Category Archives: Media matters

Chauvinism aside

My boyfriend and I spent the weekend in Chicago. We woke up on Sunday morning and put on MSNBC. I’ve been a huge fan of Melissa Harris-Perry but I’m never up early enough to watch her show on the weekend. Well, we got to catch a great segment where Harris-Perry and her panel talked about the importance of single-sex education and the role of mentors as critical to the success of girls and women at school.

“This is why I love MSNBC,” I said. “Where else would you get this sort of discussion on TV?”

Back home in Michigan, I glanced through my blog reader this afternoon depressed that every single story was written about gun control. One of the few posts I found not concerning gun control featured Joe Scarborough “going off” on his co-host last week for accusing him of behaving in a chauvinistic way. Here’s what happened.

Should we be shocked? We’ve come to expect this sort of behavior from Joe Scarborough. He is consistently dismissive towards Brzezinski. Watching Morning Joe is almost as painful as it was watching Sean Hannity belittle Alan Colmes back before Hannity & Colmes changed from an hour of liberal bashing to an hour of conservative chest-thumping. The question we’re left with is how MSNBC can simultaneously employ the intelligence and thoughtfulness of Melissa Harris-Perry and put Scarborough’s buffoonery on every morning while expecting that they can pass themselves off as a “progressive” network.

How radical is it to expect that your morning show anchor should be inoffensive enough that he won’t consistently talk over his female co-anchor? This isn’t about politics; I actually appreciate the idea of putting a centrist Republican on the air on a “progressive” network. In theory anyways. This isn’t about the on-air discussion that led to Brzezinski’s assertion – I happen to be sympathetic towards some of the statements Scarborough was making. What’s in question is Scarborough demeanor. Maybe it’s time MSNBC found another centrist Republican. While we’re talking about the under-representation of women in politics, maybe we should talk about the lack of women hosting their own news show. Maybe it’s time to start rethinking the role of women and rather than relegating them to the role of hapless sidekick, promoting more women to serious positions – maybe even a show where the man is the sidekick.

Chauvinism aside, it was a pretty painful 10 minutes of television to watch a bunch of middle-aged white men sit around and talk down the women on air with them all while accusing President Obama of failing to employ a sufficient number of women in his administration.

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