BREAKING: Has it really been ten years?

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2017

Those memoirs continue to beckon:
Has it really been ten years?

Apparently, yes it has! Yesterday morning, Morning Joe celebrated ten years on the air. This brings us back to Mika Brzezinki's three (3) peculiar memoirs.

We tried to handle the books last week. As we said at the time, it would take several weeks to do justice to all the nonsense found in the books—to their serial weirdness.

In large part, this involves Mika's ruminations about the role of money in her career. As usual, her apparent self-contradictions provide a great deal of amusement, even as she offers us an unusual look inside this important part of mainstream press/pundit culture.

What do we mean by "her apparent self-contradictions?" Consider the early pages of her second memoir, Knowing Your Value: Women. Money. and Getting What You're Worth.

This book is built around Mika's quest to gain the million of dollars she's so plainly worth, given her array of professional skills and her astonishing thinness. The story starts in early 2008, when she says she discovered that Joe himself was being paid fourteen times what she was paid, and that other "male colleagues," including Willie Geist-Haskell, were being paid "much more" than she was.

These claims are rather fuzzy. It's never made clear how she came to know the things she says she knew. But soon, we seem to be told that Mika had been shortchanged all through her career. On page 4, we're made privy to this:
BRZEZINKSI (page 4): My meeting with Joe that February [2008] morning was the culmination of a problem that had been brewing for decades. I had spent my career moving from job to job, accepting pay that I knew wasn't competitive because I always felt lucky to be there. I figured if I just worked hard, took on more hours, more assignments, and more stories, I could prove myself, and eventually my bosses would reward me with a raise and promotion. Often while I was hustling and hoping for more money, I would discover that my male colleagues were making more than I was. I wouldn't get angry at the men for this—I'd be angry at myself for not earning more respect and compensation from management. Then I'd start feeling underappreciated, talk to other networks, and and then move on and repeat the pattern somewhere else. Clearly the pattern wasn't getting me anywhere.
It sounded like Mika had been a real vagabond, that she'd "spent [her] career moving from job to job, accepting pay that [she] knew wasn't competitive." That said, in her first memoir, she'd described her ten-year history at CBS News and MSNBC, and it didn't exactly seem to fit this description.

According to that first memoir, Brzezinksi started at CBS News on the day she turned 30. A few years later, she moved to MSNBC to host an afternoon show, giving her better hours. CBS News hired her back rather quickly. On the day she turned 39, CBS told her it wouldn't renew her contract when it expired, though she stayed on the job for several months after that.

It's true that she'd been "fired" at age 39, and for a year, she couldn't get anyone else to hire her. But had her career really been as peripatetic and penurious as she seemed to say on page 4 of that second memoir?

You be the judge! On page 12 of this same second book, Mika describes the poorly-paid, part-time job she took at MSNBC in 2007, after a year of stone-cold unemployment. It's the job which led to her discovery by Joe Scarborough, thus to her role on Morning Joe. Along the way, she tells us this:
BRZEZINSKI (page 12): If you looked at that MSNBC job, you'd see that it was a considerable step back from my high-profile correspondent job at CBS. It was even a big step back from my job at MSNBC, ten years earlier. I spent my fortieth birthday doing cut-ins, but it was fine. It was work, and I was proud of myself...There was as much value in this moment as the day I got a huge contract at CBS that included a 60 Minutes deal. I was going to be okay.
Say what? On page 4, we're told that she "had spent [her] career moving from job to job, accepting pay that [she] knew wasn't competitive" and never being recognized for her amazing array of skills. Eight pages later, she cites the "huge contract" she got at CBS News, the huge contract (for a "high-profile job") under which she even did spots on 60 Minutes.

What's the truth about Mika's pay through the years? How much was she paid in her ten years in network news before she landed her spot at Morning Joe? Was she being paid what she was "worth," as compared to male colleagues?

Based on Mika's memoirs, there's absolutely zero way to settle such basic questions. She only cites one specific salary she ever received. According to her first memoir, when she first went to CBS News, in 1997, on the day she turned 30, she was paid $150,000 per year for anchoring the network's little-watched, 2-5 AM overnight news show.

(Adjusting for inflation, that would be roughly $230,000 today.)

Was that a cheapskate salary? Was she being underpaid as compared to male colleagues? We have no idea. In our view, everything is possible.

But during her second stint at CBS News, she was rewarded with a "huge contract," or so we're told on page 12 of Knowing Your Value. A mere eight pages earlier, we were told that she had "spent [her] career moving from job to job, accepting pay that [she] knew wasn't competitive."

How do these stories fit together? We aren't sure, but just as there were a million stories in the naked city, there are a million apparent self-contradictions in Mika's trio of memoirs.

Mika's memoirs are full of amusing apparent self-contradictions. They're also full of anecdotes that seem so improbable that the puzzled reader is left to wonder if Mika could possibly mean what she seems to have said.

These books rarely fail to amuse the diligent reader. That said, one question arises all through these books, at least to us: How can it be that the author of these puzzling memoirs is a highly influential member of our celebrity pundit corps?

We can't answer that question. But as we watched Morning Joe's tenth birthday, our thoughts were drawn, again and again, to those entertaining but puzzling books.

For at least three decades, our American public discourse has been a dangerous joke. In this particular instance, Joe and Mika loved and fawned to Candidate Trump, then all of a sudden they flipped.

Brzezinksi's three memoirs offer an unusual look inside the world of our big major pundits. At one point, she says the book deal which led to these books was arranged to move her income to the big fat level she so plainly deserves.

Money plays a very large role within our upper-end press corps. It plays a large, very dangerous role, which is why it's so rarely discussed.

25 comments:

  1. Why is Somerby reading Mika's books instead of Hillary's?

    At one point, Hillary says her book deal was originally to write a series of essays around inspiring quotes. She changed it into a candid analysis of her reaction to the election. Was this just a way to put money into Hillary's hands? Or do publishers offer book deals to people who they believe will sell books, whether writing about inspiring quotes or whatever Mika wrote about?

    I wouldn't bother to read a book written by Mika. Apparently, Somerby won't bother reading something written by Hillary despite her enormous relevance to current politics and her treatment by the media.

    This makes Somerby's discourse a dangerous joke, in my opinion. Somerby fawned to Sanders and got Trump elected, now he wants to pretend Mika is important. Uh huh. We aren't fooled.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Brzezinksi's three memoirs offer an unusual look inside the world of our big major pundits."

    Puh-leeze. Reading this crap is a waste of time. Anyone who's ever seen a talking head on TV and listened to it for 2 minutes knows exactly what's "inside the world" of these fucking clowns.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes and now we have a f***ing clown as President - and you're happy about it!

      Delete
    2. Given the choice: clown vs. old psycho-witch serving the neolib/neocon establishment - yes, I'm real happy to have the clown. And you should be too.

      Delete
    3. "I'm real happy to have the clown."

      That's only because the clown grabbed Mao by the pussy.

      Delete
    4. The clown's hands are so teeny, tiny he doesn't think it should count as sexual assault.

      Delete
    5. "That's only because the clown grabbed Mao by the pussy."

      Nah. Like most supporters of Trump, it's the bigotry that turns them on.

      Delete
    6. Why can't it be both: grabbing my pussy AND the bigotry that turns me on?

      Do I have to teach you pathetic psycho-trolls everything?

      Delete
    7. Mao,
      That's not trolling. It's telling the truth. Do I have to teach you bots everything?

      Delete
    8. Mao, glad to see we agree on something, that our latest POTUS is a f***ing clown. You really seem to loath Clinton. I voted for her, and perhaps to confirm your point, I wished she hadn't run - largely because I foresaw all the ludicrous crap that would be thrown at her. No politician can bring about a utopia (like back to an Edenic past that Trump promised, totally BS wise, to bring about). They all make promises, sound optimistic, but most problems range from intractibel to unsolvable. An "old psychotic witch"??? Way too harsh. Libya hasn't worked out. I guess you could say, like Trump, that Iraq was a debacle many times worse - and interestingly, a large majority of Trump supporters presumably had those support our troops stickers on their bumpers along with all the right wing noise machine that excoriated liberals who were skeptical about that thing. But I'm pretty sure that if the US did not intervene with other of our allies in Libya, and Khadafy slaughtered thousands of citizens, Trump would have bashed her for that. (Yes, I know that some claim that the threat of this slaughter was an invention - I don't know the answer.) Meanwhile, let's keep our fingers crossed that the guy you seem to think does no wrong doesn't get us in a war with Iran and/or North Korea and that he doesn't nuke anyone.

      Delete
    9. Mao,
      I'm sorry that your fee-fee is hurt because I remind you that Trump supporters love the sweet, sweet sound of his bigotry.
      I don't work for the corporate-media, so I'm not paid to make believe it isn't true. I know, it's a tough break for you, but that's life.

      Delete
    10. "You really seem to loath Clinton."

      I dislike all politicians. You shouldn't vote for persons, you should vote for the platforms that politicians represent.

      Clinton represents the worst in American politics: neoliberal globalisation and neoconservative quest for world domination.

      Delete
    11. "Clinton represents the worst in American politics: neoliberal globalisation and neoconservative quest for world domination."

      Well, thank Dog we got Trump, who has handed the economy to Wall Street and is threatening war with foreign powers.
      The hypocrisy of Trump supporters like yourself would be obvious, if it wasn't deflected by the sweet, sweet sound of Trump's bigotry.

      Delete
    12. You know what the word 'bigotry' means? According to the online dictionary, it's "intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself".

      And that's, I'm sorry to say, exactly what you (and your bosses, dismissing tens of millions of their fellow citizens as 'deplorables') are demonstrating here.

      As for 'handing the economy to Wall Street', why don't you direct your fake outrage where it belongs: at the previous regime, of Saint Obama?

      As for 'threatening war', I'll sure take 'threatening war' for actually starting and executing multiple wars. Again, see the previous regime, bombing of 7 different countries.

      Delete
    13. Yes, i suppose it could be construed that my hatred of Right-wing know nothings and the racists, misogynists, xenophobes, and sexists who ally with them isn't "politically correct".

      The Right-wing HATES 'political correctness", right up to the point you tell them the truth about themselves.

      Delete
    14. You can hate whoever you wish, I don't give a shit.

      You replied to my comment and I thought there might be a slight chance that you wanted to have a conversation. Thanks for clarifying that you're just a sanctimonious prick and a blowhard.

      And now please have the last word.

      Delete
    15. "...right up to the point you tell them the truth about themselves."

      Word!

      Delete
    16. "Thanks for clarifying that you're just a sanctimonious prick and a blowhard."

      Boo- fucking-hoo. Just be thankful you're a moron, because if you just "wanted to have a conversation" with Right-wingers, you'd have drowned in your tears ages ago.

      Delete
  3. Mika needs a good editor.

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  4. When Brzezinksi was growing up, she had a famous father who was regarded as a brilliant man and world leader. How does a little girl learn to express her own policy-related opinions on global issues when she lives in the shadow of such a figure? She obviously learned to be adorable in order to be heard at all. It is what she does on her show and it is no doubt what she did at home with an old-school daddy to smile at her early efforts and tell her what a pretty, clever girl she was.

    If Somerby had an ounce of true empathy, he would feel sorry for Mika. I do. Even more so when she is attacked by a lout like Somerby, who didn't have the courage to put himself out there as anything but the world's critic.

    ReplyDelete
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