"Harvard types" [HEART] Mika and Joe!

FRIDAY, JULY 14, 2017

An unfortunate cultural portrait:
Tomorrow, we plan to review the way the cable corps has limned that now-famous meeting in which, as David Brooks has complained, Don Junior sought "information."

We plan to list a few ways Trump types may turn out to have broken the law (or not). At the same time, we plan to list a few absurdities about the pundit corps' reaction to what is known about that now-famous meeting, at which "information" was sought.

For today, we'll direct you to an unfortunate report from atop the first page of today's Washington Post Style section.

Granted, the piece was written by Monica Hesse, latest regent of upper-end press corps snark and snide, female leadership only need apply. Even allowing for the throwback attitude long adored at Style, we can all cringe a bit as Hesse begins, hard-copy headline included:
HESSE (7/14/17): Lovebirds Joe and Mika all atwitter about Trump

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski
, high atop the foamed crest of fame that traditionally appears when one half of a couple is accused by the President of the United States on Twitter of having a bloody facelift and the other half of the couple responds by loudly quitting the president’s political party, continued riding their wave on Tuesday night by appearing at the National Archives in Washington.

The affianced co-hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” it turns out, have also been named visiting fellows to Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.
Wednesday’s talk—an interview conducted by billionaire philanthropist David Rubenstein and attended by an auditorium full of Harvard types—was their first public event as part of this endeavor.

“Tomorrow I’m interviewing George Bush and Bill Clinton together,” Rubenstein shared, “and more people have asked me about this interview than that!”

Scarborough preened. Brzezinski shook her head in apparent disbelief.
Joe and Mika have been named visiting fellows to the Kennedy Institute! According to Hesse, the "Harvard types" at yesterday's event pretty much loved what they heard from the erudite "lovebird" duo.

We're not sure what a visiting fellow does at the Kennedy Institute. Whatever it is, we're fairly sure that Joe and Mika probably shouldn't be doing it.

In fairness, Joe is a perfectly decent political analyst. In fact, he's often a good political analyst, at least when he isn't telling his endless Mittyesque stories about his own flawless campaigns.

As for Mika, she may have many other virtues and skills, but she's easily one of the worst major pundits in all of "cable news."

By way of temperament, she seems completely unsuited to the pundit/analyst role. That may make her a very good person, but it makes her a terrible analyst. She just isn't good in that role, a fact which would be true of a wide range of good, decent capable people.

That said, why are these people being interviewed by a billionaire for a Kennedy Institute event? Their claim to fame is this:

When Donald J. Trump threw his hat in the ring, they pandered, fawned and kissed his ascot right into the early months of 2016. Around the time of Trump's David Duke play, they withdrew their support for the great man who, they say, has changed.

Has J-Trump changed in some fundamental way? By early 2016, Trump had served as Birther King for almost five years. This didn't seem to bother these two as they pandered and fawned and devoted endless air time, and people like this billionaire won't be asking them about that.

Dearest darlings, use your heads! It simply isn't done!

Hesse goes on and on, then on and on, about the "uproarious audience laughter" which kept emerging from the "Harvard types" as Joe and Mika piddled out their various self-involved tales. Hesse is part of the snark machine which has always ruled at Style—including in June 1999, when the section signaled the rest of the corps that the time had come for open war against the vile Candidate Gore.

Hesse's report is built around mandated Style section snark. It also describes the state of upper-end culture surrounding our political journalism.

Donald J. Trump is a disordered man, but rank Trumpism was culturally dominant long before he came among. It's purveyors have long been accepted and praised by one and all, including by our own journalistic leaders over here on the corporate left.


  1. That variant of snark employed by Hesse has been the staple of gossip columnists forever. The article appropriately appears in the Style section. Somerby snidely says: "female leadership only need apply".

    Here again Somerby displays his deafness when it comes to women's issues. Relegated solely to the Style and so-called Women's Pages, this cattiness has been a survival tool for women in journalism -- because it sells papers. Those who branch out (not including Maureen Dowd) adopt a style more similar to that of male writers, appropriate for the broader range of topics. Linking this snide tone to female leadership is about as appropriate as linking the deferential tone adopted by Step-n-fetchit to black leadership. This is no more natural to women than Yassir was to black men.

    Somerby should know this. He doesn't appear to. That is on him. That he is tone deaf to the problems of women may be related to his status as a single older man, or it may be that he just doesn't care about half the population. It says volumes about why he supported Bernie instead of Hillary and is still trying to help put over Bernie's agenda.

    If he ever read his comments, he would no doubt consider my complaint an example of the identity politics that are the downfall of today's Democratic Party. Women need to set aside their affronts and wait for the day when they will no longer be second-class citizens, relegated to the Style pages, but only if they can mimic Dowd's snide tones (epitomizing female leadership in some unknowable way).

    1. Somerby reads his comments. And he makes many of his own elsewhere.

  2. Joe is OK but that Mika sure is a joke. Somerby's ambivalence toward female journalists is showing again.

  3. It’s purveyors” — [shudder for the misplaced apostrophe, “Its” being the right usage here] — meaning Trumpism’s purveyors — have, quite coincidentally, found an industrious ally in a blogger hereabouts who keeps flogging attacks on Trump’s critics, whether from the right or the left.

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