On Monday, MSNBC's Morning Joe premiered a new promotion that has ladies in media crying sexism and Joe Scarborough scratching his head. The ad plays into the hosts' gender stereotypes, depicting the respective morning routines of responsible female host Mika Brzezinski and her slacker male co-hosts. In the spot, Brzezinski plays the doing-it-all working woman, who packs school lunches, jogs to work and still makes it to the show early and impeccably dressed. The male hosts, Willie Geist, Joe Scarborough, and Mike Barnicle make it to the show late -- if at all -- after a night of drinking and smoking. The ad relies heavily on stereotypes and makes Brzezinski look like a bitchy-hard ass in comparison to the fun dude hosts. Yet, Joe Scarborough doesn't get the problem. “The ad mocks me as a screwup and portrays Mika as the powerhouse behind the show," he told Politico's Ben Smith. "How is that sexist?"
Just because something is true, doesn't make it not sexist. The spot just depicts an unfortunate sexist reality of Morning Joe's dynamic with Brzezinski as the goody-good RA type that keeps the good-old boys club in line, as Business Insider's Glynnis MacNicol points out. "Less reassuringly, it also manages to sum up quite succinctly the increasingly hard to watch dynamic of Morning Joe, in which Joe and company behave like bad little boys and sexy Mika scolds them," she writes. While it might portray an accurate dynamic of Scarborough and co as the fun dudes and Brzezinski as the sexy working woman, it's something aspiring women in media would rather not have as the picture of women who have "made it" in media. Bloomberg TV's Lizzie O'Leary, for example, called it "totally icky."
This deeper issue, of women in media, is something another successful female journalist addressed on this very site. In her Media Diet, ABC's Christiane Amanpour told John Hudson that she has an "issue" with "how women journalists are portrayed" today in media. "Women are portrayed in a far too frivolous way in the U.S. media," she said. "Ideally, they would not be portrayed by the depth of their plunging neckline or hair but on the content of their work and their passion." The Morning Joe spot, which features Brzezinski in an uber-tight running outfit before she dons a pair of leg enhancing stilettos seems just the type of portrayal to which Amanpour referred.