The hosts at MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” regularly do battle with all sorts of A.M. competition. On Thursday, however, co-anchor Mika Brzezinski found herself sparring with a range of rival newscasters in a most unusual way.
Brzezinski held forth on Thursday’s “Morning Joe” with an impassioned oration about White House adviser Kellyanne Conway’s recent disclosure about being a victim of sexual assault. But she drew some equally fervent responses from other TV-news anchors.
Greta Van Susteren, S.E. Cupp and Chris Cuomo all questioned Brzezinski’s decision to press Conway to reveal more details of being a victim of sexual assault, which Conway noted during an appearance this past weekend on CNN’s “State of the Union,” a political affairs program that runs Sundays and is hosted by anchor Jake Tapper. “So tell us your story. Who is your attacker? Who broke the law? Who hurt you?” Brzezinski said during Thursday morning’s “Morning Joe” broadcast on MSNBC. “You seemed really uncomfortable when you let that slip out. Your voice got small, your voice cracked, you had to clear your throat. You were really uncomfortable just saying ‘I am a victim of sexual assault.’ And I say that as a victim of sexual assault myself.”
Cuomo, a longtime morning competitor of “Morning Joe” before moving to CNN primetime earlier this year, linked to an account of Brzezinski’s video essay and asked on Twitter: “Is this fair? Should an alleged victim be forced to come forward?”
Cupp also took Brzezinski to task: “This morning, @morningmika did the very thing that makes sexual assault victims NOT want to tell their stories,” the CNN host said on Twitter. “She bullied one, questioned her motives and her truthfulness and called her story ‘convenient.’ We must be better than this.”
And Van Susteren, citing an account of Brzezinski’s words published by Mediaite, said on Twitter: “I think it [sic] terrible to try to force women to reveal details about sexual assault if they do not want to tell details…very personal…” After Brzezinski responded, Van Susteren called for Mediaite to change the headline on the item if it were misleading, and acknowledged she had not watched the segment in full.
Brzezinski did not allow the responses to go unchallenged. “You know better than this,” she said to Cupp. “That you would defend Kellyanne Conway defending the president for attacking Ford and then you’re going to say that when I call out hypocrisy.” And she called on Cuomo to apologize to her for his remarks. “You have offended me as a competitor and a woman And as a victim of a violent sexual assault. I demand an apology. This is below us,” she said.