Yesterday’s media cycle largely focused on allegations that Morning Joe regular Mark Halperin had made numerous unwanted sexual advances towards female co-workers over one or two decades ago when he was then employed by ABC News.
Since then, MSNBC, and the larger NBC News operation, have demonstrated exactly how to handle such scandal: Co-host Mika Brzezinski soberly addressed the situation yesterday before NBC announced Halperin’s immediate suspension while facts were gathered, and today they addressed this ugly situation again.
Speaking on behalf of herself and co-host Joe Scarborough (and ostensibly the entire show) Brzezinski showed grace and candor in toeing a very fine line between compassion expressed for this potentially career-ending episode that their friends (Halperin and his wife Karen) were enduring, while also noting the very serious allegations at the root of Halperin’s suspension.
Brzezinski opened by first establishing real love for her embattled colleague, saying “Mark and Karen have been a part of Morning Joe’s extended family for years, they’re our friend” and “we believe it’s important to stand with our friends for even the most difficult of times.”
She then explained out she (and Joe) take the very seriously the “extremely painful” facts and revealed that she herself had “spoken to and heard from some of these women,” adding that she feels “their pain and understands the difficult position they were in, because I have been through enough in this business to know what I hear.”
But it was her historical perspective on the current rash of sexual harassment allegations that deserves special attention for its eloquence and economy of words:
We are at a pivotal moment in history where unacceptable harassing behavior towards women will no longer be swept under the rug. Yes, we do remain a nation of laws where everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty and nothing has been proven or adjudicated here, but we’re also witnessing a larger movement of women speaking up about sexual harassment because the fear of being dismissed or not believed is melting away.
She continued to artfully express real love and support for her friends, saying “our hearts break for Mark and his family, he is our friend” before immediately noting that she, and the show, take these allegations very seriously, and committed “to covering it closely in the days and weeks to come.”
Take note fellow media outlets. There are certain to be more harassment allegations for powerful media figures raised in generations with social mores that are very different from those of todas. And Morning Joe’s handling of this delicate and ugly situation — especially Brzezinski’s — is nothing but a tour de force and an example of how to address news that isn’t always beneficial or joyful to share.
Watch the stunning moment above, courtesy of MSNBC.
–image via screen capture–
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