Brzezinski in 2011
Mika Emilie Leonia Brzezinski
May 2, 1967
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Williams College|
|Occupation||News presenter, author|
|Television||Morning Joe (co-host)|
|Parent(s)||Zbigniew Brzezinski (father)|
Emilie Bene?ová (mother)
|Relatives||Ian Brzezinski (brother)|
Mark Brzezinski (brother)
Matthew Brzezinski (cousin)
Mika Emilie Leonia Brzezinski Scarborough (; born May 2, 1967) is an American journalist, talk show host, liberal political commentator, and author who currently co-hosts MSNBC's weekday morning broadcast show Morning Joe. She was formerly a CBS News correspondent, and was their principal "Ground Zero" reporter during the morning of the September 11 attacks. In 2007 she joined MSNBC as an occasional anchor, and was subsequently chosen as co-host of Morning Joe, alongside Joe Scarborough. She and Scarborough were married on November 24, 2018, with Rep. Elijah Cummings serving as the officiant.
Mika Brzezinski is a visiting fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics. Her main political interest is in wage equality for women. She is also the author of three books; two on her career as a journalist and one on food addiction.
Brzezinski was born in New York City, the daughter of Polish-born foreign policy expert and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and Swiss-born sculptor Emilie Anna Bene?ová. Her mother, of Czech descent, is a grandniece of Czechoslovakia's former president Edvard Bene?. Her father was teaching at Columbia University when she was born; the family moved to McLean, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., in late 1976, when Zbigniew was named National Security Advisor by newly elected President Jimmy Carter. Her brother, Mark Brzezinski, is an American diplomat and was the United States Ambassador to Sweden from 2011 to 2015. Her second brother is military expert Ian Brzezinski. She is a first cousin of the author Matthew Brzezinski.
Brzezinski attended the Madeira School and then enrolled at Georgetown University. During her junior year, she transferred to Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1989.
Brzezinski began her career in journalism as an assistant at ABC's World News This Morning in 1990. A year later, she moved to Tribune-owned Fox affiliate WTIC-TV/WTIC-DT in Hartford, Connecticut. There, she progressed from assignment and features editor to general assignments reporter. In 1992, she joined CBS affiliate WFSB-TV/WFSB-DT in Hartford and quickly progressed through the ranks to become its weekday morning anchor in 1995. In 1997, she left that role to join the CBS News, where she served as a correspondent and as anchor for the overnight Up to the Minute news program. In 2001, Brzezinski began a short hiatus from CBS News, during which she worked for rival MSNBC on the weekday afternoon show, HomePage, with co-anchors Gina Gaston and Ashleigh Banfield.Entertainment Weekly described the trio as "the Powerpuff Girls of journalism".
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She returned to CBS News as a desk correspondent in September 2001, a move that thrust her into the limelight as a principal "Ground Zero" reporter for the September 11, 2001, attacks. Brzezinski was broadcasting live from the scene when the South Tower collapsed. In her last position at CBS News, Brzezinski served as a CBS News correspondent, substitute anchor, and segment anchor for breaking news segments and routine updates. During this period she became an occasional contributor to CBS Sunday Morning and "60 Minutes." She was subsequently fired by CBS.
Brzezinski returned to MSNBC on January 26, 2007, doing the evening "Up to the Minute" news updates. Then she worked primetime newsbreaks during the week. She also filed occasional reports for NBC Nightly News and appeared as an occasional anchor on Weekend Today. Brzezinski resigned from both shows on the eve of a renewal option, said Brzezinski, when Scarborough selected her to co-host on Morning Joe. Brzezinski said, "I struggled to keep up with the live interaction broadcasting format at 6-9 am. I became more comfortable when I found myself having a primary function of reading the prompt for lead-ins and breaks. Mika, the 'hot anchor' was born. The producers slowly encouraged my participation in news reader segments that I was more at ease with. Geist and Joe slowly found me a capable news reader and the expansion of my role was a process. I was not pleased with the reference to being the 'hot anchor'."
On June 26, 2007, 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 Indiana's Republican Senator Richard Lugar's break with President Bush on the Iraq War, which Brzezinski considered more important. After several sarcastic remarks from host Scarborough, she attempted to set the story's script on fire on the air, but was physically prevented from doing so by co-host 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 Abrams'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". Similarly, on July 7, 2010, she objected on-air to pressure to report on Lindsay Lohan and Levi Johnston. Eventually, Geist and Pat Buchanan reported the stories with the caption, then popularized, "News You Can't Use".
Brzezinski and co-host Scarborough have been criticized for frequent phone interviews with Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential campaign, although much of Morning Joe's coverage was critical of Trump's campaign.
The 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak revealed that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, had emailed Chuck Todd, the Political Director of NBC News and host of Meet the Press, to demand that he "stop" Brzezinski from criticizing the DNC's treatment of Bernie Sanders. In December 2016, after Clinton had lost, Brzezinski suggested the Clinton campaign had tried to silence her by calling executives at NBC and telling them she "needed to be pulled off the air".
On February 15, 2017, Brzezinski banned Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway from future appearances on her show. Brzezinski said, "We know for a fact that [Conway] tries to book herself on this show. I won't do it. Because I don't believe in fake news, or information that is not true... every time I've ever seen her on television, something's askew, off or incorrect". Her co-host Joe Scarborough said the decision to ban Conway from future appearances was based on her being "out of the loop" and "in none of the key meetings". "She's not briefed. She's just saying things just to get in front of the TV to prove her relevance".
On February 15, 2017, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin agreed that Conway should be banned from future television appearances. "In recent days, George Stephanopoulos and Matt Lauer blasted her directly, essentially calling her a fabulist. Given all that, it would be irresponsible for any news show to put her out there, suggesting she really does not know what is going on at any given moment", Rubin wrote. According to both Scarborough and Brzezinski, Conway is privately "disgusted" by her job and Donald Trump, and her words do not reflect her actual beliefs--though Conway disputed the claim.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted several times criticizing both Brzezinski and Scarborough. In March 2017, Brzezinski called Trump's presidency "fake and failed", and soon thereafter Trump unfollowed Brzezinski and Scarborough on Twitter.
Brzezinski and Scarborough then accused the White House of threatening to blackmail them with an exposé in a tabloid magazine unless the pair apologized publicly to the President.
On December 12, 2018, Brzezinski called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "a wannabe dictator's butt-boy", referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, during a live MSNBC broadcast. She apologized later that day (as well as the next day) after her remarks were widely criticized as homophobic.
On October 23, 1993, Brzezinski married TV news reporter James Patrick Hoffer, now of WABC-TV. They met when both worked at WTIC-TV. They have two daughters, Emilie and Carlie Hoffer. Hoffer and Brzezinski divorced in 2016 amidst allegations of an affair between Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.
Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You're Worth, published in 2011, discusses women and financial negotiations. It includes tips for negotiating salaries and compensation packages. In 2018 this was revised, updated, and was released as Know Your Value. Her third book, Obsessed: America's Food Addiction and My Own, was published in 2012.
she had her chin "tweaked" but did not have a full "face-lift"
Originally published in hardcover and ebook by Weinstein Books in April 2011. First revised and updated hardcover edition published by Hachette Books September 2018. (from copyright page)