Midweek-Media: UnSelf-Aware

This MSNBC newsclip was sent to us by reader Lindsey.

Note: I have deduced the names of the speakers as best I could from the dialogue. If you know the show and I got them wrong, I apologize. I had numbers at first. 😉

Mika (serious look, while Joe is looking down and smiling): Past the hour, channel 32, quick look at the news. A married Congressman has unexpectedly resigned after allegedly mailing shirtless photos of himself to an anonymous woman on Craigslist. (during sentence Mika looks up toward camera and Joe seems to be chewing gum?) Gawker first reported the story yesterday, saying Republican Chris Lee responded to an ad that posed the question, “Will someone prove to me that not all Craigslist men are toads?” (during this sentence camera cuts to headshot of the Congressman, then a copy of the shirtless photo) According to Gawker, Lee identified himself as a divorced lobbyist, sent this photo of himself, and described himself as, quote, fit fun classy guy.

Joe (looking just below camera has lips pursed as though hiding smile; Mika already has disgusted look): John Mason?

John Mason: Well he will in fact now be a divorced lobbyist (hear laughter from off screen) when you think about it.

Men talking over each other and laughing: He’s projecting. Telling, telling the future.

Mika (trying to finish reporting the story): The woman reportedly broke off –

Joe: Can I just stop this?

Mika: You know what, actually?

Joe: No. The guy’s…no, the guy’s fit, so let’s focus on this. (Mika looks down) And Willy, that’s one of the reasons (Mika wrinkles her brow as though thinking, frowns) I never tempt myself with working out. (Mika looks up, rolls her eyes; Joe grins and laughs looking the other way at Willy and Harold) Because if you don’t work out, you keep your shirt on.

Willy: No threat of taking a picture.

Joe: No threat. (hand outstretched palm down, Mika’s snarl is getting more pronounced) You know what? Just don’t even go there. So I eat very well, I don’t exercise and that’s just one less

Mika: I…I (trying to take back report)

Joe: …sort of, threat out there for me.

Mika: I bet everyone’s far, very very, what’s the word (looks up still very disgusted looking)…assured by that.

Joe: Yeah, relieved I’m sure. (takes an audible breath to continue)

Mika (looks determinedly into camera, voice changes to anchor-giving-news-report from shut-up-you-jerk): The woman reportedly broke off contact after becoming suspicious (Joe is looking down and across as though reading something on the Mika desk; again chewing – is he chewing tobacco?) that he had misrepresented himself. In a statement Lee wrote, quote, (camera changes to a picture of the Rep and the statement) I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff, and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness. (can hear male voice trying to speak behind her at the end of the sentence)

Joe: You know when something like this happens (Mika gives audible frustrated sigh and looks down this time in the direction of Joe) people ask, “Why would somebody (Mika turns her chair toward Joe and looks him in the eye) do something like that?” Like, what goes through their mind?

Mika (nods): Well, I think actually –

Joe: What goes through their mind? (Mika looks down again, interrupted and talked over) Harold Ford? (Joe looks amused, Mika looks confused, Joe looks at her seems to find it funny that she doesn’t get his joke)

Harold: I gotta tell you

Joe (to Mika): I’m joking

Harold: when I saw this yesterday the first person I thought of was you.

Willy: MM-hmm.

Joe (chuckles): Yeah.

Harold: And what we would talk about on this show. (several male voice laughing, camera on Joe laughing and looking at Mika who is frowning)

Mika: I think it’s – (can’t be heard over laughter so stops) – yeah.

Joe: Go ahead, Mika, I’m sorry (camera is on John Mason who is grinning ear to ear).

Mika: No, I’m going to move on.

Joe: No no no

Mika: I think you all need to really not comment on the story, it’s just not (purses lips, shakes her head). And it’s kind of, if anything, the more serious part of it is,

Joe: Yeah.

Mika: What happens when one gets into politics and goes to Washington (looking into the distance) and is flooded with adulation and people that they’ve never confronted before (camera goes to Willy and Harold who are looking serious) and how absolutely damning that can be, on a marriage, a family and your sense of self. (someone is interrupting and even shaking a finger at her, you can see the finger in the shot) And your self-awareness.

Harold: This guy gotta sort this out himself.

Mika: Some people are just not self-aware (Harold is laughing silently but Willy is still looking serious; Joe looks like he has to burp) but some people go to Washington and then become very unself-aware. (nods in emphasis of her point)

Joe (starts talking before she has finished): Well I never had that problem, Harold, because I was never flooded with adulation. (Mika is smiling and looking around, seems to find comment funny)

Harold: Exactly.

Joe: That being said

Harold: Joe and I sent emails back and forth (Willy cracks up)

Mika: I wasn’t really – I promise I wasn’t talking about you guys.

Joe: In a serious vein though – you’re not going to agree with me here (Mika closes her eyes) – um Harold you saw some guys (Joe starts to grin) go up to Washington, I’m sure, just like me, that had never been, you know, been out of the little town, been away from the rotary club, uh, and they get up there and suddenly, um, in their own little world they’re stars (Mika looks annoyed). They just don’t handle it well.

Harold: In fairness I don’t know Chris Lee. His family’s going through a lot right now.

Mika (with a lot of emphasis): Yes.

Harold: One of the things you find about the job and your first term or two is that in some ways it’s a lonely existence in some ways, as much as you’re surrounded by people and you’re going from one event to the next event, whether you’re at home or in Washington there are moments when you are just alone.

Joe: Yeah.

Harold: And, you know, I hope he, god, I hope he (shifts uncomfortably in chair, looks at camera for the first time during his recent comments) seeks forgiveness and he’s able, his family’s able to forgive him and uh, uh he’s able to move on with life.

Mika: I agree with that completely. Let’s move on. New topic.


  1. Salla says

    Those guys are acting worse than most of the teenage boys I’ve ever met.
    Maybe because in school if people were acting like that you could yell at them or walk off, but since this is her job and she’s apparently the only one acting like a professional, she’s not allowed to do that.

  2. says

    I missed the context. Is this a real conversation or a satirical skit? (Please tell me it’s satire. Please don’t tell me this is a news broadcast or something.)

    • says

      Never mind, answered my own stupid question on a re-read. It IS a news broadcast (must have noticed subconsciously). *sigh* This is just about the definition of edutainment – take the news out of the news story and fill it in with salacious details.

  3. says

    It was having to endure/watch other women endure thousands of moments like this throughout my life since childhood that turned me feminist. Ugh.

  4. Casey says

    What a bunch of smarmsy, smirky, interrupting/talking-over-the-only-woman-in-the-room douches. Why would they even air this online? To say it’s unprofessional would be an understatement.


  5. Dani says

    Ew. I’ve had this happen to me before in a conversational setting (because, you know, girls can’t *possibly* have anything worthwhile to say about football…or scary movies…or…much of anything, really). Now I don’t even bother with this particular set of guys when they’re talking in a group, so I can’t imagine being that woman and having to try to act professionally around these guys every day.

  6. says

    What gets me is: we’re not in on their little joke, either. It’s not like they’re engaging in inappropriate behavior she doesn’t condone. It’s more like they’ve all been replaced by monkeys who are feeling particularly playful. They never say anything of value or, hell, that even makes sense. The only thing they come close to saying is that men who can’t be bothered to honor their wives are mere victims of a lonely lifestyle, which is repulsive.

    It’s just yet another proof that sexists and bigots lack thinking skills. While correlation isn’t causation, the correlation between being a bigot and being someone who can’t think is strong enough that I’m starting to wonder if the latter isn’t the cause of the former.

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