MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski blasted CNN for seeking "ratings crack" by interviewing President Donald Trump's adviser Kellyanne Conway. (Screenshot)

Mika Brzezinski begs CNN to stop seeking "ratings crack," says Kellyanne Conway is "politics porn"

A former Trump booster, the MSNBC host now wants the presidents' surrogates banned from CNN


Matthew Sheffield
May 12, 2017 10:07PM (UTC)

On Friday's "Morning Joe," co-host Mika Brzezinski accused rival cable news network CNN of creating what she called "politics porn" with its recent interviews of high-ranking White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.

According to Brzezinski, Conway and other top communications team members of the Trump administration cannot be counted on to tell the truth and therefore CNN should stop interviewing them.

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“Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee [Sanders], Sean Spicer, Mike Pence, now all in the same category," Brzezinski said, "in the Kellyanne category: not credible, proved as a liar, made a fool.”

Brzezinski has singled out Conway for specific personal attacks on her truthfulness recently and she ramped up her criticism on Friday.

After saying that she "loved CNN," Brzezinski accused the network of trying to utilize interviews with Conway as a means to increase viewership. "You’re just getting your little ratings crack, but it’s disgusting," she said. "There’s nothing that she brings to the table that’s honest. Your hosts know it. Your hosts look pained when they interview her because they know they’re just doing politics porn — they’re not doing news. We need to stick to the news.”

That Brzezinski would denounce interviewing Donald Trump's advisers as "ratings crack" shows a rather pronounced lack of self-awareness given that she and her co-host/fiancé, former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough, were some of Trump's top media pals during his successful bid to capture the Republican presidential nomination. While they were more willing to criticize him during his campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton, the love for Trump was still there.

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"During this cycle, Scarborough jumped all over the Trump ratings wave and rode it almost all the way to the convention," Mediaite columnist John Ziegler noted in August of last year. "The idea of what was best for his former party, or even the country, never even entered into his calculation," Ziegler added.

It was a delicate dance for the "Morning Joe" duo. Get too close to Trump and they would be called out by independent journalists. But get too far and the former NBC reality-TV star would stop giving them ratings-boosting interviews.

In an interview with GQ last September, Trump gave a revealing anecdote about how Scarborough once lavishly praised him in private after a Republican debate only to reverse course on the air: "He said, 'Congratulations, you have just become president! You killed everybody,'" Trump told the magazine. "And then I watched the show the next morning, and he didn't say that. I called him and asked him why. He said, 'I don't want people to know how good friends we are.'"

Scarborough even indirectly admitted he had supported Trump on a June 8, 2016 program when he essentially threatened the then-candidate over controversial remarks that Trump had made attacking the impartiality of a Hispanic federal judge.

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“Donald, guess what, I’m not going to support you until you get your act together,” Scarborough warned. “You’re acting like bush-league loser, you’re acting like a racist, you’re acting like a bigot … Until you…prove to me you’re not a bigot and you don’t take my party down in the ditch, you don’t have my endorsement.”

The "Morning Joe" co-hosts eventually patched things up with Trump after his election, prompting their CNN morning rival Chris Cuomo to blast them on Twitter as shills. "They have always been boosters. Things turned south when trump froze them out but coverage always stilted. They are transition spokesmen now,” Cuomo wrote in late November.

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Things have been on and off again since becoming president, Trump has reportedly offered to officiate the upcoming Brzezinski-Scarborough wedding -- indicating that the love is still there, even if it's buried deep.


Matthew Sheffield

A writer, web developer, and former tv producer, Matthew Sheffield covers politics, media, and technology for Salon. You can email him via m.sheffield@salon.com or follow him on Twitter.

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