When she's not being steamrolled on a daily basis by Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski takes time to help young women. On Tuesday evening, after a panel discussion at Columbia University Journalism School, Brzezinski took out her phone and called up a friend to see if she could get a young woman who had asked her for advice promoted.
According to Capital New York, though Scarborough and Brzezinski laid down the law about how they make their show Morning Joe so goddamn good (don't prepare too much; you can be honest about your biases; act mildly unhinged), they also gave advice to the J-school students in attendance, who were allowed to line up and ask questions of the hosts. One 24 year old woman who works at CBS's Newspath (whose name has not been revealed) told Brzezinski she was worried about moving up in the ranks there and getting where she wanted in her journalism career:
Brzezinski listened patiently, but seemed distracted. She reached for her iPhone, which was plugged into a charger on the stage, almost as soon as the young woman began speaking to her. She flipped through her contacts, tapped the phone, and made a call. The young CBS correspondent stopped talking.
Only snatches of the conversation between Brzezinski and the CBS executive could be overheard from where the young woman stood—“she’ll be in your office for 5 minutes to talk,” “she is languishing in her current job,”—but it was clear that Brzezinski had arranged a meeting between the reporter in the purple sweater and someone high up at the network.
The young woman, who declined to give her name or the name of the executive that Brzezinski had called on her behalf, later told Capital that she was surprised that Brzezinski had vouched for her.
“I did not expect that,” she said softly. “I just thought she would give me advice.”
After the event was over, reporter Peter Sterne asked Brzezinski why she had done that for someone she had just met:
“Because that’s what women should do for each other, anyone should do for anyone!” she said, laughing. “And because I can.”
Then she praised her new friend. “I can tell she’s going to be a star. She just needs a break,” she said. “I made the meeting. I would have loved for someone to have done that for me, let me just tell you.”
Brzezinski definitely does wish that; as she's written and talked about time and time again, she felt stymied by her decision to have kids and also to also have a career at the same time. She was eventually ousted at CBS on her 39th birthday (a story Scarborough told at the event Tuesday evening with his usual glee), before making her big MSNBC comeback. You can watch the entire discussion online; a surprisingly large portion of it is about Brzezinski's struggles as a woman in journalism, which Scarborough also weighed in on:
I've seen so many women say 'I'll have kids later, I'll have kids later, I'll have kids later.' And then they get fired at 36 or 37 and they're crying in the newsroom packing their stuff up.
Don't cry at work! Martha says so. Also help your fellow women out. Mika says so.