Excerpted from Mika Brzezinski’s entry in Wikipedia: “… near the beginning of Morning Joe, Brzezinski refused to read a report about Paris Hilton’s release from jail. One hour later during another news break segment, her producer Andy Jones again pushed the story as the lead, ranking it over Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana’s break with President Bush on the Iraq war, which Brzezinski considered more important. After several sarcastic remarks from host Joe Scarborough, she attempted to light the story’s script on fire on the air, but was physically prevented from doing so by co-host Willie Geist. She then tore up the script, and one hour later, got up and ran another copy of the script through a paper shredder retrieved from Dan Abram’s office. The incident was quickly popularized on the Internet, and in the days that followed Brzezinski received large quantities of fan mail supporting her on-air protest as a commentary on the tension between hard news and entertainment news.”
What a credit to her! She chose hard news over entertaining news and made a scene about it.
So has she changed her tune? One might think so from her hammering, with her angel choir on Morning Joe, Tony Heyward for the bad public relations (PR) resulting from his taking a weekend off to participate with his yacht in a regatta in England. Notable was that none of them challenged whether it was appropriate for him to take a weekend off from the Gulf oil spill, only that he did so in a public event (they didn’t say a public event in which participation as a yacht owner is reserved for those who make enough to own yachts but one suspects that was a part of their complaint). Don’t miss this: journalists (so-called) faulting a ceo for bad PR, an endeavor that generally invites their condemnation or at least condescension. In essence, PR is a bad thing but he needed more of it and better quality (i.e. lower quality)?
A journalist will dismiss a press release if there is anyway to ignore it, will sometimes let a good story get by because it originates with people employed to get it out, and will often feel he or she has not thoroughly checked it until someone speaks against it. But Tony Heyward needed more and better?
PR for Tony Heyward’s weekends and Paris Hilton’s jail release are equally insubstantial topics and anyone with the credibility built on the Paris Hilton story should be wary of sacrificing any of it over “PR”.