanders.[6] In December 2016, after Clinton had lost, Brzezinski suggested the Clinton campaign had tried to silence her by calling executives at NBC and telling them she "needed to be pulled off the air".[7]

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 Scarborough, she attempted to set the story's script on fire on the air, but was physically prevented from doing so by co-host 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.[8] 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".[9][10] Similarly, on July 7, 2010, she objected on-air to pressure to report on Lindsay Lohan and Levi Johnston. Eventually, Geist and Pat Buchanan reported the stories with the caption, then popularized, "News You Can't Use".

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 reported $2 million salary, half as much as her male counterpart.[11]


Brzezinski authored the memoir, All Things at Once, published by Weinstein Books in January 2010."[12]

In 2011, Brzezinski published the book Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You're Worth (Weinstein Books 2011). Told as her personal story, the book discussed women and financial negotiations. It included tips for negotiating salaries and compensation packages.[13]

Personal life[edit]

On October 23, 1993, Brzezinski married TV news reporter James Patrick Hoffer, now of WABC-TV.[14] They met when both worked at WTIC-TV. They have two daughters, Emilie and Carlie Hoffer.[15] Hoffer and Brzezinski divorced in 2016.[16]


  1. ^ "Brzezinski, Mika". Current Biography Yearbook 2010. Ipswich, MA: H. W. Wilson. 2010. pp. 84–88. ISBN 9780824211134. 
  2. ^ a b "Mika Brzezinski". MSNBC. Retrieved December 10, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (February 16, 2001). "The Spin Room, Hardball". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Allocca, Kevin. Mika Brzezinski: A Democrat, MediaBistro.com, May 27, 2010.
  6. ^ Reisman, Sam (July 22, 2016). "Leaked Emails Show DNC Chair Told Chuck Todd Negative Coverage 'Must Stop'". Mediaite. Retrieved December 10, 2016. 
  7. ^ Hayden, Erik (December 9, 2016). "Mika Brzezinski Claims Clinton Camp Contacted NBC to Say She "Needed to Be Pulled Off the Air"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 10, 2016. 
  8. ^ Video of the MSNBC incident (dubbed by MSNBC "the journalistic shot heard round the world")
  9. ^ "Paris Hilton script screwed up, burnt and shredded", The Telegraph
  10. ^ "Newscaster's on-air Paris protest", BBC News
  11. ^ Halper, Daniel. "MSNBC Host 'Lucky' to Get Paid Half as Much as Her Male Co-Host". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Books". Weinstein Books. Retrieved 2012-08-08. 
  13. ^ "Weinstein Books Press Release". 
  14. ^ "WEDDINGS; Mika Brzezinski and Jim Hoffer". The New York Times. October 24, 1993. 
  15. ^ http://morningmika.com/pdf/MOREOct090001.pdf
  16. ^ http://www.people.com/article/mika-brzezinski-morning-joe-co-host-divorced-husband-jim-hoffer

External links[edit]

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